Letters to the Editor


Mountains? What mountains?

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Your latest Caltech magazine (Spring 2018) is really good.

My initial experience at Tech (1963, Fleming House) was roughly the same as Alvah Strickland’s (MS ’65). [See Strickland’s Endnotes response about “discovering” a mountain in the backyard.] Nineteen sixty-three was at the height of the smog. I went out for freshman football (the coach then, Bert LaBrucherie, said he liked me because I was “small and slow,” but that’s another story). Coach said, during a workout, “Turn and face the mountains.” Right, Coach. What mountains? We didn’t know the San Gabriels were there!
Bob Parker (BS ’67)


More Olympians

I enjoyed reading about Caltech’s Olympians (magazine.caltech.edu/post/caltech-olympians). Another was Frank B. Jewett (BS ’36), who finished ninth in sailing in the 1936 Games.

I had a close connection with two Caltech Olympians. Phil Conley (BS ’56) was a teammate of mine in football, basketball, and track and field, and I can attest to his skills and competitiveness.

The other was Meredith Gourdine (PhD ’60). In 1952, he won the silver medal in the long jump at the Summer Olympics in Helsinki. His lifetime best jump was 25' 9'' at a time when the world record was Jesse Owens’ 26' 8 1/4''.

Meredith (“Flash”) was a graduate student when I was an undergrad. He used to work out at the track at the same time as the track team, so I got to know him.
—Dick Van Kirk (BS ’58)


From the editors:
After receiving this letter, we added Meredith Gourdine to our lineup of Caltech Olympians on the magazine’s website at magazine.caltech.edu/ post/caltech-olympians.


Just a drop?

The photo on page 5 (SoCaltech opener, Spring 2018) is both beautiful and fascinating. But surely, we’re not just looking at “a drop” of liquid. What, exactly, is happening in this photo? Please, add some explanation!
Peter Waser

From the editors:
Artist Ann Cutting offers this explanation: “The images are created by dropping timed and specifically sized drops into a shallow reservoir of water. The color is created with food dyes, and the viscosity is managed with guar gum added to the water. The camera shutter is open, and the drops are captured digitally by illuminating them with a synced high-speed strobe with a very short ash duration at low power to freeze the moment when drops collide. The second drop traveling downward collides with the first drop creating a Worthington jet heading upward.”


Women in Sports

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In the Spring 2018 edition of Caltech, the article “A season of firsts: Women’s soccer takes the field at Caltech” states: “Fall 2017 marked the launch of Caltech’s first-ever women’s soccer program.” This is an incorrect statement as in 1979-80 the first-ever Caltech women’s soccer team [pictured at right] was formed.
Gloria Badilla Jew (BS ’83)
One of the original Caltech women’s soccer players

From the editors:
To clarify, the article was referring to the first NCAA intercollegiate team. Caltech’s athletics director, Betsy Mitchell, confirmed that the Institute has no records of intercollegiate play before the fall 2017 women’s soccer team. Intercollegiate team play (AIAW or NCAA) requires the team members to be drawn only from registered undergraduate students.



Future Techer

From Twitter:

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—Justin Cohen (PhD ’08)