Dr Don Cohen, Principal of Michigan Metrology LLC, talks about how Michigan Metrology has been at the heart of solving some of the most perplexing issues in the US auto industry. In this interview he gives an informed perception about what it takes to identify and solve problems related to surfaces, tribology and friction. I grew up in Michigan in the 60s and 70s and at that time the auto industry was constantly in decline. I remember people literally vandalizing Japanese cars because they felt they were taking jobs away. I was an engineer, a technologist, a physicist. I wanted to head out to Silicon Valley, so I left. I moved to Arizona and did graduate work in physics and optics. I ended up working with IBM and was in San Jose a lot. I worked with Wyko who made optical profilers. Wyko was getting involved in the field of tribology. My introduction in tribology came, actually, from the disk drive industry. I met some of the bigger players in that industry through IBM, and that began my fascination with tribology. Tribology is the study of friction, wear and lubrication. The disk drive industry, at least the old disk drives, actually had little heads flying over disks and that w...