In 5th grade I got an F in mathematics one of the grading periods (and "needs improvement" in the "pays attention in class" evaluation), but that's not why I have it as a middle initial. It stands for Fielden, which was my paternal grandfather's middle name. Quentin and Fielden are both unusual and, according to Google, I'm the only one that has them as first and middle names. I'm proud to have my grandfather's name. He grew up in the hills of Kentucky and only graduated from 7th grade, and my grandmother from 5th grade, but they were widely respected, very generous, and very supportive.
Euclid, Ohio. I'm a Euclidean mathematician. I had several superb math and science teachers in the public schools there - special thanks to Mrs. Eversole at Forest Park Junior High School and Mr. Reno at Euclid Senior High School. Actually there were 2 Reno brothers at EHS when I started. Martin finished a PhD in 1966 and went to the physics department at Heidelberg College, while Charles taught the calculus and physics class that I took 1966-7. I had a tiny role in Martin's PhD thesis, translating some Algol 58 programs to Algol 60. This was very easy to do, and I'm the one he asked only because I was always hanging around the math and science classes after school. Thanks also to Sputnik, for making America improve its science education just in time for my classmates and me to participate in many innovative programs. Support for STEM subjects (a term that hadn't yet been invented) grew rapidly, and we had things, such as 9th grade biology (using BSCS Green) and timesharing in 12th grade (on a GE computer), that the students the year earlier didn't have. I also had some other excellent teachers that weren't in math or science, going all the way back to elementary school. However, I usually didn't appreciate how good and caring they were until years later, and sometimes only after, as an adult, my mother told me of the special things they had done for me.
I was lucky to have gone through the Euclid public schools at that time, and much of my success is due to the teachers I had, and my classmates. Unfortunately, the school system has seriously declined. I'm in the Euclid Public Schools Distinguished Achievement Hall of Fame, but some of the other members are far more distinguished.
Here is a statement about Euclid by Ruth Eckdish Knack: "For some it's a shrine, to others, a crime scene." No, it does not refer to my having been raised there, but rather to the fact that Euclid instituted zoning laws. In 1926 the US Supreme Court ruled that they were constitutional, forming a legal basis for zoning that continues to the present day. Zoning sometimes has a bad connotation now, but this case was about Euclid designating a region for industry, and a region for housing. This industrial base generated tax money that helped make the schools special. They were far better than any of the school systems in nearby suburbs.
I have a BA in Mathematics from Centre College, Danville, Kentucky. Intimate classes, motivated faculty and students made for a great experience. Special thanks to Dr. Powell for teaching most of the independent study classes I had in mathematics.
My thesis was Schur Multiplication on B(H), in Mathematics at Indiana University. My very helpful advisor was John B. Conway, with many other faculty members also offering advice and encouragement. Unfortunately, I can’t remember why I thought the topic was interesting
My first paying job was shelving books in the library when I was in 5th grade, at Wells Elementary. During my senior year at Euclid Senior High I sold shoes. At 17 I started a summer job at the Aerospace Division of Parker-Hannifin Corp. I wrote programs that helped engineers design parts for fuel injection systems for engines for jets, helicopters, and rockets.
At Parker I wasn't allowed to tell anyone how old I was. One of the things I learned was that if you wear a sports jacket and tie and go with a salesman for a business lunch, then no one asks for an ID, even if you are a teen-aged nerd. I also learned that you get more work done in the afternoon if you don't drink alcohol at lunch.
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