The latest newsletter carried an article about Prof.
Chimino and triggered a few memories. I recall a sophomore
statics that might have been taught by him first hour AM during
winter quarter when it remained pitch black outside until
about 9:30 AM. I arrived at Tech in the fall of '49, graduating
in '53, So the
class was Winter term '51. I recall at least two classmates,
H&T, regularly falling asleep during lectures and slowly sagging
toward the open side of their desk chairs until they defied
of gravity. It kept more than one of us awake trying to predict
exact moment they would fall onto the floor, but somehow an
gyro would snap them upright at the last moment. This was a
attempt to calculate the pull of gravity on a teetering object
no one ever solved.
The story of a blacksmith shop class reminded me of a similar one in
Pattern Making during which we were required to make 4 sand
patterns that could be used to make a damp sand mold for castings
Cu, brass, or cast iron. One particular pattern was a 5 or
axle jack that had some pretty demanding drafts. I'd been a
woodworking hobbyist from an early age so wanting get straight
A's on my patterns I tossed my initial jack pattern in the
waste drum and
about four guys all scrambled for it. I think it was Dick Agricola
who retrieved it.
I had arrived at Tech with my first pair of ski's, a boy scout
woodworking merit badge project, that I had made in the Monroe
school shop. They were Ash obtained from a farmer' mill near
and were over 7 feet long with a very minimal tip curvature
natural edges. After trying to use them for the first time
in about 2
feet of Ripley snow during Thanksgiving break it was clear
needed major mod if I wanted any lift out of the snow. The
turned out to be the college power plant and with help from
the engineers we rigged a 5 gallon pail to accept a live high
pressure steam line, wrapped burlap sacks around the tips,
bent them inside the pail, and braced them to cool after achieving
what proved to be a workable tip curvature. Unfortunately first
experience with Bear Trap non-release bindings and the Ripley
tow in January after Christmas break was not as successful.
however survive a sprained left ankle in time to compete with
Track team that spring.
Bob Carnahan, '53
When I arrived at Tech in 1954 to study physics and engineering,
I was told by some upper-classmen to take every course I could that Dave
taught. Over the ensuing 4 years I did just that, and those classes, and
Dave Chimino's tutelage, formed the foundation of my thinking for the remainder
of my scholastic studies and on into a 45-year career in R&D. I adopted
and adapted his approach to any and all problems and was truly infected
by his essential curiosity. I can not think of any individual professor
or teacher whose influence loomed as large for me.
I freely admit that I was a student who was perhaps more interested in
the fun I could have than in the GPA I eventually achieved
and the memberships in the honor societies I held. I hunted and fished,
trekked through the Copper Country, played in the band and sang in the
chorus, joined the amateur radio group, served on the Lode and Keewenawan
staffs as photographer, and engaged in any number of non-varsity sports,
including target shooting, gymnastics, and weightlifting. Oh, yes: I attended
many a keg party. I tutored underclassmen in physics and other subjects
and taught physics lab sessions. Dave seemed to know all of this, but with
his undoubting encouragement I did learn to place a very high value on
the understanding of the physical world that Tech was teaching me.
By the time Tech threw me out of there in 1958, with a shiny, new honors
degree in Engineering Physics, I knew that I had a long way to go to complete
my education to my satisfaction. So I continued into grad school at MSU
and U. of Minnesota. But I also knew that I had enjoyed a period of learning
that was the equal of any other in the world. I had had a blast, I had
associated with brilliant minds, and I had been taught and encouraged by
the very best. What halcyon times!
It is perhaps a small tribute to Dave Chimino that I attempt to use what
I understand of his basic approach when I serve to teach and coach middle
school children in the sciences. In my attempts to open the kids' minds
I recall Dave's infectious curiosity and try to engender that same spirit
in the kids. I must add that it works like a charm.
Engineering Physics 1958
I must have missed an issue of the newsletter somehow, but I gather from
the e-mails in the latest edition there was some mention of David Chimino.
I remember him quite vividly as one of the most interesting and conscientious
instructors I ever had. He taught (or attempted to teach) physics
to us , I believe as Sophomores, and we were probably the biggest
bunch of lunkheads he ever encountered.
He gave an exam one day and, on the following
day came back with the results. The average for the class was
zero, based on the grading curve then in use. Mr. Chimino (I don't recall
whether he was a PhD at that time)was so distressed by the results he was
on the verge of tears and felt that it was failure on his part to properly
convey the message to us. He beat himself up over the whole
thing when it probably should have been the rest of us getting the beating.
He was just one of many memorable professors or instructors that were around
in those days, some of whom I only knew by reputation, such as "Gilly" Boyd.
I did get to experience Walter "Flunkenbush" first hand in Calculus,
which I managed to survive somehow, although some of my friends
were not so lucky. He was famous for writing equations on the blackboard
with the right hand while erasing them with the left hand.
was then head of the Civil Department and in his lectures on
the History of Architecture, which I found fascinating, he would frequently
send erasers flying into the audience if he caught someone napping. He
had an amazingly strong and accurate arm for an old man. There were others,
some of whom made a less favorable impression, that I won't
mention, but it may have been my own fault in some cases.
Dave Elack '60
If I remember correctly when asked how he drew the perfect circles
Professor Chimino said "You keep the radius constant". I had him
for Electricity and Magnetism. He gave a oral exam at the end
of the year. Physics majors really got grilled; I was Applied Physics so
we got off easier, he would coach us a little bit. We used to call him
the "Great God Dave". One of the best teachers I ever had!
Gary Rhoney '65