Add new comment

I really enjoyed this segment with Mr. Rose. In my family, I am the first person top graduate high school. My parents were second generation French Canadians with grammar school educations working ion the Textile mills in Lawrence Massachusetts. In my mother's world view, a good education meant a high school diploma and a trade--we were poor people and that's what poor people aspired to.She sent me to a Catholic high school. I was always good with my hands--art and carpentry-- so the plan was for me to be a carpenter after high school. I wanted to take an art class, but there were no art teachers at Central Catholic so I took Mechanical Drawing instead. I breezed through two years in four months and then completed the Engineering Drawing course from Northeastern University in the next three months,. At the end of the year I was doing architectural drawings for a new church that was to be built in N.H. My instructor was Brother Pious Xavier--a former Navy enlisted man who took an interest in me. He asked me if I was going to exhibit something st the school science fair. I said no because I had no intention of going to college. The next day there appeared on my desk a book titled "Math Projects for Science Fairs." I thumbed through it and found a section on conic sections. What intrigued me was an elliptical pool table that had interesting properties. A ball placed in one of the two focal radii and hit against the edge will go through the other focal radii and asymptotically reach the major axis--the sum of the focal radii of an ellipse is always a constant I went to the city dump and collected orange crates and built the pool table--and it worked. I then built inclined planes and cam gears and cones of all sorts. Once I finished, I derived the equations for them all. I did exhibit and I subsequently won first prize in Mathematics at the Mass State Science Fair at MIT in 1958 and the Archdiocese of Boston Science Fair that same year. I was awarded a scholarship to Northeastern University where I studied Mathematics. I served in the Army as an Officer for twenty years, where I earned two Masters degrees and after retirement I earned a PhD and 28 years on at the age of 72, I am still working full time at what you referred to as "meaningful" work and I am teaching young PhD candidates. Like Professor McFarland, Brother Pious inspired me to be more than I thought I was capable of.