Science and art mix to enrich the life of Steve Gould

Steve Gould was born in New York and moved to Los Angeles when he was 10. A product of the Sputnik era, he was drawn to science and was educated at UCLA, MIT, and in Switzerland at the ETH. He spent most of his science career as a chemistry professor at Oregon State University and the University of Connecticut.

Moving to Carmel Valley in 2002 and retiring here in 2003, Gould has created "life after life" with landscape and nature photography, and volunteering with local nonprofit organizations. He is active in a number of art organizations, including The PhotoArts Group, Allied Artists Association of San Diego, Digital Art Guild and the San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild.

Gould has been awarded numerous prizes in exhibitions in San Diego County. His images can be viewed at

  1. He is also a volunteer at Scripps Memorial Hospital, visiting Jewish patients on behalf of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County.

What brought you to this area?

I moved here from New Jersey with my wife, Mary, in 2002 to join a small biotech as their Chief Scientific Officer. They had serious financial problems in 2003 and drastically changed their plans, and a CSO was no longer needed. Mary and I loved San Diego so much that we decided to just retire here and put our energies into new directions. It's my third time as a Californian; I've been a Californian at heart since my family moved from New York to LA in 1956. We're staying in San Diego.

What makes this town special to you?

We love that it is so relaxing to just stay at home and enjoy this great weather. Carmel Valley is centrally located to all the things we love to do and places to go to in San Diego — that includes Torrey Pines State Reserve (where we've both been volunteer docents), and State Beach, Del Mar beach and Powerhouse Park, Pacific Athletic Club, and Los Penasquitos Canyon.

A bit further away, we go to The Folk Dance Center in Normal Heights for international folk dance (My wife Mary teaches folk dance and plays in Balkan music bands for weekend dances), and to Balboa Park for walks, the zoo, and theater, and to the Moonlight Beach area in Encinitas. At most, it's only a 15- to 25-minute drive to any of them, depending upon the time of the day.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

The politics and financing in California ... When I went to UCLA in the early 1960s, California had built the greatest higher education system in the world and was benefitting tremendously from the enormous, educated work force it was creating. At that time there was no tuition to go to a UC campus. I only paid student incidental fees of $120/semester. Proposition 13 came at a time that something was needed, but I believe it was/is a bad law and created at least as many problems as it solved. There have been important unintended consequences.



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