Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

A Long and Productive Career: Franklin M. Henry - Scientist, Mentor, Pioneer

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

A Long and Productive Career: Franklin M. Henry - Scientist, Mentor, Pioneer

Article excerpt

The Setting

The occupant of the large and disordered office looked down at his watch. It was nearing 4:00 p.m.--time to leave for home. The working day, which had begun shortly after 10:00 a.m., had been pleasantly productive. Progress was made on the motor memory trace and control program manuscript, and lunch with a longtime friend and university colleague had included spirited conversation about both the philosophy of science and the role of statistical methods in the interpretation of observable data.(1) A little over five hours might seem a short day for a professor at a major university, but it was not a bad effort for someone who had been retired for more than a decade.

As he gathered his belongings, the occupant glanced at the mountains of journals, reprints, letters, memoranda, and other papers that obliterate the surface of the large, old-fashioned desk. There was a time--much to the amazement of students and colleagues--when he could extend a hand into the recesses of the vast mound and extract from it precisely the item wanted. On a shelf of the glass-front bookcase reposes a beautiful Mosso ergograph with padded arm-rest and brass fittings. In how many fatigue studies had it figured? In the far corner, now sporting a thin layer of dust, stand a Shelby Traveler and a Zephyr--the latter still bearing its 1959 City of Oakland bicycle license. Each has been securely mounted in a frame made of two-inch angle irons and converted into a bicycle ergometer.(2) In another corner, a shaft of late afternoon sunlight falls on a stabilometer. Behind, in the shadows, is a strange appearing contraption looking like something out of a Rube Goldberg cartoon. Looks can be deceiving! The Kinesthesiometer has figured prominently in several studies of "the ability of a subject to reproduce a tension or pressure, or to reproduce an angular limb movement, or to reproduce a limb position without the cues of tension or amount of movement."(3)

On the top of a five-drawer filing cabinet next to the windows is a cardboard box containing two kymograph drums and a package of kymograph paper from the Central Scientific Company; neither has been used for decades. Behind the box, a copy of Handbook of Human Engineering Data (2nd ed., 1951), prepared by Tufts College Institute for Applied Experimental Psychology, rests on top of a Braun-Knecht-Heiman Company Catalog of Laboratory Supplies for Chemistry, Metallurgy, Biology. The bottom file drawer is filled with assorted ship curves, triangles, and T-squares, a polished wooden box containing a Keuffel and Esser Leroy lettering set with templates and assorted pens, vials of waterproof black drawing ink, and all the other paraphernalia that scientists once needed to produce by hand the charts, tables, and graphs that modern computers now do with such ease. At the very back of the drawer is a Holophane Lightmeter for measuring coefficients of reflection, lamberts (units of brightness), and the like.(4)

Scattered amongst desk drawers and filing cabinets are micrometers, C-clamps, calipers, microswitches, stocks of brass and steel of various sizes, and soldering irons. In a left-hand drawer of the large desk, a Commodore electronic pocket calculator rests next to several slide rules. Partially empty pouches of tobacco and two well-worn pipes, their bowls encrusted with dottle and char, are tucked away. An old briefcase with one broken strap leans against the desk chair.

Numerous other filing cabinets that consume a good portion of the room are crammed with drafts of manuscripts, reprints, reports, sheets of graph paper covered with plotted data, and reams of plain paper upon which coefficients of correlation and other statistical measures have been worked out in great detail. (The calculations were done with a slide rule--later a Monroe calculator affectionately known as "Old Betsy.") Others contain Bulletins of the American College of Sports Medicine, and minutes and reports of meetings of the AAHPER Research Council and the Research Quarterly Advisory Committee dating from the 1940s, the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA), American Academy of Physical Education, and other professional organizations. …

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