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Graduate Student Teaching

Since we had only two faculty members in astronomy, it was not practical to offer a Ph.D. program in the subject. Therefore emphasis on the M.A. degree was necessary, especially since both Storer and I strongly believed that the experience gained in producing a thesis was worthwhile. The downside to this is that if it had been possible to have kept each student another year, we would have been able to publish considerably more papers.

Storer was more involved in teaching than research, in particular he taught a special course called the Principles of Physical Science and was writing a book on the subject. Also, he was an Associate Professor and had certain administrative duties that I was glad to avoid. If then one includes his regular teaching, he did not have much time left over for research; nevertheless, he did the best he could to encourage it, and was very active in the K.U. Chapter of Sigma-Xi. Furthermore, Storer could always be counted upon to give good counsel and advice; Mary Storer once said to me that even though Wyman didn't personally write many research papers, all of his students certainly did! Unfortunately the lack of published papers undoubtedly had an adverse affect on his salary.

Although it fell upon me to handle most of the thesis-type details, I enjoyed the arrangement, and Storer and I got along very well. We never imposed the choice of thesis subject upon the student, although we often made suggestions. There was no university requirement of originality placed on a master's thesis, but advanced students are far more capable than is commonly realized, and they are generally strongly motivated. On occasion it would turn out that the resulting thesis, modified appropriately, was sufficiently worthwhile to warrant publication in one of the professional journals; but this could lead to difficulties if the editor or referee had criticisms that required more than simple corrections, since meanwhile the student would have gone on to his next position. In any event we did the best we could, considering the limitations that are inherent in an M.A. program.


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