13 Questions – Eric Stach
Originally from West Virginia, Eric attended Duke, Washington and Virginia. He’s moved around a bit, having jobs at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Purdue and Brookhaven National Lab prior to coming to Penn in 2017. When he actually has free time, he’s most likely to use it cooking & of course spending time with his family, including his two Labrador Retrievers, Lola and Scout. A “Duke University Basketball obsessed” runner, (He’s a Duke alum, so we’ll give him a little slack), we sat down with Department of Materials Science and Engineering Professor, Eric Stach, in asking this week’s 13 Questions.
1. Your name?
Eric Stach… no pertinent nicknames
2. What is your favorite color?
Olive … as in Martini colored.
3. Best ’80s Science/Engineering film? Revenge of the Nerds, Weird Science, Real Genius, Back to the future, (or other) ?
Blade Runner: hands down.
4. What did the third grader Eric Stach want to be growing up?
I can’t really remember back that far. I think I liked rocks (so, geology?). I was pretty much a geeky, unathletic kid with glasses. I liked school.
5. What animal do you most identify with?
If you are asking for my spirit animal, it would be Labrador Retriever. We have two and it seems like their life is pretty ideal. Lots of walks, lots of pets, lots of sleeping and nothing to worry about.
6. What individual or moment has had the greatest impact on your life? How or why?
Dana Adamson, my wife. For reasons that are pretty obvious.
7.Your craft crashes/capsizes and you’re stuck on an island with five personal items of your choice. What are they and why?
Photo of the family.
A sharp knife!
A solar powered radio for tunes?
If the island is hot: a hat, if it is cold, a very warm blanket.
8. How many miles did you run this week?
So, far only 11, but I have to do another 11 tomorrow to keep on pace for the Love Run Half on March 26th.
9. March madness (the NCAA Basketball Tournament) is approaching. Who’s your favorite pick this year? And what did you learn about not picking the University of North Carolina (UNC) over Harvard in previous years?
Duke is my pick every year, and will be until I die.
The second question is a tough one. I will always pick anyone over UNC (except first round, some years, if they are actually good).
However, I missed out winning the ESPN Bracket Challenge (literally winning the whole thing nation-wide) in 2015 when I picked Harvard over UNC as an upset in the second round. I had to go with Tommy Amaker (one of the all-time great Duke Point Guards, and then Harvard coach) over the hated UNC.
Instead I finished in fourth overall that year.
10. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Finishing fourth overall in the ESPN Basketball Bracket Challenge in 2015.
11. If you were given two options: The gift of $1,000,000, or the opportunity to go back in time to relive your life, knowing what you know now, which option would you take?
Ok: a bit poignant …. My father passed of ALS in 1998, while I was in the last semester of my Ph.D. I wish I had taken more time off then to spend with him. I was too focused on getting my work done so I could graduate, and I guess I didn’t figure he’d pass away as quickly as he did. Regret that a lot.
12. If you were able to have lunch with three people living or dead? Any reason why?
I would have lunch with Dad & my Mom & brother (both alive) so we could all be together again.
13. Top five songs on your mix tape?
1. In honor his recent passing, Speak No Evil, Wayne Shorter
2. Bright Side of the Road, Van Morrison
3. Tangled up in Blue, Bob Dylan
4. Mountain Jam, The Allman Brothers (or really anything from Live at Fillmore East).
5. Acknowledgement, John Coltrane (or really anything from A Love Supreme)
Thanks you. Okay, we cheated….one bonus question….
14. If you weren’t an engineer, you’d be….
Running a small restaurant stall in the Mercado de la Calle Feria, in Seville, open only Th-Sat, prix fixe, menu changing monthly. Two seatings a night of two four-tops, working with Dana.
If this sounds like my retirement plan, it is. Just have to get the kids through college and save up enough that we don’t have to worry that the restaurant actually makes any money!