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Oral-History:Carol G. Maclennan

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== About Carol G. Maclennan  ==
 
== About Carol G. Maclennan  ==
  
Carol G. Maclennan completed an internship with the [[Bell Labs|Bell Labs]] acoustics department during her undergraduate education at Pembroke College, returning to Bell Labs for employment in 1960. Excluding a brief period of employment on the computing staff of Cornell University, Maclennan worked at [[Bell Labs|Bell Labs]] until her retirement in 2001. During her career, Maclennan worked on the block diagram (BLODI) compiler for speech processing and on spacecraft data analysis. She analyzed data from Jupiter and worked on the [[Pioneer and Voyager Missions|Pioneer and Voyager Missions]] project. Maclennan published over two hundred papers on a variety of topics in geophysics, including an index for gravitational waves based on the Chicago Stock Exchange. Maclennan details some of these publications and describes her research collaborations.  
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[[Carol G. Maclennan|Carol G. Maclennan]] completed an internship with the [[Bell Labs|Bell Labs]] acoustics department during her undergraduate education at Pembroke College, returning to Bell Labs for employment in 1960. Excluding a brief period of employment on the computing staff of Cornell University, Maclennan worked at [[Bell Labs|Bell Labs]] until her retirement in 2001. During her career, Maclennan worked on the block diagram (BLODI) compiler for speech processing and on spacecraft data analysis. She analyzed data from Jupiter and worked on the [[Pioneer and Voyager Missions|Pioneer and Voyager Missions]] project. Maclennan published over two hundred papers on a variety of topics in geophysics, including an index for gravitational waves based on the Chicago Stock Exchange. Maclennan details some of these publications and describes her research collaborations.  
  
 
Maclennan advanced to the position of MTS (member of technical staff) in 1980, working on instrument fieldwork for the magnetometer in Greenland and the Antarctic, and then on satellite communications.  
 
Maclennan advanced to the position of MTS (member of technical staff) in 1980, working on instrument fieldwork for the magnetometer in Greenland and the Antarctic, and then on satellite communications.  

Revision as of 13:02, 6 September 2011

Contents

About Carol G. Maclennan

Carol G. Maclennan completed an internship with the Bell Labs acoustics department during her undergraduate education at Pembroke College, returning to Bell Labs for employment in 1960. Excluding a brief period of employment on the computing staff of Cornell University, Maclennan worked at Bell Labs until her retirement in 2001. During her career, Maclennan worked on the block diagram (BLODI) compiler for speech processing and on spacecraft data analysis. She analyzed data from Jupiter and worked on the Pioneer and Voyager Missions project. Maclennan published over two hundred papers on a variety of topics in geophysics, including an index for gravitational waves based on the Chicago Stock Exchange. Maclennan details some of these publications and describes her research collaborations.

Maclennan advanced to the position of MTS (member of technical staff) in 1980, working on instrument fieldwork for the magnetometer in Greenland and the Antarctic, and then on satellite communications.

This interview details Maclennan's education, research, and collaborations. Maclennan analyzes the roles of gender in the Bell Labs hiring and promotion, as well as in workplace interactions.  Protests by the Women's Rights Association brought improvement in promotion practices and childcare. As a Bell staff member, Maclennan participated a summer program for minority and women students similar to the one that had initially recruited her.

McClennan assesses change over time in Bell Labs computing, social activities, and management. She describes the effects of divestiture on research. The interview concludes with an assessment of Maclennan's career and of the status of women in scientific research.

About the Interview

CAROL G. MACLENNAN: An Interview Conducted by Sheldon H. Hochheiser, IEEE History Center, 29 September 2008

Interview #479 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

Carol Maclennan, an oral history conducted in 2008 by Sheldon Hochheiser, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

Interview

INTERVIEW: Carol G. Maclennan

INTERVIEWER: Sheldon H. Hochheiser

DATE: 29 September 2008

PLACE: At Carol Maclennan's home in Summit, New Jersey

Childhood, family, and educational background

Hochheiser:

Good morning.

Maclennan:

Good morning, Sheldon.

Hochheiser:

I appreciate your willingness to sit down and do this.

Maclennan:

My pleasure.

Hochheiser:

Let's start with your background. Where were you born and raised?

Maclennan:

I was born in Plainfield but my family lived in Bound Brook, New Jersey.

Hochheiser:

The hospital was in Plainfield.

Maclennan:

That's right. My father worked for what was then called Calco (later became American Cyanamid). He was a chemist with a Ph.D. from NYU. Originally he was Canadian. He came down here to go to graduate school, got a job here, and met my mother.

Hochheiser:

And your mother?

Maclennan:

For a time my mother also worked at Calco, though that is not where she met my father. I was the eldest child and once I was born she stayed at home with me. I had a sister who was born a year and a half later and another sister born ten years later. All girls. My mother was always active in the community. For example, she chaired the committee to find a new organ for the church and was on the school board.

Hochheiser:

Were you interested in math and science as a child?

Maclennan:

Yes, I always liked math. I was a math major in college. I went to Pembroke College. My mother had gone to Barnard College and I think she would have liked very much if I had gone there too. However going to a university in New York City didn't seem to suit me. Of course Providence probably wasn't that different.

Hochheiser:

It was smaller anyway.

Maclennan:

Yes, that's true. Pembroke was part of Brown University at that time.

Hochheiser:

Did you enter Pembroke planning to major in math?

Maclennan:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

What was the relation with Brown at the time? Did female students take classes with Brown students or were the classes separate?

Maclennan:

The classes were coed. The campuses were slightly separate, down the street from one another. There were a few classes that were not coed, like gym classes. I could talk about Pembroke for a while, but that is probably not what this interview is about. The math classes were all coed.

Hochheiser:

Were there many women in the math classes?

Maclennan:

There were a fair number. Pembroke was small compared to Brown at that time. I think it was maybe one woman to five guys. Certainly the math classes had at least that ratio. I think that the Pembroke women in general were better students than the Brown men. Or perhaps that's just my prejudice.

Hochheiser:

Was math a popular major at Pembroke?

Maclennan:

I don't know. It was popular among some of my friends, but maybe that's because they were math majors.

Hochheiser:

We hear stories about [the difficulty of] getting women interested in going into math. I think it's still true today. And here you were interested in it your entire life.

Maclennan:

Part of that is probably due to my dad. And we certainly were not discouraged at Pembroke. We were encouraged to do whatever we wanted to do. I think also at Bound Brook High School there was no prejudice against women in math. We had a very good math teacher. In fact, he came to our 50th Reunion a couple of years ago.

Hochheiser:

Lovely.

Maclennan:

He was only at Bound Brook about the amount of time our class was at the high school. Then he went to someplace like Ryder College or Trenton State and got a Ph.D. He was originally from Pennsylvania and later he went there to teach. We tracked him down, and that was really fun. His name was Mr. Norman Cromack.

Hochheiser:

When you got toward the end of your education at Pembroke, did you think about going to graduate school?

Maclennan:

Yes, I did, but I felt that I was ready to do something different than school for a while.

Bell Labs, 1959-1963

Acoustics department internship

Maclennan:

Towards the end of my junior year a recruiter came from Bell Labs. Her name was Elaine Lewis. She was there to recruit women for a summer program. There were maybe twenty-five of us who ended up in the program that year. I probably have a picture on my computer.

Elaine Lewis was in charge of all hiring of women at Bell Labs, and was based in Whippany, New Jersey. These summer women worked both at Whippany and at Murray Hill. Holmdel didn't exist yet. It was a mockup on the boards.

Hochheiser:

I think it was under construction.

Maclennan:

That might be. This was '59.

Hochheiser:

Right. It was somewhere between mockup and construction.

Maclennan:

There was a mockup at Murray Hill, but maybe it was under construction as well. An interesting point: when I said at the dinner table at home – while on a vacation I suppose – that I had this interview with someone from Bell Labs and that there was a possibility of a summer job, my father said, "If you can get a summer job at Bell Labs, you take it." He knew about Bell Labs, being a scientist, and probably knew people there. That was terrific advice, and of course I probably would have taken it anyway, but I was very pleased that was something that he thought was important.

Hochheiser:

What did they have you do during that summer internship?

Maclennan:

That summer I worked in the acoustics department learning FORTRAN. That was the language that everyone used. I went back and worked for the same department later, so I have to try to figure out what I did when.

Hochheiser:

That's very tricky, and don't worry about it.

Maclennan:

I worked with a guy named Ben Logan. He was an engineer and mathematician with very good intuition about a lot of different things. He was also a blue-grass fiddler and was known as Tex Logan in the country music field. He was an interesting guy. He had me do some simple programming. I got to know the department and had a good time.

Senior technical aide employment; computers

Maclennan:

When I graduated a year later I decided to go back, and I went back to the same department.

Hochheiser:

They obviously must have thought well of you too.

Maclennan:

I guess so, yes.

Hochheiser:

You started in the acoustics department. What was your position at the time?

Maclennan:

I was called a senior technical aide (STA). I worked with mostly the same people with whom I had worked in the summer. I did some work on the block diagram (BLODI) compiler. Engineers would draw little pictures of block diagrams and the computer would turn it into machine code, mainly for speech processing. This was pretty advanced for the time.

Hochheiser:

For 1960 that was probably cutting edge, the use of computers.

Maclennan:

That's probably right. Some of it may have been done in FORTRAN; although I'm sure there were basic machine language subroutines as well.

Hochheiser:

Had you done any work with computers in college?

Maclennan:

No.

Hochheiser:

Your first exposure to computers was that first summer at Bell Labs and then you got hired at Bell Labs and mainly you worked with computers?

Maclennan:

Yes. I started out on an IBM 650. Then they got bigger and bigger ones.

Women and the Bell Labs working environment

Hochheiser:

Were there other women in the group?

Maclennan:

Yes. I can think of maybe ten, but that was probably over a period of time. There were some psychologists and a couple other programmers. I shared an office with a Czech woman at one point. She knew a poem or saying in Czech where the number of letters in each word was the next digit of pi, and she could get pi to about a hundred places.

Hochheiser:

That's one way to remember it. Were there women at various ranks? Were there women at the level of MTS?

Maclennan:

Not a lot of women that were MTS. There were women with Ph.D.s who were not MTS. Of course I was not a Ph.D.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Maclennan:

There were women in the math department too. Marion Grey and Jessie McWilliams. Wanda Mammel comes to mind. I think she was a Ph.D., but I don't remember her rank.

Hochheiser:

Those are things that can be looked up I guess.

Maclennan:

Yes, but I particularly remember one psychologist woman who was a Ph.D. and was an associate member of staff.

Hochheiser:

Did you feel in those first few years that your career or role was constrained by being a woman?

Maclennan:

I'm not sure I thought in terms of career at that point. I was maybe twenty years old.

I was happy to have a good job and I enjoyed it. I learned a lot.

BLODI Program

Hochheiser:

You started out working on the BLODI program. During those first few years at the lab did you move on to other things or did that keep you preoccupied for several years?

Maclennan:

I think I did some other things, but BLODI was what I did most. The engineers liked to use this program and they would want new little boxes that would do something different. That was sort of what I was doing, was trying to expand it for them. They would try to run some kind of speech data through it, so I did that too.

Hochheiser:

Were these engineers in the acoustics department?

Maclennan:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

Did you have much contact with people elsewhere in the Labs besides your department?

Maclennan:

I don't think that I did at that time, no.

Cornell U. employment

Hochheiser:

You left the Labs in 1963 and went up to Cornell.

Maclennan:

Right. I was married when I got out of college, and my husband was in graduate school at Rutgers.

Hochheiser:

That certainly worked well for your being at Bell Labs.

Maclennan:

Yes. I commuted from down there. Then he went to Cornell for a PhD, so I moved up there and got a job programming for some professors and was attached to the computing center. It was not the computer science department; it was the department that did computing for people in various places.

Hochheiser:

It was a staff rather than an academic department?

Maclennan:

It was a staff position. That's right. Things didn't work out.

Bell Labs, ca. 1965-2001

Telstar; associate member of technical staff, semiconductor physics

Maclennan:

About a year and a half later I came back to Bell Labs. At that time I was interviewed by Walter Brown. He had a position open to do analysis on spacecraft data. Telstar had recently been launched.

Hochheiser:

Telstar was launched in early '62.

Maclennan:

Walter Brown had a semiconductor detector that was put on the first Telstar. The Telstar was launched just after one of the big nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, and the detectors on spacecraft that were up there were saturated. His detector, having been launched after the explosion, got the only good data about the electrons decaying. That was very exciting. He was looking for a programmer. Someone had already filled my other position from a year and a half before. I went to work for Walter Brown and worked for him for many years. He was terrific and I enjoyed work in that area very much.

Hochheiser:

What department was this?

Maclennan:

Semiconductor physics. It was no longer speech; it was over in the physics area.

Hochheiser:

Right. Was this in research in Area 11?

Maclennan:

I think it was all in research and it was Area 11 whereas acoustics was Area 12.

Hochheiser:

Did you come back at the same level as when you left, as an STA?

Maclennan:

No. I came back as an associate member of technical staff (AMTS). That was one advantage to having left. It was much easier to be hired at that level than it was to get promoted to it. I came in as and stayed an associate member of technical staff until about 1980.

Gender and promotion practices

Maclennan:

I cannot remember exactly when it was, but they looked at the category and found that the AMTS category was filled with women, many of whom probably should have been MTS. As I said before, there was at least one AMTS woman I remember who had a Ph.D. I was not a Ph.D., but I got experience and got better, and by 1980 or 1981 I was ready to be an MTS. They got rid of the whole category of AMTS, which included men but which was mostly women.

Hochheiser:

It was predominantly a place where women were put.

Maclennan:

Yes. AMTS who had not been at the Labs for very long had to do some educational studies and then they became MTS, but those who had been there more than ten years or so were automatically made MTS. I was made an MTS.

Telstar group; spacecraft data analysis, 1960s

Hochheiser:

You worked with Walter Brown as a programmer with his measurements from Telstar. Do you recall who else was in that group in the '60s?

Maclennan:

There was another woman in the same office. Her name was Lee Davidson. She later left and married a rabbi. I worked with a guy named Charlie Roberts. He was very sharp. He was not the best at dealing with people, but he got better. He was a young fellow at that time. Then I began to work with [Louis J.] Lanzerotti. I worked with Lanzerotti for probably thirty-five years.

Hochheiser:

You worked with Brown on the Telstar data and then presumably at some point that research project ended. He had analyzed the data as much as he could.

Maclennan:

There were more spacecraft. There was always another spacecraft.

Hochheiser:

Working with space data one way or another kept you occupied?

Maclennan:

Yes. I did other things too, but I did a lot of spacecraft data analysis. I did not always work with Walter. Lanzerotti and I were in Walter's department for many years. I worked with other people in those departments, but gradually it became that I worked mostly only with Lanzerotti. We worked very well together.

Hochheiser:

I can't imagine you would have worked for a person that long if it were not amenable. Did you stay in the same department for many years?

Maclennan:

I think the name kept changing but it stayed mostly the same.

Hochheiser:

Sometimes I see different departments associated with your name, but I'm not sure if they are really different departments.

Maclennan:

Yes. There was a time that we did not work for Walter Brown. We worked for Peter Eisenberger.

Hochheiser:

Do you recall when?

Maclennan:

That was in the '70s.

Hochheiser:

Anything else particularly notable in terms of the work you did in the '60s?

Maclennan:

It's hard to separate it all out.

Hochheiser:

It is hard, particularly until I saw your name in publications, to figure out things to ask you. I gather your position through these many years remained pretty stable in terms of the sort of work you were doing and the people with whom you were working.

Maclennan:

Yes. I would work for different people off and on, but it did not change very much. Whatever needed to be done, I was agreeable. I had a lot of fun.

Hochheiser:

Through the '60s?

Maclennan:

It was terrific in the '60s, '70s and even the '80s.

Hochheiser:

Did you do any work on the Apollo project?

Maclennan:

No. I didn't do anything with Apollo. But I did work with Voyager. Lanzerotti was a co-investigator with some people at Johns Hopkins among other places. I was involved in a fair amount of the Voyager analysis. I did not work on the initial processing but tried to pull things out of the data. That was fun.

Transition from punch cards to computer terminals

Hochheiser:

I guess the other thing you had to deal with during that period was the evolution of the computers. You said you started out with the 650 in 1959.

Maclennan:

And punched cards. We had to go two buildings away to submit our punched cards to have the jobs run. Then we would find out that there was some typo on a card and two hours or half a day later we'd have to run it again. Things were very different then. We didn't get to PCs for a long time.

Hochheiser:

I know. When I arrived [at AT&T] in '88 I had a terminal on my desk attached to a mainframe in Murray Hill.

Maclennan:

I still have a Sun computer in Lanzerotti's MH office that is attached to a mainframe/server. The mainframe is where all of the data is stored.

Hochheiser:

Do you remember when you went from preparing punch cards and having to take them to another location to being able to work on a computer terminal? That was a big change.

Maclennan:

That was an immense change. I don't remember when that happened.

Hochheiser:

Let's put it this way. Did you go from punch cards directly to a terminal on your desk or did we miss a step in between?

Maclennan:

There was a Tektronix terminal in the corner of the room. It wasn't on my desk. I think we could see the card images and were able to save them somehow.

Hochheiser:

And perhaps edit before actually punching?

Maclennan:

Yes, maybe we could edit them, though it is hard to remember. That was a long time ago.

Hochheiser:

It's just amazing how that technology has changed.

Women's Rights Association activism: childcare, promotion

Maclennan:

Another thing that happened is I got remarried and then had a daughter in 1974. I met my husband on a ski trip with the Bell Labs Ski Club.

Hochheiser:

Was he also a Bell Labs person?

Maclennan:

Yes. He was a mathematician. I didn't take off much time from work after I had my baby. I took off maybe a month and then started back to work part-time. Walter Brown and Lanzerotti were very amenable to whatever arrangement I wanted to make. Sometimes I brought her in and she would sleep in the bottom drawer of my desk. I would pull it out and this little thing would sleep down there. After a while I got childcare. She turned out well.

Hochheiser:

Were there arrangements at Murray Hill for childcare?

Maclennan:

Nothing.

Hochheiser:

You were totally on your own at the time.

Maclennan:

We were totally on our own. There was a group called the Women's Rights Association that asked the senior management to get childcare facilities – or subsidies or discounts for childcare with some local group. We talked to Arno [Penzias] once and he said, "Oh, can't you just hire some lady from Plainfield to come in and take care of your child?" He didn't understand.

Hochheiser:

No comprehension.

Maclennan:

He didn't understand at all.

Hochheiser:

Were there other issues besides childcare that this women's group tried to address?

Maclennan:

I think they addressed the AMTS problem, which was probably part of why that happened. Whatever problems the members had, they were willing to tackle. The members were the group. Those are the issues I remember.

Hochheiser:

Do you recall when this group started? Is this something that came up in the '70s?

Maclennan:

I think it probably started in the early '70s or maybe the late '60s.

Hochheiser:

They addressed a variety of questions.

Maclennan:

Affirmative action questions. Yes.

Publications, 1960s-1970s: defect zones, commodity index, Voyager

Hochheiser:

Those were questions that perhaps needed to be addressed. Maybe we can go back to the substance of your work for a minute. The earliest paper I found with your name on it – and that doesn't mean it was the earliest one – was from 1972 in Applied Physics Letters. The title was "Radiation-Damage-Induced Apparent Optical Absorption Interpreted as Scattering from Defect Zones." Do you have any recollection of that?

Maclennan:

Who were the authors?

Hochheiser:

The authors, besides you, were R. Meek and D. M. Maher.

Maclennan:

Dennis Maher. That certainly was not my first paper.

Hochheiser:

Online searches of things from that long ago are a bit hit or miss.

Maclennan:

Maher was not even in my department, but I must have helped him with the analysis of some data. Defect zones. Walter Brown may have had something to do with that. You actually found it?

Hochheiser:

I didn't go farther generally than the abstracts.

Maclennan:

Also Walter Gibson. Okay.

Hochheiser:

I missed one?

Maclennan:

Yes. He was in Walter Brown's department. I obviously helped with some data analysis.

Hochheiser:

Do you recall your first publication?

Maclennan:

The first thing I wrote myself was something about the BLODI compiler when I was still in the other department. It was not published in Applied Physics Letters or anything. It was an internal memo.

Hochheiser:

It was a TM?

Maclennan:

Yes. I probably have a copy of that, but not in the house. I think it's at Murray Hill.

Hochheiser:

The TM should be in one or two other places as well.

Maclennan:

Okay.

Hochheiser:

That could be found. Any other publications from the '60s or into the '70s that you recall?

Maclennan:

I think my first publication with Lanzerotti should have been from the late '60s or early '70s.

Hochheiser:

The earliest one I found – and again, that doesn't mean it is the earliest one – was from '73 with Lanzerotti and Tony Tyson.

Maclennan:

Oh. That was the one with the pork bellies. That paper correlated Joe Weber's gravity waves with a commodity index. They made us change the name. We couldn't call it the pork belly index.

Hochheiser:

I see. Here is the abstract.

Maclennan:

"Correlation of Reported Gravitational Radiation Events with Terrestrial Phenomena."

Hochheiser:

I guess that sounds classier than pork bellies.

Maclennan:

Joe Weber at the University of Maryland measured something he claimed were gravitational waves. Tony was interested in the gravitational waves, and he didn't believe that Weber was really seeing them, so he came to us. We had access to all kinds of geophysical databases. If they were really gravitational waves they might correlate with something geophysical, so we tried to correlate them. We also correlated them with things that obviously did not have any relevance to the gravitational waves. One of those was the pork belly index on the Chicago Stock Exchange. We got as high a correlation there as we did with anything else. That was the essence of the paper. However, they would not let us call it pork bellies. It was called a commodity index. That was a fun paper. This was not the first paper either. I probably did some with Charlie Roberts. That would have been in the '60s. I think he left Bell Labs by the '70s. I have a list of all these papers someplace. This was a good one that you found.

Hochheiser:

What papers I found were just from a few standard sources.

Maclennan:

Did you look in the Journal of Geophysical Research?

Hochheiser:

I probably would not have known in which indexes to look. I looked in those that occurred to me.

Maclennan:

I'm sure there was early stuff there.

Hochheiser:

What were those about?

Maclennan:

Measurements from the spacecraft: protons. I don't know if I got my name on anything with Walter Brown and Telstar. In the later '60s there were Explorer satellites, a satellite called Advanced Technology Satellite (ATS).

Hochheiser:

In general your role in these various projects was doing computations on the computer?

Maclennan:

Right. I sorted out the data and made it make sense in order to see what could be pulled out of it. Many of these were discovery papers – things at which no one had ever looked before and in places that spacecraft had not been before. What's there? What do you see? How do you interpret it?

Hochheiser:

That must have been exciting.

Maclennan:

It was terrific.

Hochheiser:

It was kind of cutting edge in several senses.

Maclennan:

Yes. The '70s Voyager was launched after all that other stuff.

Hochheiser:

And then over a period of years it kept moving out.

Maclennan:

Right. I don't do anything with it anymore, but it is still sending data back.

Hochheiser:

It's pretty amazing.

Maclennan:

It really is amazing.

Hochheiser:

What sort of things did you help get out of the data sent back from Voyager?

Maclennan:

I worked mostly on Jupiter data. That was very exciting, because it was cutting edge. We looked at protons and ions in the radiation belts of Jupiter and how they co-rotated around with the spin of the planet. The planet spins every 10 hours. It's humongous, so things are really whipping around, especially what is far out. There was a lot of physics, not all of which I understand.

Hochheiser:

Presumably someone else on the team understood it.

Maclennan:

That's right. Someone understood it better.

Hochheiser:

Another paper I came across from the late '70s was with Akira Hasegawa.

Maclennan:

Yes, I did do some things with Akira. [reading:] "Nonlinear behavior and turbulence spectra of drift waves and Rossby waves." Yes. This other co-author, Yuji Kodama, was a postdoc with Akira and he was very sharp. He had a Ph.D. in math and a Ph.D. in physics.

Hochheiser:

I'm impressed.

Maclennan:

He was also very good at writing computer code. I was working with him and Akira modeling these waves.

Hochheiser:

By the time the paper was published, Kodama had moved on from being a postdoc at Bell Labs.

Maclennan:

Yes.

Collaborations with researchers in other groups or outside Bell Labs

Hochheiser:

You've answered for this instance, but to what extent did you work with people outside the Labs?

Maclennan:

We worked a lot with people outside the Labs. We were doing spacecraft data analysis and there were not a lot of people doing this at the Labs. It was a very small group. There was one engineer, Les Medford. Lanzerotti was the one I worked with primarily after a while. And then there was me. We often got summer students and visitors, but a lot of our colleagues were outside Bell Labs. We collaborated a lot with Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. We also worked with Hasegawa. He did plasma physics, so we did things with him and his colleagues. About Hasegawa and Kodama, both of these guys were Japanese and therefore spoke Japanese English. The job of getting a paper so that it was comprehensible to an English-speaking person usually fell to me. I did a lot of that.

Hochheiser:

I think this is an interesting problem since science is international and English is the lingua franca. The issue of people who are not native English speakers becomes an important and interesting one.

Maclennan:

That's right.

Hochheiser:

Was the case of Hasegawa an instance where you were working with people in another group?

Maclennan:

Actually he was in the same department.

Hochheiser:

To what extent did you work and in what other ways might you have interacted with people elsewhere within the Labs?

Maclennan:

Not a lot. If we had statistics questions I often would talk to people in the Statistics Department. Bill Cleveland and Beat Kleiner (from Switzerland) were interested in large sets of data, and we had that. In fact, there was a computer program called S that the statisticians had developed. I used that a lot for a while because it could handle large amounts of data and display it in reasonable ways. We had large amounts of data

More recently we have collaborated a lot with Dave Thomson, who was also in the math department. Together we wrote some very exciting papers about finding modes of the Sun in geomagnetic data.

Hochheiser:

Would it be fair then to say that you had little contact with people anywhere else in AT&T or the Bell System?

Maclennan:

No. Lanzerotti always tried very hard – and successfully – to make connections with people wherever he could. Even in the '90s he was making connections with the Telstar people and asking questions. These were questions about things like spacecraft charging. These were things he might come at from a different point of view or know something they didn't know or have connections that they didn't have. We did a fair amount of stuff with other people. Early on there was a guy at Sandia doing some kind of secret project. We worked with other people in the Bell System that did different things too.

Hochheiser:

Did you do this back in the '70s?

Maclennan:

Yes, that was probably in the '70s.

Bill Baker

Hochheiser:

Before we move past the '70s, you probably know that Mike Noll is putting together a festschrift in honor of Bill Baker. I would be remiss if I didn't ask you if you had any recollections of Bill Baker.

Maclennan:

I certainly knew who he was. I don't think I ever had any personal interactions with him . Mike Noll and I are old friends from when we were both in the Acoustics Department in the 60s. That was when we first met. Mike said that even when Bill Baker was in the nursing home if he mentioned my name to him, Bill Baker knew who I was. He was an amazing man with amazing recollections. I went to Arno to talk about childcare, but that was when Arno was Vice president for Research.

Bill Baker might have been more understanding. I don't know.

Hochheiser:

I had several occasions to talk to Bill on a variety of things. It was long after his retirement, but he was certainly very much involved and engaged.

Magnetometer; instrument fieldwork, 1980s

Hochheiser:

One paper I thought kind of interesting from 1981 was this geophysical paper about the design of a piece of equipment for use. It seemed interesting because it was different. I wonder if you remember it.

Maclennan:

Okay. We took this magnetometer to Greenland. I'm sure it was used in other places too. I was involved on this paper because I wrote some of the software to run it. The magnetometer was controlled by a low-power microprocessor and everything ran off a battery. It was written in [DEC] PDP-8 code.

Hochheiser:

Now we're talking 1981.

Maclennan:

Yes. This was different from anything else I had done.

Hochheiser:

That's why it stuck out.

Maclennan:

This was more like what I did with the BLODI compiler. It was machine-language. We took those magnetometers to all kinds of interesting places. Often remote settings. I think they first put it somewhere in upstate Vermont. We had a whole chain of these and other magnetometers in people's basements with regular power. We were looking at the plasmapause at that point. We took this one to Greenland later in the '80s, and that was fun.

Hochheiser:

You left Murray Hill to do field work?

Maclennan:

I did some fieldwork. Medford, our engineer, was responsible for doing most of that. For various reasons he did not want to go to the Antarctic, and when we needed to have an instrument moved down there I raised my hand and said, "I could do that." He wrote me out detailed recipes for how to install this and what the meter has to say and what to do if it does this, etc. I went down there and did it. That was fun. I first went down there in 1984. I went to the Ice a total of three times I think. I enjoyed that a lot.

Hochheiser:

Not too many people have opportunities to go there. Other than your trips to the Antarctic did you do other fieldwork?

Maclennan:

I went to California to help integrate an instrument into a remote station that was going to the Antarctic. When I went to Greenland I was there with Lanzerotti and a colleague from the University of Alaska, Bob Hunsucker. We did correlations with a scientific radar they had there. Mainly I was there to help install the instrument rather than to collect data. I helped some guys from the University of Maryland install an imaging riometer on a trip to Greenland as well. I wasn't an engineer, but I learned how to do some of the work to help.

Hochheiser:

When you're part of a group you—

Maclennan:

You do what needs to be done.

Hochheiser:

Exactly.

Maclennan:

Yes.

Divestiture

Hochheiser:

In the late '70s and moving into the '80s, were you aware at all about all the legal turmoil about the existence of the Bell System?

Maclennan:

Yes. We were aware things were happening. I remember the lunch when we found out that they had divested all the operating companies. Everyone was floored. We had no idea that that was what was going to happen. It was a big surprise. When was that?

Hochheiser:

January of '82 was when the announcement was made that the local companies were being divested.

Maclennan:

On one of my trips to the Antarctic we had a Bell System sign on the magnetometer and we had to change it to a new AT&T sign. I made a stencil and painted it on there. It was all done by hand. That was a new thing.

Hochheiser:

January '82 was the announcement and the effective date was January 1, 1984.

Maclennan:

Yes. I was in the Antarctic the beginning of '84. That reminds me. We started doing this work in the Antarctic in the '70s. Hans Lie went down there around 1972, which was about when it started. At his party [for going to the Antarctic] – and this was before computer graphics could be done on t-shirts – I got a white sweatshirt and made a nice old-fashioned Bell symbol on a sweatshirt for him to wear when he went there. There's a picture in the Bell Labs News or the Bell Labs Record with him wearing that sweatshirt while with the magnetometer in the Antarctic in 1972.

Hochheiser:

Did the breakup of the Bell System affect your work? Did you notice it having an effect on your work or on the Labs in general through the '80s?

Maclennan:

There must have been some effects, but there was not anything immediate. There were probably less people with problems who would come to us and ask questions. We never got much from the operating companies. We never did anything with Western either. There was not a big effect that I could discern at that time.

Hochheiser:

In your area.

Maclennan:

That's right. We already had a lot of contacts outside, and that didn't change.

Hochheiser:

I get the impression that your work and career was fairly steady through the eighties.

Maclennan:

Yes.

Communications and satellite research, 1990s

Hochheiser:

To what extent were there ties with more applied areas? I'm thinking in particular of the '90s when AT&T got back into the communication satellite business.

Maclennan:

We had some connections with the Telstar people at that time. We had summer students working on some problems with them. I used to get some data from them, but I can't remember what. We put a solar telescope on the roof at Murray Hill around 2001. Before that we were trying to correlate cell phone outages with solar radio noise. You might have found some things about that.

Hochheiser:

Yes.

Maclennan:

We were trying to get solar radio noise measurements from various places, but I don't think we got that from Telstar. I think it was mostly spacecraft charging with Telstar.

Hochheiser:

What is spacecraft charging?

Maclennan:

A spacecraft sits up there and gets charged on one side relative to the other. Then it can discharge and nasty things can happen. Data can be lost and the spacecraft electronics could be damaged. We were trying to do this study with the cell phones, but that was really towards the end. Then the satellite area was divested so this subject was no longer of interest.

Hochheiser:

The satellites were divested about '97-'98.

Maclennan:

Yes. That stopped that work.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Maclennan:

We did a lot of work with cables too, using the old cables in which AT&T had no more interest.

Hochheiser:

The old copper cables?

Maclennan:

Yes, mainly ocean cables. We measured the induced voltages on them and tried to correlate that with various solar effects. We did measurements across the Atlantic, measurements to Hawaii and worked with the Japanese on some of that. They were interested. I should find you a list of papers with some of these things.

Hochheiser:

Okay. Which we could add. What did you learn from measurements on those retired cables?

Maclennan:

A lot of it was correlated with solar activity. Some of it was correlated with some kind of gravity waves in the atmosphere.

Gender and employment practices, work environment, 1980s

Hochheiser:

You talked about how you and a large number of women became MTSs in 1980.

Maclennan:

About that time, yes.

Hochheiser:

Around that time. Did you start to see an increase in the number of younger women being hired?

Maclennan:

Absolutely. I would say we started seeing that probably about the same time. Several were on my corridor. Alice White, who is still at Lucent and has done very well there, came in as a new Ph.D. Julie Phillips, who is now out in New Mexico at Sandia and doing very well. Cherry Murray was on my corridor for a while. She is now out at Lawrence Livermore. Yes. A lot of very good women came in starting around 1980.

Hochheiser:

Did the increase in the number of women as MTSs change the Labs in any way?

Maclennan:

Well, they never got a childcare center, but I think they made some arrangement with some childcare center so that Bell Labs employees could get priority there or something. I think having more women made it a more amenable place.

Hochheiser:

In what ways?

Maclennan:

I don't want to make generalizations, but I think that women tend to think more about the people involved as well as about the physics. I mean, not all men don't and not all women do, but—

Hochheiser:

It's more likely with women.

Maclennan:

Yes. We started having tea in the afternoons. I guess they always had a tearoom. Even during our afternoon teas people would come in and talk physics, but we sort of set it up. We had cookies, and that was nice. On the other hand, the club structure has deteriorated to near zero I think. I guess they still have softball there, but that's about all.

Bell Labs social and educational activities, 1960s-1990s

Maclennan:

I was very active in the Canoe Club for a long time. There is still at least one trip that was run every year and still runs every year to the Adirondacks for cross-country skiing. That is run by some remnants of the Canoe Club. Of course anyone can go now, but one has to know someone to find out about it. The Canoe Club was very active for a long time. We used to have trip committee meetings two or three times a year. People would contact their friends and acquaintances and we would have trips almost every weekend – hikes, bicycle trips or canoeing. It was not just canoeing. Skiing in the winter.

Hochheiser:

It was general outdoor physical activities.

Maclennan:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

Were there a lot of social life and social activities around the Labs in addition to the work?

Maclennan:

Yes, I guess there was. They also had classes. I took classes in Russian and I took a class in Japanese once. After hours starting at six o'clock people would teach a class for an hour or so. Anyone could sign up. I don't think we had to pay any money. The Labs provided the facility and the teachers were generally Labs members. I took a class in home maintenance; how to fix the toilet or whatever. I still have some of the notes and use them occasionally.

Hochheiser:

Very useful.

Maclennan:

Yes. That was way back in the '60s and '70s. That started to deteriorate in the '80s. The Canoe Club kept doing things until the '90s. One of the last things we did was revise a book called[Exploring] the Little Rivers of New Jersey. It was written by a couple called the Cawleys [James and Margaret Cawley]. They were not Labs people, but the Canoe Club got into it because the wife of a Labs person worked for Rutgers University Press, which had published two of the previous editions. She saw this book and thought it would be nice to do a new version of it. The Cawleys had long since died. One of their daughters lived in Vermont and gave permission to do the update. We got a committee of people from the Canoe Club together. Initially a lot of people took one chapter each, which would be one river, and researched it to see if what was said about the river was still true, if you could still canoe it and so on. I came in a little late on this project and was part of a three-person or four-person group that took all of the chapters after these revisions had been made and tried to make them sound in the same voice as the original Cawley version. I think we also added a few rivers to what they had originally. This book came out in '92 or '93.

Hochheiser:

Here. Bell Labs News wrote it up.

Maclennan:

Okay. 1993. The 50th Anniversary of the first edition was in 1992, so we didn't quite make that, but we tried. This picture was taken down at Seeley's Pond. We tried to find someplace close where we could have some canoes.

Ulysses, 1990s research

Hochheiser:

Did your work pretty much stay the same as you went into the '90s? This may just be semantics, but I found a couple of Bell Labs News mentions of you. In '93 Bell Labs put you in Physical Science Research and in '94 they put you in Film, Metal and Dielectric Research. Does that mean anything?

Maclennan:

No. They changed the names of the department.

Hochheiser:

Your work remained pretty stable and pretty much with Lanzerotti and the same small group of people?

Maclennan:

Yes. In 1990 a spacecraft called Ulysses was launched, and that essentially is what I worked on during most of the '90s and until recently. The spacecraft initially went to Jupiter, and used Jupiter to put it in a polar orbit around the Sun. Everything else goes around the Sun in the ecliptic plane, but Ulysses goes around in a vertical plane, roughly perpendicular to the ecliptic.

Hochheiser:

Does it go around 90 degrees to the ecliptic?

Maclennan:

Not quite. Maybe 80 or 85 degrees. It used Jupiter to swing it out of the ecliptic plane and put it into this orbit. It was originally intended to be launched much earlier, but because of the Challenger disaster when they canceled the shuttle it got delayed. It was eventually launched in 1990. Lanzerotti was the Principal Investigator on this experiment, which was a particle experiment measuring electrons, protons and ions up to iron. It could differentiate from hydrogen all the way up to iron. It could differentiate hydrogen, helium, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, neon, magnesium, silicon, sulfur, and iron. I worked a lot on that. I still have the programs and I think I could still run them if I could get into the office.

Hochheiser:

Ulysses sent data back for many years?

Maclennan:

Yes. It is on its last legs now [2008], but we were still getting good data a year ago.

Hochheiser:

I guess that trying to interpret the data led to many years of work?

Maclennan:

Yes. I was not responsible for the preliminary data analysis, but I was involved in saying what that data should look like and how it should be produced. The initial processing was done at the University of Kansas, and they sent out Exabyte tapes. That switched to CDs at some point.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Maclennan:

The technology has changed just in the last ten or fifteen years – through Ulysses several times. We used optical disks at one point and can't read those now.

Hochheiser:

That's a real problem if you need to re-analyze older data.

Maclennan:

They went back and put all the data on CDs. It's all on CDs now.

Hochheiser:

As long as CDs are—

Maclennan:

As long as they don't deteriorate we're okay.

Hochheiser:

Not only as long as they don't deteriorate, but as long as CD drives can still be obtained. That's the other problem. It's not just that old tapes can deteriorate; it's whether there are still tape players.

Maclennan:

Yes.

AT&T Labs split, 1995; Lucent

Hochheiser:

Do you recall your reaction at the announcement that AT&T was splitting yet again in '95?

Maclennan:

No. Not so much. It was probably just as relevant, but—

Hochheiser:

Somehow it didn't hit you that way at the time?

Maclennan:

I think it hit me, but I don't recall my exact reaction. That was too bad.

Hochheiser:

Certainly from the perspective of the Labs in particular I think.

Maclennan:

Yes. AT&T still has research areas. Right?

Hochheiser:

It's interesting. This is why I asked you if you knew about it. What happened was that the Labs itself split. That was something considerably different from what happened in '84 when just a relatively small group of people were affected.

Maclennan:

That's right. I think they didn't take much of the physics area, so it was less obvious there. The math department was split right down the middle. That was tough.

Hochheiser:

That was the really tough one.

Maclennan:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

From having known some people in the math department and having heard about it, that one got really tough. The physics area you were in basically—

Maclennan:

Stayed in Murray Hill.

Hochheiser:

And then went to Lucent.

Maclennan:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

It was not a matter of some of the people you had worked with suddenly working for a different company.

Maclennan:

No. That's right. It affected the Canoe Club though. On the other hand, we sort of kept doing stuff together.

Hochheiser:

Is it fair to say that as far as your research the establishment of Lucent had no immediate effect?

Maclennan:

It was probably not immediate, but I think that was the beginning of the end for research – at all – at Lucent. What is there now is practically nothing.

Hochheiser:

That's a gradual process.

Maclennan:

Yes.

Hochheiser:

When did you first notice the changes impinging on the work of you and your group?

Maclennan:

Medford retired. I'm not sure when, but it was the early '90s so this was before Lucent.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Maclennan:

They were cutting back on what they would give as medical benefits for retirees or something. Didn't that happen somewhere in the early '90s?

Hochheiser:

Yes. There were several voluntary packages offered in different parts of the company. One of the incentives dealt with retiree health benefits.

Maclennan:

Medford returned as a consultant and continued to work a day or two a week. He was still available. I think when it really started happening was about the same time that they offered me a package. There was one offered before I took it. I don't remember when the first offer came, but it was probably a couple years prior. The one I took was in 2001. That's when things really started to fall apart.

Hochheiser:

That's when the whole telecom bubble busted. About the time things started really falling apart they offered you a package and you took it.

Maclennan:

Yes. I think some of the upper management did some bad things.

Hochheiser:

Yes. Was this a voluntary package at the time?

Maclennan:

I can't remember if it was completely voluntary or not, but I took it.

Hochheiser:

You decided it was a good time.

Maclennan:

I don't know if there was an option to stay, but at that point it certainly seemed the thing to do.

Summer research programs for minorities and women

Hochheiser:

Circling back just a couple of years I noticed in another Bell Labs News article that you were cited by the Labs for your work in the summer research programs for minorities and women.

Maclennan:

Yes. I have a list somewhere. There were two or three people per summer for probably twenty or thirty years. Some of them in were in the regular program and some were students of people with whom we were collaborating in various places. For many years we had students from a professor at the University of Calgary. Lanzerotti had taken a sabbatical and gone to work with Professor Venkatesan in the '70s. After that when Venk got a good student he'd say, "Can he come work with you?" I think they were always guys. One guy came back for five summers. I'm still in touch with him. He lives in Ontario, and when I go up there in the summer we sometimes visit.

Hochheiser:

His name?

Maclennan:

Jim Bamber. He got a Ph.D. at UCLA. I'm not quite sure what he is doing now, but I know he built a solar house. He may still do some work for the people at UCLA. He does his own thing. After he got his Ph.D. he took his wife and his less-than-year-old daughter and went to China for a year. He had been studying Chinese. They traveled around. He's had a very interesting life and is an interesting guy.

Hochheiser:

How large was this summer program? Were there a lot of people at the Labs involved?

Maclennan:

He was not part of the summer research program.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Maclennan:

It was generally for women and minorities and we usually got somebody every year from them. It's related to the program from when I first came to the Labs.

Hochheiser:

Right.

Maclennan:

But it was not continuous. I think there were some years in there when it didn't happen, but then they started it up again probably in the '70s. As for how many people were involved, I would bet there were fifty or sixty students in a summer.

Hochheiser:

Every year?

Maclennan:

Every year. Yes.

Hochheiser:

Were these generally undergraduates?

Maclennan:

Yes, they were generally undergraduates. I would say maybe 50 percent of them were after their Junior year.

Hochheiser:

As you had been.

Maclennan:

Yes. Though some of them were younger, and sometimes we would get some that had just graduated and were going to graduate school. They printed big books. We could go through and see which students were appropriate for us. They would have meetings and we would decide who would get what. I was on the committee for a year or two. We always had students. We would come up with some project, and it was good to have them around. It kept us young.

Hochheiser:

Yes, and it was probably good for them to see how a real research laboratory works.

Maclennan:

Absolutely. Some of them had never seen anything like real data before. They came from all over. Some came from Harvard and Columbia and some came from East Podunk or someplace similar.

Retirement, 2001

Hochheiser:

You took one of the packages and retired in 2001. Have you remained professionally active since then?

Maclennan:

I have. Well, I have done some, but I'm winding down now. They let me keep my office until about six months ago. It was something to get that cleaned out, I'll tell you. There were probably forty years of stuff in there.

Hochheiser:

Yes. I would imagine.

Maclennan:

I moved some of it into Lanzerotti's office. That's where my list of papers is now I guess. I have not done a lot recently, but I have been trying to keep up with a certain corner of the Ulysses data that no one else ever looks at. There was a meeting in Greece in May this year I wanted to attend, so I worked up some of that data and presented it.

Hochheiser:

Isn't Lanzerotti mainly at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) these days?

Maclennan:

Yes. He has an office at NJIT and he doesn't go into his Bell Labs office very often, so I think that's not going to last much longer.

Collaborations with Louis J. Lanzerotti

Hochheiser:

Would you say a few more words about Lanzerotti? The two of you worked together for decades.

Maclennan:

He's a very generous collaborator. He always gives credit to his collaborators. We worked together very well. He was very good at seeing projects and thinking of things to do. With a little bit of a push I would go on that track and get those things done. He was not very good with actually getting into the computer and pulling out the data, so that was my chore. I'm pretty good at seeing things in the data too. I may not know the physics behind it, but if we have been looking at something for months and it looks like this and all of a sudden it looks like something else, I can pull that out and maybe figure out why. We worked together a long time. I think he was very good at assessing people and knowing what they can do. That worked too.

Overview of career, women in science

Hochheiser:

Looking back, how would you characterize your career as a whole?

Maclennan:

It was very exciting. We did a lot of different things. Once I started working in the physics area the people I worked with recognized my strengths and I got to work on a lot of different projects and meet a lot of interesting people. The Ulysses team had people from many different places in the U.S. There were people from Berkeley, Kansas and Johns Hopkins. There was also a Greek fellow, a French woman and some people from England for a while. We would have team meetings once or twice a year at everybody's different institutions so that their graduate students could come and participate. We had a couple of meetings in Greece, a couple meetings in Paris, Kansas, Berkeley, Johns Hopkins of course and at Bell Labs. That was a lot of fun. I've had a terrific career. I've done a lot of interesting things. Antarctic. Greenland. I gave an invited paper at a meeting in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, [in the] North of Norway. Spitsbergen.

One day during the meeting a few people were going further North to look at a rocket launch site, and they had an extra place in the plane and they asked me if I'd like to go along. It was in Ny Alesund, which is where they launched the dirigible that went to the North Pole in 1926 with Nobile. It was about 78 degrees north. So I have been to 78 degrees North and 90 degrees south! I went to Thule, Greenland on my way to the scientific radar. That was a military plane and we had to catch it at Fort Dix or McGuire Air Force Base.

Maclennan:

I did this a couple of times. One time we stopped in Goose Bay because it was too early and we were not allowed to land that early in Greenland. We had to stop at Goose Bay for a couple of hours in the middle of the night. Another time we went to Thule and then came back down to Sondrestromfjord, which has a new Inuit name now, Kangerlussuaq. It was a terrific time.

Hochheiser:

How have things changed for women in science over the course of your career?

Maclennan:

I think today I probably would have been pushed a little harder to get an advanced degree. I'm not sure an advanced degree in math would have been the right thing, but I probably would have gone into computer science instead of math. At one point in the '60s I started taking some graduate courses in physics at NYU. The Labs supported that. They gave me time off and paid the tuition. However I talked to Walter Brown at some point and he said, "This is not what is going to get you promoted." He said, "We expect you to learn what you need to know on the job."

He saw that my position was not doing the physics; that someone else would do that. I was more valuable to them doing what I was doing. I probably learned enough of the physics to be useful. Soon I bought a house and stopped taking the graduate courses. I bought the house in 1967.

As to what has changed, I think there are more women. That makes it easier for any one particular person. I was very lucky to latch onto Walter Brown and Lanzerotti in particular. They were very supportive and it was fun to work for them.

Hochheiser:

Can you think of anything I didn't ask you that perhaps I should have or that you would like to add?

Maclennan:

I will try to get hold of my list of publications. There are about 200 of them.

Hochheiser:

I did not find many of them.

Maclennan:

I don't think you found the ones in the Journal of Geophysical Research, and there are a lot of those.

Hochheiser:

I probably didn't know where to look.

Maclennan:

That's okay. You found some interesting ones. I'm glad you found the pork bellies.

Hochheiser:

I'm glad you told me that.

Maclennan:

Commodities means pork bellies.

Hochheiser:

Yes. And as you pointed out, the title was cleaned up for publication. Well, in that case, I think we're done, and I thank you very much.

Maclennan:

Terrific. I thank you, Sheldon.