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Biographies: Mostly Learning and Teaching -- Memoirs of George W. Petrie III

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129886D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 11 page(s) / 45K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

George W. Petrie, III: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

I was born May 6,1912, in Ingram, Pennsylvania (now part of Pittsburgh), to George Whitefield Petrie Jr. and Mabel Reilly Petrie. Two successive siblings did not survive childhood, but my sister, Grace Florence Baker, was born 11 years later. Numbers and how they can be manipulated have always been important to me. When I was three or four years old, I carried a pencil and a small notebook wherever I went. The book was full of ";sums"; (provided by my parents), and adding them up was my delight. When my father explained how the carryover of more than 10 could be distributed across columns -- a technique that amazed my mother -- I was proud to be ";in the know"; of something big. Along with my love of numbers, the love of music also appeared at an early age, probably from listening to my mother sing and play the piano. I dreamt of becoming either a mathematician or a musician, and when I learned I could carry a tune, life took on a new dimension.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1995 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Biographies: Mostly Learning and Teaching -- Memoirs of George W. Petrie III

George W. Petrie, III

I was born May 6,1912, in Ingram, Pennsylvania (now part of Pittsburgh), to George Whitefield Petrie Jr. and Mabel Reilly Petrie. Two successive siblings did not survive childhood, but my sister, Grace Florence Baker, was born 11 years later.

Numbers and how they can be manipulated have always been important to me. When I was three or four years old, I carried a pencil and a small notebook wherever I went. The book was full of "sums" (provided by my parents), and adding them up was my delight. When my father explained how the carryover of more than 10 could be distributed across columns -- a technique that amazed my mother -- I was proud to be "in the know" of something big.

Along with my love of numbers, the love of music also appeared at an early age, probably from listening to my mother sing and play the piano. I dreamt of becoming either a mathematician or a musician, and when I learned I could carry a tune, life took on a new dimension.

Education.

Soon after I was born, we moved to Oakmont, about 12 miles from Pittsburgh, where the school system was one of the best in the area. My progress, while satisfactory, was outstanding in arithmetic. In my first year at Oakmont High School, when I was 13, I heard about a "Rensselaer Medal," awarded annually to the senior with the highest four-year average in math and science.

I determined to work hard for that medal, and I won it.

After high school graduation and a summer's work as a "grease monkey" in one of the new full- service gas stations, which were taking the sale of gasoline away from automobile repair shops, I was eager to attend college. Students who were good in math and science were automatically steered into the engineering profession. Carnegie Tech was my first choice despite the equally splendid reputation of the University of Pittsburgh Engineering College. After all, Andrew Carnegie had built Tech so that Pittsburgh boys like me could learn a trade.

My parents, however, thought that a year in a liberal arts college would be of more value at that stage of my life, so I registered for one year of supposedly wide-ranging study at Washington Missionary College in Takoma Park, Maryland. Actually, both semesters I signed up for six courses, all in mathematics, physics, and chemistry!

This was a more important year than I dreamt at the time, for it was in the fall of 1929 at Washington Missionary College that I met 17- year-old Mildred McClary, the girl who would become my second wife 38 years later. When I went back to enter Carnegie Tech, I took with me only a lingering remembrance of Mildred as a good student who played the piano well.

Our mathematics analysis teacher made a much greater im...