Endnotes (+)

What Started for You at Caltech?

In our Spring 2015 issue, we asked alumni to share what originated for them at Caltech, and printed only a few of the responses we received. Here are several more, some of which were edited for grammar, spelling, length, and clarity.

The idea that I could study anything I want. The experience of pushing yourself to the limit, and then some more.

Caltech taught me how to think and consequently write. Without those talents my life would be in turmoil.

I got in the habit of doing exercises and have continued to do so. I am 73 years old now and in much better health than most of my peers. Had I not signed up for body building about 55 years ago I suspect I would not be nearly as healthy today. Thanks, Caltech!

I learned that science isn’t about carrying around a collection of facts and formulas. Instead, science is a process of learning to think, to deconstruct a problem, to solve it, and to put the solution into context.

A lifelong appreciation for the musical works of Richard Wagner.

I started running because of Caltech. And even though I’m still not all that fast and have never come close to winning a race (or even finishing in the top half), I’ve been running ever since.

It helped lead to my 1965 selection as one of the first scientist astronauts for the Apollo Program. Ultimately, I became the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 17 in December 1972 and the last of 12 men to step on the Moon and the only scientist to explore it.

Through exploration of different sciences and listening to societal problems, I realized that my interest was to bring science together to solve those problems.

It started my competitive swimming career.

My Caltech education proved invaluable in 1981 when I was invited to join the staff of the National Academy of Sciences Office of International Affairs, where I worked on projects ranging from a conference on chemistry and world food supplies, to biofuels in Brazil, to industrial energy efficiency in India.