Endnotes: Your Caltech Novel

We asked Alumni: What is the title and first line of your Caltech novel?


The White Arches
He walked carefully along the smooth reddish tiles towards Arms Laboratory, clutching the thick stack of typing paper under his arm. Finished! His thesis at last done, freshly returned to him by the typist, with her fervent wishes for his success.
Henry Schwarcz (PhD '60), Dundas, Ontario, Canada 


The Land of Galaxies and Breakfast Burritos
At Caltech, there was research for every grad student, and there was free food for any attentive grad student.
Matt Orr (graduate student), Eagle Rock, CA



Countdown P.A.G.E.
The chalk dust had barely settled from the umpteenth blackboard of scribblings when it struck me. The eraser. My thermo prof had a good arm.
Michael Wong (BS '94), Houston, TX 


The Seismic Elevator
As we descended the rickety elevator, I felt we were traveling into my dreams and imaginings of a prior time of world-changing science and innovation.
Robert Karski (BS '66), Durham, NC 


Taking the World by Storm
Driving along California Boulevard on a sunny afternoon, Norbert had no inkling of what was going on behind the seemingly placid Spanish architecture walls to his left.
Gary Ihas (BA '67), Gainesville, FL 


Uncertainty Principle
It had been a long five semesters since she had first arrived on campus as a bright-eyed wannabe biologist, and in that time her eighteen years of overconfidence had been eroded away into exhaustion and questions and doubts, leaving only this moment: she held her breath and opened the Ph2b final exam.
Robin Deis Trujillo (BS ’04), Fremont, CA 


The Big Orange Brain Trust
As Dean Huntley smashed his right fist into his left palm, he cautioned: "We MOLD our students into research scientists."
John Louie (PhD '87), Reno, NV 


An Apprentice Scientist
I stood at the window overlooking a run of olive trees and wondered what I was about to become.
Charles Goebel (BS '57), Reading, PA 


Breaking Brainy
"You should always let men be better than you in class," advised Aunt Skyler. "Smart girls aren't sexy." But within weeks of arriving at Caltech and getting intimate with Cr(acac)3 in Noyes Lab, I'd ditched all my aunt's principles and was regularly nailing the top Chem 1 score in the entire freshman class. It only got worse from there.
Cecilia Aragon (BS '82), Seattle, WA 


Moby Quark
Call me Murray.
Wes Munsil (BS '71, MS '74), Cherry Hills Village, CO


Throop the Looking Glass
"You'll never make these charges stick," I told the Caltech Board of Control, "because nothing in the honor code forbids switching alternate reality tracks, say to increase the speed of light, or to alter a pass-fail credit from physics to thaumaturgy, or else..." I waved my hands, invoking Saint Richard... "to stop me from jumping down this rabbit hole!"
David Brin (BS '73), San Diego, CA


A Tale of Two Extrema
It was the maximum of times, it was the minimum of times.
Brett Bochner (BS '91), Babylon, NY


Physics Made Easy
Call me Feynman.
Richard Wills (PhD '70), Woodinville, WA


I didn't think it rained in So Cal, Jonathan thought, as he woke in the shower following a long night and morning of Phys 125.
Serina Diniega (BS '03), Altadena, CA 



Revenge of the Valkyries|
Holding his wire cutters, this time he was fully ready for finals week.
Larry Oliver (BS '65), Black Mountain, NC