Ben Oostdam's
Autobiography:

1960-1963


page 43
back at SIO
July through
December,
1962

Dr. Shepard gave Herb and me each a grade of "A" for some 6 research credits that Spring Semester. But now I was back into the hands of Inman, for another 6 research credits in the Fall and to do my qualifying and Ph.D. thesis proposal.

Inman's approach to research was diametrically opposed to Shepard's. He insisted that one could do a Ph.D. simply by sitting and thinking till one destilled the problem's solution into one single measurement to be taken to answer the one simple question fitting on a 3 x 5...then one would go out, make that measurement, and voila! Shepard found that one always would come across an interesting problem while working in the field. My tendencies were somewhere in between but closer to Shepard's.

Moreover, I recall an unfortunate moment when a group of us was standing at the blackboard where Inman was holding forth and wrote a sentence on the blackboard which had a spelling error in it, perhaps something like: "contaminent". Without thinking, I quicly grabbed the eraser and a piece of chalk and corrected it - unobtrusively, I thought by just changing one single letter - to "contaminant".
Inman stepped back, turned beet-red, erased the whole word and wrote his original "contaminent" back in, snapping: "I like it that way!"
Someone whispered in my ear: "There goes your Ph.D.!", and that person was probably right.



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