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There's a touch of the priesthood in the academic world, a sense that a scholar should not be distracted by the mundane tasks of day-to-day living. I used to have great stretches of time to work. Now I have research thoughts while making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Sure it's impossible to write down ideas while reading "Curious George" to a two-year-old. On the other hand, as my husband was leaving graduate school for his first job, his thesis advisor told him, "You may wonder how a professor gets any research done when one has to teach, advise students, serve on committees, referee papers, write letters of recommendation, interview prospective faculty. Well, I take long showers."
In Her Own Words: Six Mathematicians Comment on Their Lives and Careers. Notices of the AMS, v. 38, no. 7 (September 1991), p. 704.
Mathematics Education at West Point: The First Hundred Years
As the first engineering school in the United States, the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point had a uniquely technical curriculum for its time. The first two years of the curriculum was dominated by mathematics. The first superintendent of the Academy, Jonathan Williams, was aware of the superiority of French mathematics, engineering, and military science textbooks. However, because he was unable to procure enough books to supply the cadets, and because they could not read French, the first mathematics textbook used was Charles Hutton's A Course in Mathematics. When Sylvanus Thayer became superintendent in 1817, he began to wean the cadets and faculty away from Hutton, and French language mathematics texts began to be used, including Lacroix's Algebra, Legendre's Geometry and Boucharlet's Calculus. Soon the entire first year curriculum consisted of mathematics in the mornings and French in the afternoons (in part so that the cadets could read their mathematics). All agreed that this was the kind of education that engineers needed, especially military engineers.
Annual Report of the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, Washington, 1896, p. 47.
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