Q: Chet, did you actually go to Harvard, MIT, Harvard Business School, West Point, and (gasp) Berkeley?
A: Yes, but that and a quarter won’t buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. The core is West Point and Harvard University from where I have a Master’s Degree in Applied Physics. In 1970 a Representative Karth and as a secondary Senator Walter Mondale, both from Minnesota, gave me a congressional appointment to West Point. As you might guess, I was more academic than military and for the senior summer, instead of going to Ranger School, I was the one student sent to Harry Diamond Labs to do Laser Research. I won the research award against all other universities by being the first in the world with a type of wavelength tunable IR laser and was published at the age of 20 yrs. The USMA Academic Board sent me to compete for the Rhode’s Scholarship later that year. I only made it to the second round, which may have been because the Viet Nam War, and hence the military academy, was unpopular. Regardless, I had never failed before, was depressed and got (6) too many demerits ( a shoe shine and a late for class ) and had to go before the Academic Board, again. The Viet Nam War was tailing down and good officers were being rifted from the military, In that situation, the Board made, I think, a wise decision, that I am most grateful for. I was clearly more professorial than gung ho, so they left it up to me. I could choose to give up graduating, go immediately to graduate school and be on the hook to come back I think they were thinking as perhaps as a civilian professor (5 departments had invited me to return to teach) or in some other capacity anytime over the next 10 years which would be double my normal 5 year commitment. Or, I could repeat some unspecified period of time to make up for the (6) demerits, graduate, and become an Army Officer for 5 years. A few days later, I understand to the surprise of many, I informed them that I was accepting the academic route, would skip my BS, and they forwarded my transcripts to Harvard. (I remained on inactive reserve for 10 years. We had no wars to pull teaching officers away from West Point and I was not needed. In 1984 I received an honorable discharge.) I’ve remained active in my class and went to my 40th Class reunion on October 11, 2014. There I saw Classmates Gen David Petraeus (CIA), Kieth Alexander (NSA) and Marty Dempsey (Joint Chiefs). Someday, I’d like to take a sabbatical and teach physics at West Point for $1.
But, back on our historic timeline, without a Bachelor’s Degree I arrived a few weeks later at Harvard in July 1974. I discussed my research, talked to the Dean of the Division of Engineering and Applied Physics, and they accepted me straight into graduate school for Applied Physics two months later. I was fortunate to study under two Nobel Laureates separately in Physics and Economics. A year or so after that I had earned a Master’s Degree. I substituted in some classes at MIT in their Nuclear Engineering Department studying the use of proton radiology to cure difficult to treat cancers in conjunction with Mass General Hospital. I also, substituted in Business Policy classes over at Harvard Business School on my way to getting an MS in Applied Physics from Harvard University.
As an interesting bit of observation, I’d note that the Harvard folks did seem to be genius-like, but only in a focused area, like economics; That the MIT fellows did indeed seem to have a robust calculator plugged into the back of their skulls; the HBS crowd was the “best” just ask them, and West Pointers were focused to get any job done, whatever that might be. Each group was their own unique stereotype.
Finally. my Cannabis friends jokingly remind me, to my own conservative chagrin, that the only reason I’m allowed near the Medical Marijuana space is that I took a very left-leaning Berkeley extension class on Business Law a few years later.
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