[UofM logo]

The University of Minnesota

Greg attended the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology as an undergrad and actually managed not only to use a computer class to meet part of his liberal-arts elective requirements, but to do so as a freshman. The class was something about computers in the arts and humanities and was one of those things with which one could only get away in the brief interval between Computer Obscurity (1970s and earlier) and Computer Ubiquity (1980s and beyond). The year was 1981, and this was Greg's first brush with serious computing power, a Control Data Cyber mainframe running NOS (or something like that); it was also his closest brush with Actual Punchcards. In fact, he managed to pass the course using only Simulated Punchcards on a CRT, but the experience warped him for life.

That probably explains why Greg was pretty much oblivious to the concept of cold and bad weather, except in the sense of viewing it as an opportunity. His senior year was spent in the attic of a house (condemned the following year) shared with 11 other guys. Among the wacky entertainments they dreamed up were snow-cycling (riding a bike to class through 12" of new snow), snow-diving (jumping off the kitchen roof into a snowpile), and snow-bedding (kind of like water-skiing except involving a heavy snowfall, an old boxframe and a Toyota Land Rover).

Prior to that he lived in various dorms and was party to certain amusing incidents which don't bear repeating in mixed company.

Nevertheless he persevered in his studies and actually escaped with a few degrees in something like four years. But before that unfortunate event transpired, he spent two years in a magnetospheric physics laboratory run by Laurence Cahill, Jr. Greg started out performing data analysis and programming for the Dynamics Explorer satellites and eventually moved up to Cahill's rocket lab, assembling and testing payloads for sounding-rocket flights out of Greenland and Alaska. Somehow he managed to snag a summer job at Fermilab, too, and spent a month or two helping build a huge drift chamber and falling in love with the open prairie of northern Illinois.

Yes, basically Greg was a complete nerd, but there was hope on the horizon...

Click here to graduate to gradual school.
Click here to return to Greg's home page.
Click here to return to Greg's table of contents.
Last modified 31 December 2004 by Greg Roelofs, you betcha.