A question in a physics text at West Valley high school set senior John Miller off on a search to find a more complete formula than the one described in the book. His instructor, Tom Ventris, shown above with Miller, encouraged the investigation.

After working out major portions of the idea, Miller ran the information through the computer at Gonzaga University where he was participating in a special workshop for top flight math students. When the theory proved correct, he wrote the author of the text, Clark Metcalf.

Dr Metcalf, in his reply, praised Miller for his original approach to the problem. To receive a letter such as yours indicates how much an imaginative student can derive from a problem, wrote Dr. Metcalf. You illustrated aspects of the problem I had not appreciated before.

—from the West Valley REPORT CARD of District Activities, June 2, 1967, Millwood Washington.


At the time, I loved they way they referred to me as Miller — like I was an adult or something! I liked the photo too. Wish I had that hair now! They referred to The computer at Gonzaga, which was correct in 1967. They had only one! That workshop was on Saturday mornings.

Mr Ventris was great. The article should have said that Tom also encouraged me to write to the author. Ventris later identified me in repsonse to a request from the Knife & Fork Club in Spokane to name an outstanding Science Student whom they could invite to dinner with peers from other high schools to hear The nation's Top aerospace reporter (Peter Reich) who was going to be their presenter in April 1967.

Previous to all of this, Mr Moore, my senior math teacher, had encouraged me to apply for the computer programming workshop... It was 8am-12pm on SATURDAY mornings! I can't imagine where I would be today if I hadn't taken that class.


I should make a short comment on Gonzaga University's School of Engineering deciding to share their computer in this way.


At the Knife & Fork Club, one or two students sat at each table. They got to know us during dinner, then at some point a person at each table got up and introduced the student. When it came to me, people gasped when told I had programmed a computer! What a Trip! I was in a room full of men in tuxedos and women with dinner dresses, very few of whom had ever seen a computer.


I was also encouraged I think to submit a paper to U of Washington Science Symposium for HS students. I spend a fair amount of time writing that, making 'slides' to show, etc. The paper was not selected!


In the same issue of the REPORT CARD, there is a short article 'Park On Camera' They were using Video equipment! ... quote: Classes at Park have been involved in a year-long project to develop inquiry, which stresses independent thinking. End quote. Now, let's see, which of my classmates went to Park? :^)


I should explain what the physics problem was!


Peter Reich died on a Wednesday in January 1997.

A Friction Expert is a Tribologist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribology