Johns Hopkins Magazine -- April 1997
Johns Hopkins Magazine

APRIL 1997



S C I E N C E    A N D    T E C H N O L O G Y

Author's Notebook
Test Your Siting Savvy
By Sue De Pasquale

Two things struck me when I first paid a visit to Professor Chuck ReVelle in his Ames Hall office. The first was the incredible clutter of his office. Piles and piles of papers, notebooks, and mail cover every square inch of available surface space. He's the first to admit that some of the mail may be months--if not years- -old. And that leads me to my second observation: that Professor Chuck ReVelle is a self-deprecating, exceedingly kind soul, who can barely contain his excitement about anything having to do with location science.

Working with him was a joy, and here's why. There are some researchers, who when asked to explore the intracacies of their particular field, load up their explanation with jargon, then race through it, as if daring you to figure out what they're talking about. Others blanch at the idea of a writer translating their work for a general readership--albeit a highly educated one.

Professor ReVelle takes neither tack. When I suggested doing the article in the form of a multiple choice quiz, he loved the idea. And he spent many hours (both with me and at home, on his own time), working out explanations that would be understandable to interested, educated readers who are--nonetheless--not mathematicians.

As a high school student who feared math like the plague and dreaded every minute I had to spend each day in trigonometry class, I only wish I had had the experience of having a math teacher like Chuck ReVelle sometime early in my school career.