What do some our alumni say about their education at HMC?

Ken Lorell (’65)

Hine design
So what do I think about a physics education some 30+ years after graduation? Would I do it all over again? There's absolutely no question in my mind. For anyone entering virtually any of the engineering or science disciplines, with maybe the exception of organic chemistry, an undergraduate physics education is invaluable. I went on to the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Stanford School of Engineering for my Ph.D., and my HMC physics degree was a major advantage in practically every class I took and in my thesis research. In addition, in my years as a technical contributor, having the breadth and depth that a physics degree provides made me much more versatile than my colleagues who studied some branch of engineering. I was able to apply basic concepts from E and M, dynamics, optics, and even basic nuclear physics / relativity theory / quantum mechanics to solving problems and inventing new techniques. The ability to understand physical phenomena and apply basic principals to analysis and problem solving is directly related to the solid foundation that I got as a physics major. The colleague with whom I had my most successful collaboration, by the way, has a Ph.D. in physics (with engineering subjects, from the Sorbonne) and my former boss has a degree in Engineering Physics from Cornell---just indications of how a physics degree is a key building block to a successful technical career.
Jan. 1, 1997

Nate Cook (’95)


My Mudd education has been indispensable for this job. My attitude towards science has been the single most important strength, and I know that my years at Harvey Mudd contributed positively and greatly to that attitude.

Jan. 1, 1997

George Conner (’74)

It turns out that Physics was a great intro for my particular job. I started as a digital electronics design engineer and the electronics part could be handled with the few courses HMC offered. The tough part was understanding the complex interrelationships of the functional blocks of the system. My physics background helped in this area although I did spend some intensive time reading electronics books. As time progressed, my job became more of an architectural endeavour and that was where physics really started to help: architecture involves understanding the big picture, not just the details of electronics but mechanical, thermal, software etc. At one time or another I have used almost every branch of technology. Only physics gives you enough understanding of theory to let you jump in and start swinging no matter where you land.
Jan. 1, 1997

Ralph Castain (’76)

Eaton Corporation
Probably the most useful part of my education has been its broad nature, and that's where HMC has contributed the most. I have to pull in a wide variety of areas, and am continually surprised at the lack of breadth I find in those educated at the larger state universities. I guess HMC provides a wider education than you realize as you go through it.
Jan. 1, 1997