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Alumni Letters

Letters from our alumni readers
July 1, 2005

Memorable Mentor
I believe your articles have captured a bit of the real MIT (“Memorable Mentors,” MIT News, May 2005). Professor Parry Moon, SM ‘27, was and still is my mentor.

In 1952 I needed a subject for a bachelor’s thesis and approached Professor Moon to determine if I could do work in the field of lighting under his guidance. Professor Moon agreed and said that I should look into the feasibility of running fluorescent lamps at high frequency. He suggested three points to explore: the load characteristics, including phase angle as a function of operating frequency; efficiency as a function of frequency; and the practicality and economics of the equipment necessary to provide a system.

“Vision” was not a term we used then, but he had it. He understood that high-frequency fluorescent lighting would provide the light necessary for our tasks at a much reduced energy level. The technology has provided the environment for new products in the lighting field, and we have the first phase of high-frequency lighting now, even though some companies haven’t supported the idea yet. The energy savings are truly significant.

The technology is there for the next phase in high-frequency lighting, but it requires vision on the business end, too.

Ira Eglowstein ‘53
Williamsville, NY

Faithful Beginnings
The article by David Cameron titled “MIT’s Burgeoning Faithful” (MIT News, March 2005) was fascinating and delightful reading. The flourishing situation he described was nonexistent in 1946 when I resumed my studies at MIT after a more-than-three-year leave of absence to serve in the armed forces during World War II.

Charlie Jordan ‘49, Hal (last name and class unknown), and I met routinely in a dormitory room for prayer and Bible study. When others expressed interest in joining our group, we sought an appropriate meeting room. Because such a concept was so novel, many claimed they did not have the power of approval.

It was Christmas season when we were allowed to meet with President Karl T. Compton HM to present our case. Mrs. Compton set the three of us at ease by serving home-baked chocolate-chip cookies and hot spiced cider. After some discussion, President Compton judged us to be reasonable and well-intentioned young men and therefore had “no problem” in granting us a meeting room.

The late Kenneth Pipenberg, who at the time was doing postdoctoral work in the biology department, gave us much-needed moral support and encouragement. The woman who later became his second wife, Evelyn, was a representative of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and assisted us in organizing a chapter on campus.

This brief letter could be considered a historical account of the genesis of the many religious groups now active at MIT.

Arthur Nersasian ‘49
Inverness, FL

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Please include your address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Letters may be edited for both clarity and length.

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