Raymond Richard Neutra is a physician epidemiologist who currently heads the division of the California Department of Public Health that investigates emerging environmental and occupational health threats. His 40-year career in public health was stimulated by the library and visitors of his architect father, Richard Neutra, who was interested in how the built environment affects the health and well-being of its inhabitants. Thus Richard’s library was full of books on physiology and biology and his contacts included people such as Hans Selye, the scientist who started stress research.
A few years ago, Raymond started writing snippets of memoir-essays about his adventures in public health and about his family. His piece for the July/August 2007 issue is a half-century-old psychological study on creative architects that was part rumination on his father and part speculation on how societal contexts let remarkable people discover and nurture their unique combination of skills.