Q&A: Toughest class … ever

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On August 2, 2019

Some of your classes may have been a breeze, but others kept you up at all hours studying, and some of you struggled just to pass. As part of his research for the S&T 150th anniversary history book, Larry Gragg , Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, asked you to share memories of your toughest class. Here are a few of your answers.

“My toughest class was organic chemistry. I had to take it three times just to scrape by with a passing grade. I could not wrap my mind around it at all. The worst part about it is my professor (when I finally passed it) was absolutely wonderful and did everything she could to help me. And I still barely passed!! The course solidified that I should stick to the biology/life science portion of biological sciences!”

Jen (Qualls) Eisenbath, BSci’10
Kuala Belait, Brunei

“My toughest class?
Without question it was sophomore physics. It was taught by Dr. (Harold) Fuller, chair of the department.”

Russ Wege, PetE’57
Schenectady, N.Y.

“That’s easy. It was 1964, I think. The class was differential equations, lovingly referred to as ‘Diffy Q.’ We started out with the usual class size of about 30 in old Harris Hall. By the end of the semester, it had been whittled down to 10. There was one A, one B, and eight Cs. I was never so glad to have one of those Cs!”

Hardy J. Pottinger III, EE’66, MS EE’68, PhD EE’73
Mission, Texas

“Unquestionably, it was EE 275, Engineering Electromagnetics. It took me two tries before success. Very abstract and spatial.”

Robert J. Webb, EE’70

“Servomechanisms, without question. They scheduled it in the same semester as Differential Equations. Only problem was Servo was consistently about half a month ahead in terms of what Diffy Q was teaching and what they were using.”

Keith Bailey, ME’64

“A Bomb.”

Chuck Toedtman, ME’65
St. Louis

Editor’s note: Thank you to Walt Eversman, Curators’ Distinguished Professor emeritus of mechanical and aerospace engineering, for explaining “A Bomb” was an affectionate name for the course Modern Physics, which satisfied the basic science elective and covered, among other topics, atomic physics.

“My toughest class was EE 251, Principles of Semiconductor Devices. Calculating movement of electrons and holes across semiconductor boundaries often kept me up late during that semester. If really stuck, we were able to go to the prof’s office (Thomas VanDoren, EE’62, MS EE’63, PhD EE’69) and view the answer guide. The textbook could be used for the next course in the sequence. I did not continue with semiconductors, but focused on communication courses.”

Dave Thatcher, EE’75, MS EE’76
Riverside, Mo.

“I started at UMR in mechanical engineering.
My toughest class was Thermodynamics. After three tries, I changed to engineering management.”

Craig Korkoian, EMgt’75
Estero, Fla.

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On August 2, 2019. Posted in 2019, Around the Puck, In Your Words, Q&A, Summer 2019