Q&A: Did you ever pull a prank in college?

Were hard-working, nose-to-the-grindstone Missouri S&T alumni all work and no play during college? We don’t think so. We’ve heard tales of students leading a calf to the third floor of the Rolla Building, constructing a brick wall across Pine Street and burning an outhouse on campus. We wanted to hear more of those stories, so we asked.

Yeah, they’ve tried to get me to incriminate myself before. It’s not going to happen.
Jeff Spencer, CSci’93, Rolla, Mo.

To this day, I will testify that I know nothing about who disabled the elevators in TJ Hall. Move along folks, nothing to see here.
Patrick Williams, CE’11, Helena, Ark.

There might be stickers on hard-to-reach places around campus. Some are in plain sight and were still there as of February 2012 when I was last there. Some are probably in official press pictures. Good luck finding them, and to whoever put them there.
Scott Frazier, EE’09, Rochester Hills, Mich.

The final in the 1997 Intro to Programming C++ involved debugging an application. Simple things like finding compile time errors and logic errors and fixing them. The lab probably had about 40 students in it. One student had created a program to play “Mary Had A Little Lamb” on delay. You loaded it off of your 3.5-inch floppy disk, ran the program (which loaded it into memory), popped out the floppy and were out of the room before it went off. He passed out several copies the week before the final. My guess is almost half of the class had a copy of this program. I stayed until almost the end of the final, sitting in the back row listening as more and more PCs played out the song in all its 8-bit glory.
Nate Taylor, EE’00, Omaha

We repeatedly painted the Mu back on the rock at the Sigma Chi annex after they had the big “Burning the Mu” party. The Mu was dropped after getting their charter. We even went in camouflage with war paint. They tried to catch us, but it never worked. It was great fun. I was even dating a Sigma Chi and they were clueless. The sorority girls were not on the suspect list.
Cheri Mohan-Schmitt, ME’87, St. Louis

It is a tradition for the pledges of Sigma Phi Epsilon to drag the large rock in their front yard to another fraternity so their members would have to drag it back. In 1994, the students at the fraternity where the rock ended up rented a jack hammer and made the rock easier to carry back to Sig Ep. I’m not Greek, but I had some great friends in the Sig Ep house. When I asked them if they were going to replace it, of course their answer was “yes.” Their minds going wild with the size of rock they wanted to get. But then after a bit of estimation of what they could actually haul, they realized their goal was out of reach because no one in the house had a large enough truck to move a three-ton granite boulder. I said, “You find the rock, I’ll haul it.” I worked for Poe’s Gas, which had a truck equipped with a hydraulic boom for hauling propane tanks. One of the guys got permission to take a large red granite boulder from the Experimental Mine. I secured the truck from Gordon Poe, who had only one request, “Just don’t flip my truck over.” I delivered the rock the Saturday before finals week during the fraternity’s traditional senior round of golf. As soon as the rock was on the ground, someone shouted, “Let’s move it!” Those of us that loaded the rock knew this was nearly impossible, but we sat back and watched them try. The rock was sitting on edge and after a few minutes of grunting, it did roll over to a larger flat with a loud thud. I don’t think that rock moved for several semesters because of its extreme weight.

Another time, during the spring of 1997, the old IBM system in the computer lab was going away and all the 1-inch reel-to-reel tapes would all be obsolete. Dax Sparks, AE’96, ME’96, and I were working in the operations and equipment room on weekend shifts. We stockpiled about 80 of those reels and then unwound them and stuffed the mess into Charlie Irwin’s office one Sunday night. (Irwin is a retired supervisor of computing and information services, now known as IT.) His office was on the edge of the room and the walls were all glass. The tape filled the room to about chest height with his desk, chair and computers still inside.
Brian Call, ME’97, MS EMch’99,
Dunlap, Ill.

Around the Puck

Q&A: Miners got game

What was the most memorable sports team during your time on campus? As part of his research for the S&T 150th history book, Larry Gragg, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, asked you to share your memories. Here are a few of your answers.

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Honoring new academy members

In October, 12 alumni and friends were inducted into Missouri S&T academies. Academy membership recognizes careers of distinction and invites members to share their wisdom, influence and resources with faculty and students. Some academies hold induction ceremonies in the fall, others in the spring.

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Boosting cyber-physical security

A wide array of complex systems that rely on computers — from public water supply systems and electric grids to chemical plants and self-driving vehicles — increasingly come under not just digital but physical attacks. Bruce McMillin, professor and interim chair of computer science at Missouri S&T, is looking to change that by developing stronger safeguards […]

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MXene discovery could improve energy storage

In spite of their diminutive size, 2-D titanium carbide materials known as MXenes are “quite reactive” to water, a discovery S&T researchers say could have implications for energy storage and harvesting applications such as batteries, supercapacitors and beyond. Their findings were published in 2018 in the American Chemical Society journal Inorganic Chemistry.

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A faster charge for electric vehicles

One drawback of electric vehicles (EVs) is the time it takes to charge them. But what if you could plug in your EV and fully charge it as quickly as it takes to fill up a conventional car with gasoline? Missouri S&T researchers, in collaboration with three private companies, are working to make speedy charging […]

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