Alumni tell of getting involved and making memories.
By Rebecca Hoffman Carlson (BS ’95), Laie, Hawaii
In 1994 the BYU Astronomical Society office sat high atop the Eyring Science Center (ESC). It was our headquarters for running the planetarium, the observation deck, and the telescope dome. The office also housed the drive for the Foucault pendulum, that brass ball that swings in the ESC Lobby.
One night, after hearing a professor complain about people playing with the pendulum, we thought up a plan to scare off troublemakers. We measured resistance in the pendulum’s swinging wire, then made a sign that read: “DANGER! DO NOT TOUCH! Wire contains 10,000 ohms!”
Well, 10,000 volts might be unpleasant, 10,000 amps a serious problem, but 10,000 ohms never hurt anyone. It only sounds scary. Snickering at our prank, we hurried downstairs and posted the sign, then retreated to the balcony to watch.
Some people would read the sign then run a worried stare up the wire to the hole in the ceiling. Others would read the sign and burst out laughing. We had, unwittingly, developed a perfect geek detector!
Many years later during a visit to campus, my husband and I discovered to our delight that our joke had been immortalized. There is now a permanent plaque that reads, “CAUTION! Do not touch the pendulum ball or cable! 10,000 ohms.”
Hup, Two, Three, Four
By Anne Farnsworth Clement (BA ’65), Snowflake, Ariz.
I was thrilled to be tapped into SPURS, the sophomore service club for women, and I proudly donned my all-wool, long-sleeved uniform to attend weekly meetings. While I don’t now remember any service that we performed that year, I will never forget marching in the Homecoming parade.
For weeks we met before dawn at a campus parking lot to practice. We marched until even the least fit of us felt ready to strut our stuff. On parade day we gathered in downtown Provo, proud to represent our class and school.
The march began, and all went well for about two blocks, when I began to huff and puff and wanted to discard my all-wool uniform. As we proceeded down University Avenue, my agony increased with each step. I began to pray: “Please don’t let me faint here in front of all these people.” Every few yards I considered dropping out of formation and melting into the crowd so I wouldn’t embarrass myself.
I think I made it to the finish line, but I’m not quite sure. My mind was nigh unto brain dead at the end. One thing I know for sure: marching in a parade is one service I will never perform again!
By James W. DeVore Jr. (BA, BS ’97), Somerville, Mass.
As a freshman I tried out several clubs, but none left the impression that Vertical Ascent made on me. Taking advantage of BYU’s proximity to Rock Canyon, Vertical Ascent brought rock climbers of all skill levels together. Everyone had a good time, and there was lots of socializing.
Though most of the climbing was in Rock Canyon, we did go farther afield, including a trip to City of Rocks in Idaho. I remember that the night sky there was incredible. There were so many stars, and the Milky Way actually looked milky.
I was disappointed to find that the club disappeared during my mission. But the lessons I learned have stayed with me, and I’ve since climbed and seen great views all over the United States.