Work To &Thru College

Statistics and Biometry

    During the academic year 1962-63 I had to take classes to live in the University village or move.  While working at Hercules I took introductory german and math-stat course and some independent studies.  This was not my best year in school because of the difficulty of working full time and going to school. I was therefore looking forward to going to my true full year of graduate school.  I was working for Dr. R.C. Pendleton using my statistics and computer programing that I had acquired at Hercules Powder and in Math (statistics and numerical analysis).  This was to be a great year, as my favorite professor had returned from Arizona State University.  I had taken cytogenetics from Dr. Charles M. Woolf and earned an A.  This A had been  my best grade ever as I had beaten graduate students and undergraduate students.  I think that I actually beat my super hero Gail Pollock and possibly Tony Brooks.  

    Now starting back to graduate school I would be able to take Dr. Woolf’s great Biometry course.  When we met for the first class  there were twice as many students as planned.  There were 40 students and only room for 20 students in lab.  All of the students that would have taken the course the year before were there.  We had 10 calculators with two students per calculator we would need two labs to cover the students but there was only funds for one graduate assistant (Mrs. Karen Woodbury Crook).  The problem was solved by using me as a second assistant.  I was promised an A grade if I would teach the lab which met twice a week for four hours.  Dr. Woolf checked over my class credentials and said he wished he had taken that course. This was tempting, I really had wanted to sort of sand bag biometry and use the time to get my research underway and get started on my masters degree.  The guaranteed A made the difference, with weekly examinations and two lab reports per week I could blow this course and I needed to get my grades up from the disaster the year before.

    I learned a lot about teaching working with such a great teacher as Dr. Woolf. He taught statistics for students without calculus which would really be impossible if you wanted to be a purist which he was.  He developed and proved a series of summation math theorems which were in fact the fundamental theorems of calculus.  What a genius, he just taught calculus and they bought it.  I loved his lectures and labs.  Dr. Woolf felt that it was his job to teach statistics to these students at all costs.  He kept telling me to tell them that the first part of the course was hard but that things would get better.  After the the last day to drop the course he told me that he lied.  They had better get to work.  He would not let anyone out of the course.  He would give those not passing an incomplete and make them take it next year. You will learn statistics if you sign up.  Such passion for his students learning. This is where I really learned the uses of statistics.  I went on to take a seminar from Dr. Woolf on non-parametric statistics.  I wrote computer programs to solve all of these methods and we were going to publish them but there were some great programs coming available and I had other things to do.  I almost became a real statistician.  I got my A and Dr. Woolf headed back to Arizona for the second time.   When I met Bishop Bill Reed in Hamilton Ohio, we noted that I had taken a course from Dr. Woolf at Utah, the next year he had a course at Arizona State, the next year I had biometry and the next year he had a course from him.  Interesting two students on alternating years had taken a course from the same instructor at different Universities.

    When I ask Dr. Vickery why he left the second time he reported that ASU had not made good on all of their promises when he got there.  G. Homer Durham was the president that recruited Woolf and Henry Eyring really wanted him back so Utah prepared a great package to get him back.  ASU made even more promises to get him back.  When Woolf went to ASU he found that human genetics was impossible in Arizona because the population was derived from all over the US. He did one great paper on the native Americans but that was more sociological than genetics.  So he really became a great Drosophila geneticist.  When he returned to Utah he found that winters were cold and human genetics hard so he went south again.   The bad news was I missed taking his human genetics course.  The good news was that he helped the department get a genetics training grant that really helped the department for the time I was there.  In fact I would be allowed to teach on that grant.