• David M. Giltner, Ph.D.

    Author | Scientist | adventurer | Storyteller

  • What I Do

    How I'm making a difference in the world

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    Stories are part of our cultural DNA as humans. We have been telling stories since before recorded history.

    Telling a good story has so much power in our lives and careers.

    Whether it's interviewing scientists to learn their stories or teaching scientists to tell their own stories, I dedicate much of my life and work to storytelling.

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    Through my company TurningScience, I teach scientists about technology commercialization, workplace productivity, and building a career in the private sector as an employee, and entrepreneur, or academic collaborator.

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    Technology Commercialization

    Technology commercialization and product development are what I've done my entire career. Now I help others 'turn science into things people need' by working with existing companies and mentoring entrepreneurs and startup teams who are working to build new companies.

    In the last 5 years I've worked with SAGE-Innosphere, CU Venture Partners at the University of Colorado Boulder, Edinburgh Innovations at the University of Edinburgh, Watson Institute for young social entrepreneurs, and Plan B Startup Competition in Bavaria, Germany.

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    Adventure Travel

    I love to travel the world and experience nature, culture, and food. So far, I've been to 48 states in the US and 36 countries around the world.

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    About Me

    A physicist by training, I have spent more than twenty years developing cutting-edge photonics technologies into commercial products in the fields of optical communications, remote sensing, directed energy, and scientific instrumentation. My experience has spanned the corporate spectrum with roles including technical contributor, R&D management, product management, and business development. This broad experience has taught me to function well in both highly technical and business circles where I often play the role of interpreter between the scientists and the executives. I consder myself an interpreter betwen MBA and PhD.


    I am the author of the books Turning Science into Things People Need and It’s a Game, not a Formula and am an internationally recognized speaker and mentor on the topics of technology commercialization, product development, and career design. In 2017 I started TurningScience to provide support for scientists of all disciplines seeking to work in the private sector as employees, collaborators, or entrepreneurs.

  • Principles

    Practice Excellence

    Act with purpose. Know why you do what you do.

    Act with integrity, even when noone is looking.

    Take personal responsibility. No excuses.

    Self discipline brings freedom and opportunity.

    Lean in to challenge. That’s where the value is.

    Practice Self-resepect

    Be genuine, even when it feels unpopular.

    Put on my own oxygen mask before helping others.

    Disappoint others before I disappoint myself.

    Practice Art

    Have the courage to travel without a map.

    Create something no one has ever seen before.

  • My Books

    Helping others build their own lives and stories

    It's a Game, not a Formula by David M. Giltner

    Stop looking for the right way to do things. Find a way that fits your strengths, interests, and values.


    This was my second book, published in 2021. This contains all of the wisdom that I developed through speaking to thousands of scientists and industry managers throughout my own career and my international workshops.
    Turning Science into Things People Need by David M Giltner

    Listen to the stories of scientists who have built successful careers in the private sector.


    This was my first book, published in 2010, and it started me down the rewarding path of helping others design the careers and lives that fit them best.
    Shaping the World by David M Giltner

    This will be my third book, on target to be published in late 2023. This book will contain select long-form interviews of many of the scientists I have interviewed through the last 12 years or so since I started my first book. The stories I've collected are just too good not to get out into the world somewhere.