John Aristotle Phillips has made quite a name for himself since graduating from North Haven High School in 1973.
While an undergraduate student at Princeton University, Phillips created a nuclear weapon design using publicly available books and papers.
The national media got wind of the young man’s accomplishment, making Phillips something of a celebrity. He was dubbed “The A-Bomb Kid.”
The U.S. government was aware of Phillips’ exploits as well. The feds took notice when an official from Pakistan attempted to purchase Phillips’ design.
After graduating from college, Phillips became an anti-nuclear activist and ran for political office in Connecticut.
He twice sought the U.S. House of Representatives 4th Congressional District seat, running as a Democrat.
A Rolling Stone Magazine article detailed the early months of his first campaign.
Phillips’ platform included strong opposition to nuclear proliferation and the eventual elimination of nuclear power plants.
As a candidate, Phillips’ also expressed support for a national health care system and marijuana decriminalization.
Phillips would lose his congressional races, but he stayed involved in politics. He is co-owner of Aristotle, Inc., a political consulting company headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Recently, Phillips took some time to answer questions from this reporter.
How was it growing up in North Haven? Do you come back to visit?
North Haven was a great place to grow up and it was really a very underdeveloped, almost rural area when we were kids. I haven’t been back in a while.
I miss the Boy Scouts, the high school, including some of my teachers and fellow students there, and the proximity to New Haven and the colleges in the area.
Looking back on “The A-Bomb Kid” days, how did this affect your life and that of your family?
It had a pretty big impact on my life, as I was in my early 20s and there were many opportunities that opened up for me. I met prominent and successful people who wanted to help me get established and that, as anyone who remembers what it’s like to be in your 20’s knows, is a huge help.
You ventured into politics. Any regrets there?
I like to win, just like anyone else, so it was a disappointment, to be sure, but was really inconsequential in the bigger picture. You could probably categorize my issue positions as hopeful and even idealistic, which I don’t regret.
How would you describe what your company does regarding candidates and political elections?
Aristotle, which I founded with my younger brother, Dean Aristotle Phillips, is the largest non-partisan provider of election-winning technology in America. It’s a great company that we have worked hard to build up.
Do you view social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, with their vast data collection, as competition ?
Not really. But they are going to have to change their business model if they wish to continue to utilize individual information.
What are some of the things you are most proud of, both personally and professionally?
Certainly, my family, No. 1, including my daughter, who is completing medical school. And my friends over the years are a source of pride.
It’s a lot of fun being in a profession that you care about, with the help of colleagues and friends who have contributed to its success and growth. We just launched www.PredictIt.org, which is phenomenal.