Meet a Mentor is a biweekly (twice a week) series to help you get to know your wonderful Mentors better.
Constructive questions and comments are welcome!
Today we meet: Integral
Can you give us a brief bio?
I am a 2nd generation Oregonian born smack in the middle of the 20th century. My dad came to Oregon as a teenager fleeing dust bowl era S E Colorado with his family. He was born on the Mora Co Cattle Ranch in New Mexico. It was being run by my Granddad and his brothers, I like to think of grandpa as a cowboy. My dad worked on Duck electrical system in WWII, I gained my first electrical training watching him work on cars. Neither mom nor dad went to college, dad never finished high school, but myself and all of my siblings have earned university degrees.
My only grandparent not born west of the Mississippi was born in Germany. He immigrated to the US as a teenager in the mid 1890s, He and his father came ahead and set up a homestead in the Oregon coast range. Disaster struck, after his mother and 2 brothers arrived. Story goes that granddad removed a pistol from a argument between dad and older brother. Mom took the 3 boys and went to a “neighbor”. After they left GGdad set the cabin afire then shot himself. Some years later the older brother was murdered by a neighbor in an argument over a pasture. Me thinks my great uncle had some issues.
My maternal grand mother was born to a Mormon family in Bowie Station Az. That same year they brought Geronimo in chains to Bowie Station to load him on the train for his trip to Florida. Grandmas Grandfather was a hunter and captain of 10 on Brigham Young’s journey to Salt Lake City. He spend his life attempting start a Mormon enclave, he never succeeded, this led to my grandmother having siblings born in AZ, Utah, Colorado, and Montana this was in the 1890’s long before the automobile and Interstate hiways. My grandmother walked from Az to Montana as a 7yr old. I cannot get past just how tough the generation was.
My favorite example of karma is my g^4father who enlisted in Chivington’s 3rd cavalry in Denver Co near the end of the Civil war. He participated in a heroic forced march across winter time Colorado to participate in the Sand Creek massacre a something less then heroic battle. In 1873 while bringing a load of buffalo hides into San Antonio Texas we was waylaid and murdered. Karma will get you!
My patronymic grandfather of that generation was wounded at the Battle of Pea Ridge, he had wrist and shoulder wounds, seems to he had his rifle at his shoulder when he was hit, that would line up his wrist and shoulder for a single ball to do the damage.
After squeaking by my first year of college I enlisted in the US Navy. Most men in those days (1969) wanted to be part of what was happening across the Pacific, I did not. So requested duty on East Coast aircraft carriers, This lead me to do Navy Electronics school at Great Lakes followed by a year in Guantanamo Bay and 2 years aboard the USS JFK. During the 24 months I was aboard the carrier we spend 15 months deployed to the Med. This provided my the opportunity to climb the age worn steps to the Acropolis in Athens, stand in awe of the golden luxury of St Peters Cathedral. Navy electronics training has been the basis on which I have made my living. My degrees certainly did not hurt, bur really were driven more by personal interest then career ambitions.
After the service I returned to Oregon and completed my Physics degree using GI bill to pay most of the bills. I have worked a variety jobs, including maintaining Physics Lab equipment, running a small Al foundry, repairing Si wafer handling sand blasters and high power lasers. Currently I am building state of the art oceanography instrumentation.
What attracts you to your home state of Oregon?
I have a strong attachment to Oregon, this is due primarily to the weather, I appreciate the warm low humidity summers and mild but wet and grey winters. In my youth I spend a lot of time hiking and camping in the woods.
Where are some of your favorite spots to photograph?
I like to photograph landscapes of our forest covered mountains and tumbling green water rivers, like the North Umpqua. Of course Crater Lake has to be on the list, it is so easy to take pictures of.
Do you have a favorite thread at PF?
Don’t have a favorite thread but do have favorite posters, among them are Zapper Z, along with the other mentors, Jim Hardy and Om Cheeto also come to mind. I stalk the QM and Relativity forums looking for crackpots and watch the EE forums as a learning experience.
How is PF different since the time when you became a Mentor?
Oh my, has the forum changed since I started! I joined in Dec 2001 in the early days of PF2. At that point the total number of posts was in the low thousands and the most posts by a single member was about 200. The level of questions then was generally high school or college freshman-sophomore. I recall wondering if there would ever be an advanced physics problem posted. A few months after I started mentoring TomMadsen came on board and we laid out the basic rules which still are fundamental to the forums. That is that posts in the technical forums should be DOING the topic of the forum and not ABOUT the topic.
In the early days we had what we called Theory Development forum where we moved all questionable posts, we spend endless hours and days attempting to show members their errors, never succeeded. It was in these days that the reasons behind our current policies were established. They were not arrived at on a whim.
When you’re not on PF, what do you do in your free time?
I am a wargamer, starting aboard ship in 1972. I find Napoleonic tactics fascinating. Recently I have been playing Field Commander Napoleon on the table and Civ 5 on the computer. I am waiting patiently for a super copy of Ogre, a soon to be shipped development from Kickstarter. This hobby has lead me to significant readings on the campaigns of Napoleon and the American Civil War and sparked a interest in history in general.
What person in history would you most like to meet and what would you ask them?
I would like to ask Einstein about what he knew of Michelson Morley. Napoleon if he would like to take back his invasion of Russia.
What would you say is your favorite equation and why?
While it is tempting to go with something sexy like Schrödinger’s, I will go with the simplicity of Ohm’s Law. It is fundamental to my livelihood, I use it on a daily basis and it appeals to my sense of simplicity. It has been a part of my life for so long I am not even sure where or when I first encountered it.
Is there a recent development in science/tech that excites you?
Of course I am following the development of alternative energy sources but what has me most excited now is my work. The scientists and engineers of Wetlabs have caused a fundamental revolution in oceanography with our Fluorometers, beam attenuation meters and even a spectrometer. It was instruments developed by WetLabs which detected and followed the oil plume from the recent Gulf of Mexico spill. We are shipping instruments around the world as fast as we can build them. Scientists’ are getting data that even 20yrs ago was unimagined. http://sea-birdscientific.com/
Thanks for participating Integral! Next interview will be posted Sunday!
I have a BS in Information Sciences from UW-Milwaukee. I’ve helped manage Physics Forums for over 18 years. I enjoy learning and discussing new science developments. STEM communication and policy are big interests as well.