Dec

13

Actual Wisdom: Roger Anderson

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some waves

Anderson

True wisdom comes when you need it most. Today, Roger Anderson blatantly disregards the 30 words or fewer limit. We’ll forgive him somehow. 

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I aim for a life “well lived”, while pushing the frontiers of science and particularly computational learning. And I know I am leaving a legacy of kids, grandkids, and hopefully great… that are smarter and harder working than me. (39 words).

Claim to fame: I have survived 40 years on “soft” money at CU! Meaning I have raised the funding for myself and my laboratory, year after year, with external research finding = I am a profit center at CU! I haven’t had time to sum all the research $$ that I have participated in bringing to CU, but it has to be a $Billion or so (counting the cost of ship-time of my early oceanographic and later deep sea drilling careers at Lamont). That may be a lost art in this “tea party wackiness” we are living through now — surviving on your own guile with no “hard” CU salary support. I know it is a constant weight because you have to fund yourself and your laboratory all day, every day.

What’s your most valuable or unexpected college experience? I was PhD advisor to the first 3 Women to get PhD’s in Earth and Environmental Sciences EVER at CU, and it was late 1970’s to early 80’s!… a big surprise to me that there were NONE in the department before ….

Back in my day… The neighborhood, and city for that matter, have become much cleaner, safer and more user friendly since the day I set foot on campus — 1974….

What’s the craziest student excuse/extension story you’ve heard? This was a TRUE excuse in my class…. A GSAS student became HOMELESS, and when I reported it up the ladder at CU, looking for help for her, there was no infrastructure whatsoever in place to deal with such a problem…. no support could be offered by anyone I contacted….so sad…

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Cheese. I grew up in Texas and Oklahoma, and never tasted good cheese till I moved to NYC… and that includes college in California!

Three things you learned at Columbia:

  1. Never be surprised by inefficiencies throughout the organization — and I wrote a book about lean management (CU is not lean).
  2. There has never been a year that my high school (remember TX and OK) could not have beaten the CU Football team handily… And that is 40 CU teams.
  3. But never give up. The CU Heavyweight Rowing team of 2007-11 beat Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Penn, and rowed in the National Championship Finals for the first time since the 1940’s and 50s!

What’s your advice to students/academics/the human race in general? Be brutally empirical in your evaluation of all aspects of your future life. Humans lie, twist, and distort facts to meet personal expectations (especially politicians), but the numbers are facts and will eventually win the day — like climate change, or the “e-word” (as my advisory board for Scholastic magazine’s grade school publications used to call the unmentionable “evolution” even when explaining DNA, cellular biology, and the curing of diseases)…. try arguing against the data sometime… it is really hard to sustain!

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4 Comments

  1. Class of 2011

    I knew two homeless undergrads when I was a student.

  2. Anonymous  

    Thanks to this prof for keeping money issues at CU out in the open. What a crime that Anderson (and his students) have to stump for money while football stays rich.

  3. yo momz  

    this guy is the fucking shit

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