My major?
Well, the simple answer is Mathematics & Physics,
but I wound up doing software.  
But you didn't really expect a simple answer from me,
now did you?  :^>  B-]  

(Smileys are fun, at least when people can't see you making faces.)

Originally, I was pursuing a career in High-Energy Physics
(i.e. "atom smashers", etc.).  Since I was also taking the full
Mathematics sequence, I was to receive two B.S. degrees.
(I also took many humanities courses, and joked that I had a
"minor in Philosophy" -- since I had taken all two of the courses 
Poly offered, and several extra-curricular ones at NBI, etc.)

In my 3rd year, however, I became enthralled by X-Ray Diffraction 
and Crstallography.  (That refers to the methods Watson & Crick 
used to map the double-helix of DNA.)  I studied under Professor
Isidore Fankuchen (sic) who was a true pioneer in the field,
having cracked the structure of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus in 
the 1930s.  (BTW, this field is part of "Low-Energy Physics", 
and therefore was disdained by some macho High-Energy physicists, 
especially since it bordered on Chemistry (yeccch ;-/ ).)

Anyhow, Fankuchen's follow-on course conflicted with a required 
Thermodynamics course (which I dreaded anyhow), and since I'd 
already been accepted into graduate school as a Physics major 
and the Dean said that my undergraduate degree wouldn't matter,
I wound up not finishing my Physics degree requirements and
getting only the B. S. in Mathematics.  

Fankuchen died at the end of that year.  His protege, Prof. Ben Post
got me to do some scut work in the graduate X-Ray lab -- because 
I was the only one who had taken some silly non-credit course about 
this new-fangled version of the Fortran programming language, and he 
needed some computer programs translated to run on the new IBM-7040
computer that Poly had just installed.  After a couple of years as 
a PhD candidate, Ben talked me into taking a position here at 
Brookhaven National Laboratory to help Walter Hamilton (a very 
famous Crystallographer, whom nobody outside the field ever heard of) 
with some computer programming for Neutron Diffraction experiments 
at the High Flux Beam Reactor (Yes, that's the one that is leaking 
some Tritium, today!) and continuing at Poly part time on the PhD 
(which I never did finish).

I took the BNL job in 1966 and stayed here 15 years, during which 
time I transitioned gradually from Physics into a new and nameless 
field -- for which there was not even a degree program in those days.  
In those years, I designed and wrote computer programs to simulate 
various processes, from atmospheric transport of pollutants to the 
plumbing of breeder reactors, databases for areas as diverse as
oceanography and materials safety, internal stuff like operating 
systems and compilers, and (still my favorite) "on-line" "real-time" 
"process control" systems to run and automate experiments, accelerators, 
spectrometers, beer factories, and what-have-you.

Terms like "programming" and "computer stuff" were used in those days 
to describe what I did and still do for a living, but the term "Analyst" 
is much more accurate to describe the hard part.  (Code writing is the 
easy part.)  When colleges started creating programs for this endeavor,
the new degrees and departments usually bore the apellation "Computer 
Science".  I'd always objected to that term because (except for a very 
small, obscure theoretical area that is actually a branch of Mathematics), 
little or nothing of what we do involves "science" at all!  After all,
one does not need courses in Electrophysics or Theoretical Mechanics 
to become an Electrical or Mechanical Engineer.

Nowadays, the term "Software Engineering" has come into vogue, and it's
not too bad a description (altho the tough (and fun) part is done by a 
person more-accurately called a " Software Architect").  However, the 
word 'software" really started as a joke word in the 60s:  Q. What do
you call the programs that run on the "hardware" of a computing machine?  
A. Let's call them the "Soft"-ware.  Ha ha.  Get it?

Nevertheless, the then-common title "programmer" sounded too much like 
the lowly, pejorative term "coder", while the more-lofty title of "Analyst"
makes others think one is a "shrink" and works with a couch.  Therefore,
to mitigate the identity crises provoked by innocent questions like 
"what do you do", given that no existing title was quite satisfactory,
(and partly because I always insist on using a different phrase in the 
"occupation" box of every IRS 1040 form I fill out) I gave much thought 
to devising a more appropriate name for my field of endeavor (to wit: 
analyzing problems, devising suitable automated solutions or algorithms,
then implementing them).  I briefly considered "Cyberneticist", but knew 
this pompous mouthful would never catch on, much less serve to communicate.

One day, on the cover of a technical publication, there appeard a quote 
from Aristotle's Politics which really caught my attention and excited
my imagination.  I posted it on my office door and even passed out copies.
It read:

	*  "There is only one condition in which we can      *
	*  imagine managers not needing subordinates, and    *
	*  masters needing slaves.  This condition would be  *
	*  that each (inanimate) instrument could do its own *
	*  work, at the word of command or by intelligent    *
	*  anticipation, like the statues of Daedalus, or    *
	*  the tripods made by Hephaestus, of which Homer    *
	*  relates that "Of their own motion they enterred   *
	*  the conclave of Gods on Olympus" as if a shuttle  *
	*  should weave of itself, and a plectrum should do  *
	*  do its own harp playing."                         *

What struck me was the beatiful notion that computers and robots,
could provide the means to make human subordination -- and therefore 
coercion -- totally profitless!  Here was a concrete example of 
how modern technology was making possible an Objectivist's utopia
and how the whole world might become Galt's Gulch because cheap
robots would replace ornery serfs and taxpayers.

And my ennobling job was to write the "word of command" 
(or to program the artificially-"intelligent anticipation")!!

Beyond this exciting revelation, and paling before it, was the 
discovery of ancient terminology for an automaton, greatly predating 
Karl Capek's use of the Polish verb for "work" in his novel "R.U.R"
(from whence came the silly word "robot").  Unless we uncover some
Cro-Magnon frescoes illustrating walking boxes, it would be extremely
hard to find an earlier literary reference to computing machines and 
robots than Homer's description of these little self-actuated "tripods" 
forged by Hephaestus (Vulcan's eponym).

Can't you just picture them wobbling up the Olympian slopes,
carrying hotplates of Ambrosia and thermoses of nectar.

Clearly, the art and science of causing these tripods to do their 
thing should be named "Tripodics".  That is why, I named my consulting
business "Tripodics" when I filled out the DBA forms for the County.
Aristotle's quote, on Tripodics letterhead, still hangs on the office 
wall and appeared in many of my fliers.

I went on a leave of absence from BNL in 1980, in order to continue 
doing research with a colleauge who had left the lab and started 
his own company.  The company, called "American Science, Energy, 
and Environment, Inc." was incorporated in California, and we 
intended to move there after completing our contracts with White
Sands Missle Range for further work on smokescreen & turbulence.
We did, but Ron managed to run the company into the ground in a 
little over two years.  It was a very costly yet extremely valuable 
experience for me.

As an independent consultant (but part of a three-way deal with ASEE),
I went out to the West coast a few times to help a little software 
company with some compiler problems they were having with the new 
Fortran 77 language.  As a principal member of the ANSI X3J3 committee 
that wrote the standard, I was able to straighten them out.  
While there, I also got involved in work on a new operating system 
for Intel 8086 computers.  The company had only 31 employees then.  
In fact, it wasn't even incorparated, but was merely a State of
Washington Partnership between Paul Allen and Bill Gates.
(You may have heard of him.  :-)  The system  was later named 
MS-DOS.  (More stories from that era abound, but I've veered 
too far off on a tangent already.)

At pizza parties for people leaving BNL, I used to tell them,
"you'd better behave out there in the real world, or they'll
revoke your parole and send you back here".  Well, I'm not
quite sure what I did wrong, but I wound up back here 5 years
ago, after about 10 years on "the outside".  Furthermore, 
I'm now working in High-Energy Physics, which excited me as a 
High School and College student, but which I'd abandoned three
and a half decades ago, even before coming to work at BNL.

After ASEE, Microsoft, and other consulting, I went to a little
company on Long Island where, among other things, I implemented
a software clone of the IBM PC and managed the writing of BIOS
support and drivers for the same MS-DOS whose ontogeny I had
witnessed.  I spent a year or so as Software Manager of a
company called Robotic Vision Systems, Inc., upgrading their
ancient systems to modern-day Unix and instituting "software
reuse" for eye-arm-hand robotic systems that sprayed sealant 
in GM cars, ground submarine propellors, did welding, etc.
Then, I went to Grumman for five years (mostly doing ILS & TPS, 
whatever that is); during the last year of which I was traded
to the Space Division and wound up on project at Brookhaven Lab
(!) as a Guest on a "technology transfer" project, writing a 
control system for a "compact" accelerator to make X-Ray beams 
for manufacturing sub-micro-miniaturized circuit chips.  

When that project was scrubbed (by DARPA), instead of transferring
BNL technology to Grumman it resulted more in transferring employees 
to Brookhaven.  I became software architect for the control system 
of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, which will soon (1999) smash 
stripped Gold nuclei into one another to produce a fifth state of 
matter known as a "Quark-Gluon" plasma -- just like they had back 
then, a few nanoseconds after the Big Bang.  It's fun, but since 
the Conceptual Design was completed 4 years ago, it's been mostly 
routine software engineering -- and I've gotten somewhat bored.

DISTRACTIONS (What else I'm doing now.)
During the past two years, I've had two other distractions 
(besides family, two pre-teeners, LP activism, foreign travel, etc.).

1.  We began a modest, sideline business.  It's totally
non-technical, and involves what's awkwardly called
"multi-level marketing" but, unlike most MLMs, we have
thousands of products and operate in many countries.

2.  Recently, I decided to do some writing.
(And, to be honest, I'm using email and posting to do some practicing.)  
I've done a lot of techinical writing, but this kind of writing is
much more fun.  I found some old essays and stories, and decided to 
try to put them into shape and try to get them published.  That led me 
to putting together an unusual plot for a science fiction novel, which 
is now well underway but will probably take me at least 3 years to finish 
(if ever).  More or less as a spinoff from the first two, I started writing 
down some old and new ideas, in the form of essays (of about 2 pages each).
For want of a better term, one might call them "musings".  (I have some
better terms, which I've saved for section headings of what might someday 
become a collection.)  Many of these deal with coincidences and ironies 
in nature, in life, in fact, and even in politics.  I guess I'm being 
rather vague, but the thread weaving them together is even vaguer.  

I'd be delighted if you'd accept my offer to send a few of these to you 
for your perusal -- of course, with no obligation for your reply.

I shan't bore you with a long resume of LP activism.
(Surely you've seen many LP vitae, but few could match yours.)

There is however one current activity about which I am very excited, 
and which I'd like to share just a bit.  After an abortive attempt
to do something like it at the state level (where sloth and excusitis
comes second only to back-biting and philosophising), I've gotten the 
local County chapter to sign on to an idea for a different approach 
to the electoral process than we'd taken previously.  I'd very much 
like to know what you think of it.

I've taken the liberty of sending a separate email message about it.

You were kind enough not to ask why a libertarian has an email
address that ends in ".gov".  Yes, BNL is federally funded.
(By the Atomic Energy Commission when I first arrived; by 
the Department of Energy, now.)  I am employed by a private,
but not-for-profit consortium known as Associated universities,
Inc., which is gets a contract from the Feds to run this (and
another) laboratory.  Grumman was a private, tried-but-failed-
to-make-profit corporation, but virtually all of their income 
also came from the Feds (DoD).

I've never hidden my opinion that work done by these labs should
be paid for by its beneficiaries in industry, and that the private
labs (like Bell, Xerox, etc.) have a better track record in terms
of discoveries-per-buck.  Long ago, this was just a weird, oddball
opinion of one lone kook.  Today, words like "privatization" are
actually found in magazines with circulations over 10,000 and
even talked about in connection with the Energy labs and others.

At first, I thought I should leave BNL for reasons of principle.
Perhaps I should have.  My rationalizations were that the Feds
have a complete monopoly on scientific activity in most of Physics
(and in many other fields), so that one's choices are limited
to doing that work at a government-funded facility or not doing
that kind of work.

Still, there are no non-government places to do certain work like 
writing control systems for particle accelerators or analyzing data 
from high energy events.

The situation, alas, is similar for teachers.  I sent both kids to a
Montessori school, and served as a Trustee.  They went to Long Island 
School for the Gifted [Daddy-brag] for a few years, but beyond about 
5th grade there isn't much choice around here.  Now, with my kids in 
the government schools (I refuse to call them "public"), my wife and 
I got ourselves appointed to some committees (and therefore on the LP 
"officeholders" list), where we can have some effect on governance.  
In fact, I've found that there quite a bit more can be done than I 
had expected! (I also got some good advice from Andre Marrou when 
I first got appointed, and have made good use of it.)

I shall put a batch together,
and send you email when they're in shape to send.

Thanks for listening.  (Bruce A. Martin)   BAM, master of the Hephaestian tripods. /|\
Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider  ^^^ [Whereas my opinions are my property, ]
911C / Brookhaven National Lab.  ~o~ [they neither belong to nor represent ]
Upton, NY 11973  (516) 282-5647  /|\ [employers, customers, or anyone else!]

#include  //Don't blame me; I voted Libertarian! (800)682-1776
#define  deficit_reduction   $1.0E12 in NEW deficits!  /* Newspeak-94 */