TAPE 1, SIDE 1
MR. MARTIN COLLINS: We like to begin our interviews with a little biographical sketch, to look at your family life and your education, before we move on to the substantive portion of your career. To begin, could you tell us where and when you were born?
DR. GEORGE MUELLER: I was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 16, 1918.
COLLINS: Could you give us some background on your parents' occupations and where they came from?
MUELLER: Let's see. My mother came from Belleville, Illinois, and she was at one time a secretary, but she never worked after she was married. Tradition at that time said women didn't work. They raised children. And my father was an electrical contractor, actually superintendent of an electrical motor repair shop in St. Louis, Missouri. He was the son of a carpenter, I think more properly a cooper who made barrels, and this was during the era of Prohibition. So he was making barrels for the home-brewing activities that were going on, and I have some of them still from my grandfather's work, here in Santa Barbara now, along with some of his tools. My father was quite a good handicrafter and did a fair amount of work at home on things such as ironwork--the utensils we had for the fireplace were made by him--and as well as being one of the leading practicing electricians in St. Louis.
COLLINS: This is your grandfather?
MUELLER: No, this is my father. My grandfather was a cooper who was unemployed as a result of Prohibition and then became self-employed, building kegs. He was also quite good at handicrafts. My mother's family continued to live in Belleville, and some of my cousins still live there. They're fairly typical of the Middlewest, stable and tied to a particular location. The work that my father did was fairly widely diversified. He built some of the first crystal radios, really from nothing, using galena crystals for a base, and as a matter of fact, somewhere I have one of his early ones that was built into a watch case, which was the first miniature radio that I had seen. But he built a number of them using these newfangled tubes and made available some of the parts to me, too, so that while I was growing up, I worked in radio, built a couple of radios. This was back in about 1928, I guess, '27, that time frame. And as well as doing a fair amount of woodworking, my grandfather helped me build my first model ship that wasn't very good--it capsized fairly readily--so then I got some plans and carved out a model ship. I guess about the time I was 11 or 12, I was building both model ships and model aircraft, spent a fair amount of time flying gliders and rubber band model airplanes and so on.
COLLINS: Were you a reader of various boys' magazines or hobby magazines to get designs for these models?
MUELLER: Primarily, in that time frame, there were not magazines. Well, we had a lot of magazines, but not Popular Mechanics and things of that sort. Hugo Gernsback, in his magazines, was one of the magazines that I used for the radio, that was way back then, and I don't believe I have any of them left, but that was the bible for amateur radio builders at that time. In terms of the airplanes, we bought kits at first, and then from there we went on into designing them. There was a model airplane club at school that really served as the source of such information. You know, this was in the days when they still had substantial part of the curriculum in elementary school devoted to shopwork, learning how to use lathes and woodworking and so on. That was one of the traditional ways that one got involved in things like model building, although in the case of the boats, we bought a set of plans and I worked from the plans.
COLLINS: I know in that period it was very popular to hold competitions with model airplanes. Did you ever get involved in those?
MUELLER: Oh yes. We were flying down at the YMCA, had a huge gymnasium, which is incidentally where I learned to swim. But the competitions were held there, and so you were flying your airplane against a whole bunch of other people, and I wasn't all that good at aircraft design. But it did start me on a road that, when I eventually went to college, I started out to be an aeronautical engineer. Only I discovered that where I could go to school, which was the Rolla School of Mines and Metallurgy, at that time really didn't have any aeronautical engineering. They had mechanical engineering. And so I started as a mechanical engineer, and that finally was discouraging. By the middle of the first year, I was getting into careful designing to three decimal places and multiplying the results by four to be safe, and that didn't seem to me to make very much sense, so I switched over to electrical engineering, where at least you didn't have to have a safety factor of four in the design process.
COLLINS: Let's go back a little bit. In terms of building the radios and building the model aircraft and boats, was it the process of construction, or were there thoughts about understanding the principles involved in what made an airplane fly or a radio work? What do you think your interest in that was, as well as you can define it at that young age?
MUELLER: Well, I've always been curious about how things worked or why they worked, but I must admit that I had only the vaguest ideas of what a radio wave was. I learned a good deal about propagation just from listening, but it's hard to really believe it, but at that time there was really very little solid knowledge about the whole technical basis, scientific basis for much of the work that was done in those early days, so it was more a sort of an art than a science, and it wasn't until I went away to Bell Laboratories that I really began to understand--well, that isn't true, but I really understood the propagation wave characteristics from working with the people at Holmdahl. So when you think back that far, and think of my state of knowledge at the time, you find that you really don't have the kind of technical information available that would permit you to understand in some depth what was really occurring. It just didn't exist.
COLLINS: Would your father basically just let you rummage around in his work area, or did he sit down and sort of tutor you a little bit on your work with electrical equipment?
MUELLER: Well, you know, I was thinking about that in terms of my own boy now. Actually, there wasn't any formal tutoring, but I did spend a great deal of time watching him work and seeing what he did. I had my own small work bench set up, so he had a big work bench and I had a small work bench, and I worked at my area and he worked in his area, but most of the learning was all from just watching and experimenting with things. Now, he did give me a great deal of freedom in the use of his tools and the use of his shop, and as a consequence I was able to do a number of things that most kids didn't have an opportunity to do because they didn't have the tools and things to do them with.
COLLINS: Just to backtrack a little, was your father an independent contractor or did he work for another contractor or company?
MUELLER: He worked for a company. We were, I guess, the largest motor repair shop in St. Louis, so they rebuilt the very large motors that air conditioning systems used, the cooler and so on. They normally worked with motors that were 50 to 500 horsepower or more, very large machines, and in that time frame, and still today, it was economic to repair them rather than to try to throw them away and buy a new one.
COLLINS: Was the business activity of this company hampered a great deal by the Depression?
MUELLER: Oh, yes. But conversely, they did reasonably well during the Depression time because people were repairing things and making do rather than buying new, so there wasn't a great deal of capital investment in new facilities. So the old facilities had to work, and they were in a position of being able to fix them so they'd run again.
COLLINS: So your father was steadily employed throughout that period.
MUELLER: Yes. And that was very fortunate for us. But he was rather underpaid during the period because everybody took cuts in salaries.
COLLINS: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
MUELLER: I have one brother, who is down in Baton Rouge. He's a chemical engineer, and that's the extent of the close family.
COLLINS: He's older or younger?
MUELLER: He's younger, about four years younger.
COLLINS: His names is?
MUELLER: Jack. John David.
COLLINS: During this early period you certainly developed some very strong hobby interests. What were things like in school for you, say the beginning of elementary school, which I assume was fairly typical of Midwest public school education?
MUELLER: Yes. I think that's right. I was inclined towards science, and spent--so in elementary school, you didn't have much choice in terms of what you took, but I guess in retrospect it was a reasonably good basic education in terms of learning to read and write, do arithmetic, and that becomes essential, something we forgot for a period of time and now have re- instituted a bit. My mother was most insistent on doing well in school, so it was just the norm that I was supposed to do very well in school, and so I learned how to study at an early age and learned how to read at an early age and read vociferously, I would say.
COLLINS: What kinds of things were you reading in this period?
MUELLER: Oh, mostly Westerns and science fiction and things of that sort. I started reading science fiction, I guess, when I was about 8. Oh well, the early stories, things like Dick Sands and whatever, a whole host of the books that really provided the background for many people in that time frame in terms of their precepts of what was good, new, and wonderful.
COLLINS: Right. You did previously mention Gernsback, the editor of Amazing Stories.
MUELLER: Right. But he also had some radio magazines at the time, as well. Yes, I read Amazing Stories, Astounding Stories,and so on.
COLLINS: You mentioned you joined a club. Was this in the junior high school period or high school or when did that happen?
MUELLER: Which club?
COLLINS: The aircraft.
MUELLER: Oh, that was in grade school. Much of my model aircraft work was done in grade school. When I got to high school, I was much more interested in radio and science and playing tennis than I was in model airplanes, for some reason.
COLLINS: Is there anything noteworthy about your junior high school education?
MUELLER: There wasn't a junior high school at the time. Well, no, that isn't quite true, because I went through the 8th grade at Benton School in St. Louis. At that time we moved from town itself to the county. They kind of had a different curriculum, and I went to junior high school there for one year, graduated from junior high school out there. I don't have a very good recollection of that year, other than the fact that I went to the junior prom, I guess it was, that was associated with graduating from junior high school. That was one of the more miserable occasions of life. You know, you usually forget them, but that one stuck in my mind. But I have relatively little recollection of what subjects I covered at that time and what was involved. Actually, I was commuting from St. Louis to Normandy High School for a while, so that, because we were in the midst of building a house and it didn't get finished in time, for a while I was riding the street cars every morning and every evening to get to school. That slows you down no end in terms of doing extracurricular activities.
COLLINS: Was there any particular reason for the move from St. Louis to another area?
MUELLER: Well, we moved from a relatively small house on St. Louis Avenue to a relatively large house in the country, in a place called Bel Nor outside of St. Louis. It was a new development at that time, halfway to the airport. Oh yes, that reminds me. Roughly about that time was when I had my first airplane ride. My father decided that he wanted to go ride in an airplane, so they had one of the sightseeing tour planes that went up and came down. This was an open cockpit. You wore a helmet and goggles and all that. So he decided to let me go flying around to see what an airplane ride was like. It was exciting, but I must say that it wasn't one of those things that I thought I would want to spend my life doing, particularly. But it was part of growing up in that time frame.
COLLINS: Sure. And by this time, your interest in model aircraft had diminished somewhat.
MUELLER: Right. I got more interested in real aircraft that one could ride in.
COLLINS: Did you follow through on this experience in any way, or was it just kind of a long shot
MUELLER: More or less a unique event.
COLLINS: As you moved into Normandy High School, this was again a public high school?
MUELLER: Yes. I was in public schools all the way through. I was just thinking back, when you think about what shapes your life, probably, you know, it was funny--in retrospect, I must have been very busy indeed during that growing up period, because not only did I manage to build airplanes and ships and radios, but I also spent a goodly part of each summer with friends down in the Ozarks hunting, fishing, swimming, in swimming holes, and the particular friend, Heidi's, where they ran a flour mill down there. So I also had an opportunity to wander through and see the elevators and the granaries and the pulverizers and all those other nice things working, working away, producing flour out of the wheat that was grown down in that Ozark area.
COLLINS: You were staying with family friends, or you went to camp?
MUELLER: They were family friends. So I would go down there and spend a couple of months every summer living with them, and we often also went hunting and fishing with them. One summer I remember spending a month with my mother and my father commuting from St. Louis down to the farm where we were staying, and we were fishing, swimming, hunting, doing all those nice things down there.
COLLINS: Was that your first exposure to these kinds of outdoor activities?
MUELLER: Well, I guess I grew up more or less in that kind of an environment. My dad liked to hunt, liked to fish. One time with some friends, we owned a clubhouse, they called it, not a club but a clubhouse on the Mississipi, rather the Missouri River just before it joined the Mississippi, and we used that for fishing and, not hunting but fishing. It was that time that my folks decided that I ought to have a horse or a pony, so they bought a pony, and I never did learn to ride that pony. But it cured me of wanting to. The pony tended to have a stronger will than I had at the time. He would run away with me periodically.
COLLINS: Would your brother accompany you on these summer trips down to the Ozarks?
MUELLER: No, as a matter of fact, I was almost always on my own down there, with Bill Heidi. Jack was sufficiently younger so that an age gap was a problem, and I don't remember that he ever went along on one of those summer vacations. Oh, of course, he went along when we were fishing or hunting but not when we were visiting.
COLLINS: Well, let's move into the high school period, then. We're ready to begin looking at your later education, your high school and undergraduate careers. You made the transition from going to grade school in St. Louis. You moved outside of St. Louis and were attending Normandy High School. Is that correct?
MUELLER: Yes. A very interesting time, in a sense, because here you're going through the teenage years. I was very young for my class. Let's see, that's when I learned to bicycle well. I'd bicycle into high school. It was five miles away, I guess, and maybe not that far, but it seemed like five and I think it was. So that was the best way of transportation, other than a car pool, which was always hard to manage to get to work properly because my mother never learned to drive. She depended upon other people to drive her wherever she went for whatever she did. That's where I got introduced to chemistry and physics and a fairly, reasonably good math background as well, and it was a time when we were, being a teenager is always a problem, I discovered, since we have a teenage son now, and a teenage daughter, and you're beginning to form some habits that will persist. I spent a good deal of time taking extra courses. That was a practice I started in high school in order to be able to get a better--well, a better background. I was entranced and have been entranced with learning. That's always something that one wants to do, is to learn more about things, how they work, what they do, why they are, and so on. Beginning -- oh heavens, I guess beginning when I was about eight, I began to read, as I said earlier, and it was at that time I began the transition from Westerns and science fiction into more serious literature, and I used to read a book a night, or several books a night, when I was growing up.
COLLINS: You say serious literature. Are you thinking of any particular categories of reading?
MUELLER: Well, you know, you're introduced to English literature, and its background and so on, and so I started reading it. At one time I got interested in the Bible, and I read it for about a week. Two weeks, I guess, it took to read that. It's a little hard going in the King James version. And I read most of Shakespeare and really found it a fascinating byproduct, but I had a chemistry teacher who was a lady, which was unusual in that time frame at high school, and she spent a fair amount of time with the class trying to build an understanding of social problems as well as chemistry problems. She was probably one of the early Socialists in our environment, although they weren't very popular at that point in time, but they were, that was one of the things that was going on in that school. I got involved with the physics teacher, who was a man, and I learned, I really got excited about physics at that time, probably didn't learn all that much but learned enough to be really interested in it. I have always been interested in basic physical phenomena, what goes on in nature, as it were.
COLLINS: You mentioned you were very devoted to your studies and took additional courses. Most high schools, chemistry is usually a one year series of courses. Physics is the same. Were there additional courses in scientific subjects that you could take?
MUELLER: There were elective courses in math, not in physics or chemistry. By the time you got through biology and chemistry and physics, you were out of high school--unfortunately or fortunately, as the case may be. Biology did not turn me on. It was simply a matter of memorizing a whole set of names which had very little relationship, as far as I could tell, to the world in which we lived. But the math courses were interesting and quite good, as it turns out. And then there was learning how to get along in social activities. I was writing for the school newspaper, wrote a column on current events, and played on the tennis team, and really never turned out to be a very good tennis player but good enough to make the team and play in various tournaments around my state.
COLLINS: Could you tell me a little bit more about your work on the newspaper and your interest in current events?
MUELLER: Well, I guess that it started as an adjunct to the English courses, but I got interested in newspaper writing and seeing whether I could do something constructive. The current events at that time were not all that exciting because it was in a period of relative tranquillity. But then I did manage to write a fair amount about what was going on in the world at the time, and tried to put it in high school perspective, or at least my perspective on what high school students ought to be interested in, and I would say that's considerably different than high school interests are today. It was a fairly serious newspaper, in the sense that it wasn't one of these far out kinds of things. Oh, of course I helped publish the paper and things like that, too. One always does that in high school.
COLLINS: Was this activity on the newspaper a development of a new kind of interest or sensibility on your part, or was this broad ranging interest in current events something you'd begun before?
MUELLER: Well, I guess it started earlier. I've always been sensitive to the external world, if you will. Of course, in this case, the motivation was an English teacher, who tried to get the students involved in doing something useful, and you know, teachers do have a very important role in forming people's characters, maybe one way or another, and I was fortunate in having a series of very good teachers at that time.
COLLINS: Who would you single out as being important?
MUELLER: Don't ask me their names.
COLLINS: No, but I mean their subject areas.
MUELLER: Well, chemistry, physics, English, math were the four major things that I recall. Again, they still were doing shop in high school. Well, I guess they do here, too. But that was an important activity.
COLLINS: So you were continuing to take shop courses as a high school student?
MUELLER: I took one or two such courses, yes. But then tennis began to interfere and other things did, and publishing papers and things of that sort.
COLLINS: Going back to your chemistry teacher for a moment, you mentioned that she had some fairly pronounced views about the world. Did she convey these in class as part of her lectures, or was this something that you picked up from her outside of the classroom?
MUELLER: It was more outside of the classroom. She had meetings with students at her house and elsewhere. I only went to one or two of them, but they were discussing world topics and the place of the United States in the world. You know, at that time I had no idea of Socialism at all, really, other than the fact that the Russians were practicing it, and there was a groundswell--this was the Depression years--of Socialism sweeping the whole world and this being the cure for capitalistic problems, and that was an interesting set of discussions. I don't know whether I read Marx at that time or not, but I might have. It was a time of great interest in peace and how one could preserve peace for all time, very much like the period right now, when people were all talking about peace, and disarmament was high on the agenda of everybody, and how can we get rid of this need for war, warfare.
COLLINS: Did you discuss these kinds of questions with your parents at the time?
MUELLER: Not with my parents. That was not something one really talked about at home. But one did with one's compatriots at school, and to some extent in this case, the chemistry teacher led such discussions.
COLLINS: During this period, you seem to have a very active life both in terms of course work and extracurricular activities. Were you beginning to discuss with your parents what you might be doing beyond high school? How did you begin to make a decision about proceeding on to college?
MUELLER: Well, there was a lot of discussion at that time. To go back, my father had finished high school and so had my mother, which was, to some extent, unusual in that time frame for many people. But my mother, at least, was convinced that it was essential to have a college education, so it was uppermost in her mind that her sons ought to go off and get educated at least through a college level. It's hard to remember, but if you think back, at that time it was when they were going through school, they were still teaching German in school as a second language. As in the case of Belleville, it was a first language, so the schools there were based more or less on the European tradition of how one gets educated. It was in a transitional phase after the First World War that I grew up, between the end of the First World War and the beginning of the Second World War, because my college education ended at about the time, or at least the first part of my college education ended about the time the Second World War started, so I grew up in the interim between two major wars. And world tensions were building up at that time, and there were really considerable tensions within the academic community, and this influenced people. And it was probably one of the reasons my mother thought it was important for me to go on to college and important for my brother also. Yet, the circumstances were such that our family was well off compared to many people but still poor in terms of our present set of precepts, and so the number of colleges available to me was limited. I applied for a series of scholarships, and yet the demand for them was so large and our financial situation as a family--although I wasn't really aware of that overtly at the time--was such that scholarships were limited to those who really couldn't afford to do anything in supporting children going to college. As a matter of fact, I did get a couple of scholarships, but they were out of town. One was at VPI, as a matter of fact. Offers of scholarships, I should say. And eventually I decided that I would probably be better off going to Rolla School of Mines because it had a good reputation in Missouri, and it was the least expensive engineering school around.
TAPE 1, SIDE 2
COLLINS: So you reached a decision about attending school in Missouri.
MUELLER: More nearly on an economic basis than on any other basis.
COLLINS: You mentioned VPI as a possibility. What other out of state schools or other schools did you apply to?
MUELLER: I must have applied to a dozen or so and generally was accepted, but I was applying for scholarships, and I think I got two scholarships. I can't remember where the second one was.
COLLINS: Did any of your teachers assist you in this process of filing out applications and thinking about where to go to college and that sort of thing?
MUELLER: Well, they helped in terms of thinking about where to go to college, but in terms of filling out applications, no. It wasn't part of their chores. They served as references, of course. And actually in one sense, the choice of Rolla was not a bad one, because it was close enough to home so that you could still maintain contacts, and on the other hand, it was far enough away so you were really on your own. When I went there, my parents took me down. We went around and looked for places to stay and ended up staying at the house of Professor Bradley, who was, I think, a brother of Omar Bradley of the Army. At that time that didn't mean anything, but he was the English teacher at Rolla, and he let out rooms to students. He had an upstairs and a downstairs to his house and the upstairs had two bedrooms, and so he let those out to students. Faculty at that time was not paid very well. In fact, when I was teaching at Ohio State, we weren't paid very well either. So he was supplementing his income. It turned out to be a very good arrangement. I spent all four years living there and enjoyed it very much indeed.
COLLINS: Was your father interested in seeing you proceed on to college, or did he have any interest in having you join in what he was doing?
MUELLER: No, he, I think he was fully in sympathy with going on to college because he had enough understanding of the world which we were moving into to recognize that a further education was going to be very useful indeed.
COLLINS: The mining school at Rolla, is it part of the University of Missouri system? How did that work?
MUELLER: It is now the University of Missouri at Rolla. It was an independent engineering school set up by the University. It was an adjunct or associate of the University of Missouri. At that time it was like the Colorado School of Mines and so on. They were land grant college set up to further the development of the land in various ways. Rolla was actually one of the leading mining schools in the country. It and Colorado School of Mines were probably the two best around. And Rolla had developed a fairly good engineering school actually for the time. I must say, it wasn't as good as that at Purdue, but it was better than the University of Missouri's engineering school.
COLLINS: Were you aware of this at the time? Was it a factor in your decision to go there rather than, say, University of Missouri proper?
MUELLER: Yes. Sure. It was fairly well acknowledged that the engineering school was Rolla, very much as Purdue is the engineering school in Indiana.
COLLINS: Let's talk a little bit about, you mentioned your living situation there, what was your course work like? How did your thoughts develop about the course that you wanted to pursue?
MUELLER: Well, as I say, I started out to be an aeronautical engineer, but they didn't have aeronautical engineering at the school. So on the advice of the admissions group, why, I settled on becoming a mechanical engineer with an aeronautical option. And then I spent a year being a mechanical engineer and decided that that was less than satisfactory in terms of its level of technology, if you will, and switched to electrical engineering. Spent the rest of the time in electrical engineering, although about my junior year, I became more interested in physics. But they really didn't have a degree granting capability in physics, so I stayed with electrical engineering but took a number of physics courses as electives.
COLLINS: What aspects of physics interested you?
MUELLER: I was, at that time, trying to set up an electron tube facility there for building electron tubes. I got interested in magnetrons at that time, actually, and did some work on trying to duplicate the work of Cleeton and Williams at Michigan. But boy, we didn't have the equipment to begin to do that work, actually, and I was not, didn't know enough about technology to be able to set it up on my own. At least I didn't spend the time necessary to do so.
COLLINS: Was magnetron technology and theory part of the curriculum then?
MUELLER: Yes. It was taught in physics. It wasn't until I got to Bell Labs that I really had the facilities and capability of doing something about it, but I worked on some fairly advanced concepts there. There was a professor who was introducing the idea of vector theory to electrical engineering at the time. He was a leader in that matrix kind of calculations, and I got involved in that and learned how to do Kirchoff equations in matrix form instead of in the conventional algebraic form that they were then customarily using. I generally went through not only the regular electrical engineering curriculum but also a fair part of the courses that were offered in physics. In doing so, I was taking a fairly heavy course load. I remember the end of my ,I guess, the first semester in senior year or the last semester in junior year I was taking 36 course hours, which made a fairly heavy course load.
COLLINS: That's a substantial number of course hours. What age were you when you went to the engineering school?
MUELLER: You mean starting in?
COLLINS: Starting in.
MUELLER: I was 16.
COLLINS: So you were a little bit younger than your other classmates.
COLLINS: Had you been moved ahead a grade in grade school or high school?
MUELLER: Yes, I skipped in grade school, and I started out fairly young as well.
COLLINS: In high school you had a fairly varied curriculum. Did you continue to take courses in chemistry, dabble any further in English, or did your studies become more focused?
MUELLER: You had to dabble in English. But I became much more interested in the engineering aspects of things at that time, and scientific aspects, so I spent much more time in that arena than I did in things like history and English, although one thing one can say about Rolla is that they insist on a fairly broad background of education. So I was taking French and German as well, in preparation for a PhD. And I actually started out with French in high school, continued it in college, and then added German to it.
COLLINS: You mentioned that Belleville had a very strong German tradition. Was German spoken in your home?
MUELLER: No. My parents used German whenever they didn't want us to know what they were talking about. But about the time I was born, it was unpopular to be German, and so they gave up speaking German in the home. And I never did really develop an ear for German. I can't speak it or understand it.
COLLINS: Also, comparing high school to your undergraduate years, in high school you had several extracurricular activities. Did you continue this kind of interest once you got to Rolla?
MUELLER: Well, yes. I didn't get into writing for the school newspaper. I joined a church at that time and sang in the choir and, as I said, played on the tennis team. I used to get up at 6 o'clock in the morning to go off and play tennis before classes started. And I guess, to be factual, it wasn't so much because of the interest in religion. It was rather because the church had the largest number of girls in the Rolla community there, and that was the best social gathering place in town. And I actually taught Sunday School there as well. This was a Methodist Church. I must say my background in terms of religious activities has been pretty varied. I said I read the Bible one period, but my mother was at one time a devout Christian Scientist, and so I grew up in the Christian Science church, going to Sunday School there and so on, and then she got involved in the Unitarians. My father never, hardly ever, went to church of any sort. He was a Mason, and he believed that the Masonic Order provided all the philosophical guidance one needed in life.
COLLINS: So it's a very mixed kind of group of philosophies there.
MUELLER: Yes, indeed. And eventually I reached the conclusion that all religions were right, and one therefore ought not to argue about which one one belonged to, but one ought to belong to one or another of the set. Too many wars are fought over very small differences of opinion about what constitutes the correct way to live one's life. And not enough time is spent on finding out what the really important things are in order to survive as a race.
COLLINS: Earlier you mentioned that part of your mother's interest in seeing you go on to college was that you develop a sensitivity to broader social and world issues. I assume this stemmed in part then from her interest in Christian Science.
MUELLER: Yes. She was always a devout person, but devout in a more general way. She switched religions, is what I'm saying. She grew up as a Catholic and in a Catholic household and then became a Protestant and eventually ended up in the Unity Church, which is an adjunct of Protestantism. So it was interesting religious background.
COLLINS: So the school at Rolla was an all male school or was it coeducational?
MUELLER: Well, it was, in practice, male. In principle it was coeducational, and I think that one of the profs had two of his daughters go through, and there was another prof who had one of his daughters go through, so there were three girls in the class. So it was hardly coeducational as we now think of it.
COLLINS: Did the community of Rolla differ from areas where you had grown up and gone to high school?
MUELLER: Yes, I grew up in the city, and Rolla, of course, was a very small town. But I was not too surprised because of my summers down in Cape Girardeau, and so I was accustomed to small town living as well. The city of Rolla at that time was very small, centered on the university, most of its activities. There wasn't a large commercial activity of any sort that I recall in the town. So it tended to have learned to live with the student body, and vice versa. It was a very fine place to get an education. I guess my only real problem with it has been that the staff itself was behind the times. It's interesting that Ray Bisplinghoff, with whom I worked at NASA, for example, went back to be chancellor on the campus for a while. So it's had infusions of technical competence over time. And, in fact, the profs there at that time were quite, I'll say reasonably competent. But they were dealing with a situation where the amount of money available for equipment was limited, and some of the professors--tenure worked at that time just as it does now--were educated in a period long before modern technology had come into play, what was then modern technology, and were not translating into the modern world very rapidly. They were still back in the horse and buggy days, to some large degree.
COLLINS: Were you aware of this at the time when you were a student?
MUELLER: To some extent, yes. That's why I switched over to physics where there was a more exciting potential, at least from my point of view. Although the electrical engineering department was quite progressive. Really the reason I switched out of mechanical engineering to electrical was because the people there were still back in the early Ford days.
COLLINS: So was there a sense then on your part that your professors in electrical engineering and physics had some knowledge of contemporary developments?
MUELLER: Sure. But their curriculum wasn't set up to exploit that, so you had to work with them outside of the curriculum in order to get an education, if you will. But they were busily innovating and moving ahead. I think that any of these smaller schools have a real problem in attracting the top-flight talent in the country and retaining it, so that's one of the problems that you have in going to a small school. You just can't get the kind of people who are going to be the intellectual leaders of the nation.
COLLINS: In pursuing your studies, did you find that you were more attracted to hands-on laboratory work, or were you more interested in theoretical constructs?
MUELLER: I guess I've always been more interested in applications than I have been in theory. And if you look at my career, you'll see that pattern. But that's probably just because I started out with a hands-on kind of capability, and it's always been something that I have pursued. Although I have done some theoretical work, it's almost always been tied into applied physics, for example.
COLLINS: Applied physics was the interest you were developing at that time.
COLLINS: As someone who had had a strong tradition at home of working with radios and doing handiwork, did you find a special kind of feeling when you began to do laboratory work? I assume you'd had a minimal laboratory experience in high school. It must have been a large jump for you to do laboratory work in your undergraduate course work.
MUELLER: We had a reasonably good set of facilities in high school as well, reasonably good. Actually, the problem at Rolla was more nearly a lack of modern facilities. They were still back in the motor testing stage, and they really didn't have very much in the way of electronics facilities. In fact, electronics was still a new and wonderful phenomenon at the time. That's why I had so much trouble trying to set up a small tube lab. They had a vacuum pump which had been delivered to the physics department and--I'm trying to remember, I think it was an oil pump type, low pressure pump, vacuum pump, plus an ordinary vacuum mechanical pump, that I was trying to assemble into a pumping station to do some electron tube work. But they didn't have, for example, liquid air so you could make an effective trap, and they didn't have anybody who could do glass blowing. So I was trying to learn how to do glass blowing at the same time I was trying to build this station, and so it was an uphill battle. It took most of a quarter to get the thing assembled to a point where you could even turn it on, and by that time--this was one of those extacurricular lab courses--by that time the course was over, and it was time to go on to something else.
COLLINS: This was a course in which you were kind of given free rein to design a project for yourself.
MUELLER: Sure. Right.
COLLINS: Were you receiving encouragement from, I guess, the presiding professor, or how did that work?
MUELLER: Yes, I had a lot of encouragement, but he'd never built a vacuum station either, so you know, you were reading in a book about how you did it, and I hadn't built one before, never saw one before, so it was a case of the blind leading the blind in this case. But it was an interesting thing, and at least it established for me some feeling about the difficulty of building these marvelous pump stations.
COLLINS: Did you have other opportunities outside your regular course work to pursue ideas that you had?
MUELLER: Well, I spent a good deal of time on this whole thing of vector analysis, which we did both as a formal course, but then as an elective--or, you know, you could do it on your own kind of thing--trying to understand what was involved there. You know, in retrospect, we were just groping around, and I guess what, this was 1938 or '37, and this was when vector analysis was just really being understood in any broad sense. The course had been developed by mathematicians many years earlier, but the application of it to real problems was just coming into being at that time. I had--although I worked a good deal with it, and understood its application to simple things--the full strength of it wasn't apparent at that time. But, anyway, I was busily exploring and trying to understand what was going on and trying to apply it to real practical problems. I think I did several problems at that time. I got interested in television then, too, and began to formulate some ideas about broad band amplifiers, because, of course, I'd been interested in radio and here was a new field, and did some vector analysis on such broad band amplifiers.
COLLINS: You mentioned you sort of made a transition from mechanical engineering to electrical engineering to an interest in physics. Was your interest in physics primarily in electromagnetic theory, or were you interested in some of the developments in atomic theory?
MUELLER: No, at that time I was primarily interested in electromagnetic theory.
COLLINS: So this is how these all kind of came together then.
MUELLER: In fact, statistics and atomic theory were not my strong suits. Statistical mechanics is an area that I have always resisted learning about. I've learned about it, but it's been with, it's been in spite of myself, instead of a tremendous interest in it.
COLLINS: Did you develop close ties with any of your fellow students, or were you kind of pretty much a lone studier during this period?
MUELLER: Well, to some extent, I've always been a loner, if you will, although there was a small group of students that, we worked together in a sense, but never as closely as many of the students did. It's hard to evaluate that because of the perspective. But I've always had a number of acquaintances, I'll say that, but I've tended not to have tremendously close relationships with other students in my career. That isn't quite true. But, for example, I don't know of any of my classmates at Rolla. I haven't followed their careers. I presume they've followed mine to some extent, but we haven't maintained contact over the years at all. It's different at Purdue, where I did form some fairly close friendships, and so on, at Ohio State as well.
COLLINS: So could you give some indication of what professors you found particularly stimulating and important in your thought during this period?
MUELLER: Yes. Now, don't ask me to remember their names. Because I can find them, but--one name, I've been trying to remember the name of the guy who was the expert on, who was introducing the idea of vector analysis to the electrical engineering department, and I've followed his career fairly closely, as a matter of fact. But the head of the physics department was a very interesting person and had a good deal to do with shaping my interest in physics. Professor Frame was running the electrical engineering department, and Lovett was his number two guy. They were both motor engineers although Frame had broadened out into the new field, at that time, of electronics, and he was working hard in that area. He was the one who brought in the vector guy.
COLLINS: We can add the name later on. What did you see yourself working towards, or what did the school think the curriculum was preparing you for?
MUELLER: Working in industry. They were training people to go to work for people like Emerson and General Electric and things of that sort. In fact, I went on a tour to visit various companies in our senior year, visited GE and applied there, visited Emerson, applied there. This was in 1939 just after the first upsurge and then the return of the Depression. '38 was a good year for hiring, and '39 was a disastrous year. And eventually I graduated without a job, surprisingly enough, but then most of the class did, too.
COLLINS: What kind of work did you see yourself doing in industry? Did that become clear in your mind, or was it just that you had a general knowledge that industry would kind of mold you to some specific task?
MUELLER: The latter is what you expected at that time. You didn't go out to change industry. You went out to get yourself a job and have some way of eating in a continuing fashion. Most important when you're coming out of a Great Depression.
COLLINS: So as you were reaching the end of your undergraduate education, you saw yourself moving into industry and not going on to graduate school? How did that--?
MUELLER: Well, that isn't quite true because I applied to several places for graduate school, but in order to go I had to get a fellowship, and that was hard to come by. And as a matter of fact, it wasn't until that summer that I had the offer of a fellowship at Purdue and jumped at the opportunity because it was just exactly what I would have liked to have done in any event.
COLLINS: So your preference at the time was to proceed on to graduate school.
MUELLER : Yes, by all means.
COLLINS: And as a fallback you were investigating job possibilities.
MUELLER: Investigating--searching valiantly for job opportunities. Right.
COLLINS: And you did not receive any tenders of jobs.
MUELLER: I had offers of several fellowships but none to go to work in industry. I'm not sure. It may have been because I didn't look like I was sufficiently part of the mold to fit industrial needs at the moment.
COLLINS: Why is that? I'm not clear why that might be.
MUELLER: Well, I was different, I think, than most of the students there in terms of both the number of courses I was taking and the breadth of the courses. The fact that I was really more research oriented than they would normally have been expecting, I suppose, from an undergraduate just coming out of the School of Mines.
COLLINS: How many more courses, if you can roughly quantify, did you take more than the average or typical student at that time?
MUELLER: Well, I had finished, by the time I left school, I had about half the credits for a Master's degree, would amount to.
COLLINS: Did Rolla offer advanced degrees?
MUELLER: No. But they did have courses which were at advanced levels. The university offered advanced degrees.
COLLINS: The University of Missouri proper.
MUELLER: Yes. And I think that Rolla at that time offered an advanced degree in mining, and in, I don't know that they did in mechanical engineering, but mining was there. They were really preeminent in that field, and I think they had a PhD in mining.
COLLINS: When did you begin, in your undergraduate career, begin to think that you would prefer to go to graduate school rather than seek out employment?
MUELLER: About the time I started.
COLLINS: So your initial goal was to go on to an advanced degree.
COLLINS: As you were a junior or senior, how did you begin to pursue that goal?
MUELLER: I really couldn't. It was more just applying for jobs or scholarships or fellowships. But in terms of a concerted plan of attack, not so.
COLLINS: Where did you think you would like to go as a graduate student? Did you have some strong preferences?
MUELLER: I didn't.
COLLINS: So the decision to go to Purdue was a fortuitous one? Purdue offered a scholarship, and that was the primary incentive. Did you get other offers of scholarships?
MUELLER: Yes, I had--well, none actually at that point in time. I had them after the Purdue offer came through, but people would, they were uncertain as to their funding capabilities. The fellowship at Purdue was actually funded by RCA in a television research group at Purdue. Probably the fellowship from Purdue came about because the head of electrical engineering at Purdue visited a number of campuses in the course of a year. He was an enterprising person, and I would say a very competent person. In any event he came by, and I had met him actually during my senior year there. He came by to see what the students were doing, what they were doing in that department, and for some reason or other he remembered me, and my professor suggested that I might apply at Purdue, as well as elsewhere. And so I did, and he remembered and decided to give me a fellowship. I guess he remembered my struggling with the vacuum system.
TAPE 2, SIDE 1
COLLINS: So you received a fellowship from Purdue. Did this essentially cover all of your expenses?
MUELLER: Yes. As a matter of fact, I ended up saving more money on the fellowship at Purdue than I did the first year of activity at Bell Labs. The salaries were about comparable, the remuneration, the stipend, I think, would be closer to a real description.
COLLINS: Just to go back briefly to the undergraduate period, were you receiving a full scholarship at Rolla?
MUELLER: No. In fact, I never did get a scholarship at Rolla although I applied. I did work part time in grading papers and acting as a student assistant for the last three years I was there.
COLLINS: So did your parents provide some support for you then?
MUELLER: Yes. And I also worked during the summer time, actually for three years at my father's shop, winding coils and re-winding coils and assembling motors and dipping coils and learning how to repair motors, in the summer.
COLLINS: You had a lot of practical experience during your summer months.
COLLINS: Let's talk a little bit about your time at Purdue, then. You seem to be developing some fairly clear interests by this point. What did you see yourself pursuing as a graduate student at Purdue?
MUELLER: Well,I was trying to really develop a background of understanding of physics and math. That was really what I was aiming at at Purdue. But I was employed, or my fellowship was in the television project that they had going on, and they were designing essentially one of the first of the modern television systems. They were building a television transmitter for the campus, and it was the first of the kind that was using all vacuum tubes to produce the pictures. It was the first using a CRT for display purposes. They still had disks that they were using, mechanical disks for scanning. But they were trying to develop an all-electronic approach.
COLLINS: So to your knowledge was RCA funding some of this research work?
MUELLER: It was a funded project by RCA, and the professors there had been working for RCA for some time on various kinds of research projects. Professor Roys was a research professor, only taught an occasional class. Most of it was doing funded research work.
COLLINS: So you became through this fellowship involved with this project.
MUELLER: Yes. I built, designed the first wide band amplifiers for their system. It turns out I had a good deal to learn about wide band amplifier design but, nevertheless, I designed and built some that were fairly wide band for that time frame. I made several units with fairly high performance.
COLLINS: Could you explain a little bit how you went about that? Did you have sufficient theoretical background from your course work, sufficient laboratory experience to pursue something like that, or how much input did you have from your supervising professor?
MUELLER: I was pretty much on my own because, you know, it was a new field, but there was some literature available on it, and I forget which, what the basic design text was. But I really did develop it from really first principles in terms of what I was trying to accomplish, which was a fairly square band. And I didn't invent anything in the process, but I extended the state of the art available at the time fairly substantially.
COLLINS: Is this the project you were working on with Professor Roys or another professor?
MUELLER: Professor Roys. I'm trying to think back now as to what the book was that I used as a text or as a guidance. I don't remember. I guess it was actually not a text at all. It was in the literature in the IRE that was the basis for the design. Because it was, that was a time frame in which wide band amplifiers were just being developed and the principles understood. Basically, they were all originally developed at Bell Laboratories. And so what I was doing was third hand, reproducing some of the work that they had done, although when I got back to Bell Labs, I was probably as far along as they were at that point in time. That's one of the reasons they hired me.
COLLINS: Was there any other industry funding of projects in the electrical engineering department?
MUELLER: Oh yes. They had a vigorous program. They were one of the leading groups in working with high voltage transmissions. They had a high voltage laboratory that was funded by the local power companies. Roys himself was an expert on lightning and had done some work with lightning on aircraft, what you did about it or at least what the effects were, among other things. So it was a very vigorous and very fertile department, and Purdue was one of the leading engineering schools in the country.
COLLINS: Were there similar industrial contacts at Rolla, or was this kind of a new experience for you?
MUELLER: It was a new experience to me. There was no industrial support. That isn't quite true. There was some industrial support for mining at Rolla but none in electrical engineering at that time. That has changed with time, but at that time it was strictly a state school.
COLLINS: Your course work was primarily in physics and mathematics at Purdue?
MUELLER: No, it was mostly electrical engineering. My course work was in electrical engineering. Again I was carrying some extra hours. Normally when you're working on a fellowship, you're limited in the number of hours you can carry. Because I had a half time fellowship which only took 40 or 50 hours a week to do, and--but I was able to stretch their definition so that I was able to complete the course work for a Master's degree in one year rather than two. They had anticipated I would be there for two years.
COLLINS: Did you have teaching or teaching assistant responsibilities?
MUELLER: No. Strictly development of the wide band amplifier.
COLLINS: And were you required to write a thesis?
MUELLER: Yes. And also to have an oral exam, which is now unusual. So I did this thesis on the wide band amplifier, naturally, and the oral exam was pretty wide ranging, however. It covered most of the fundamentals of electrical engineering. Good preparation for a PhD oral.
COLLINS: Is there anything noteworthy about your course work that we should discuss?
MUELLER: Yes, the--one of the interesting things that I got involved in at that point in time was some of the early work on spectral analysis. It was one of those things that was gratuitous. And we had an expert on atomic spectra at Purdue, and so I got interested in it and spent a good bit of time trying to understand what was going on in that transition analysis. And that was a diversion, if you will, but one that was helpful later on in the work I was doing, did eventually do in the physics arena.
COLLINS: Was that in one of your physics courses rather than electrical engineering?
MUELLER: It was physics, yes.
COLLINS: So you completed the course work in approximately half of the usual time.
COLLINS: So you again must have been extremely busy and pretty much plunging ahead with your studies.
COLLINS: Well, here you were exposed to this fairly vital atmosphere at Purdue, marked change from the situation at Rolla. What did you see yourself doing as you moved on from Purdue? Were you preparing to go on for a PhD? Did you want to do it at Purdue? What were your thoughts along those lines?
MUELLER: Actually I wanted to get out into industry and do something useful. At that point in time, I had met a girl that I subsequently married. But I wasn't in any position to support a family, and so I wanted to get a job so I could go on and get married. A driving force when you're young. And that was one driving force. The other was that it was just, it seemed like it was time to go to work now. I guess I was getting tired of school, although I must say that I liked the whole process of learning very much indeed. So I wasn't tired of it in the sense that I wanted to give up learning, but I did want to go out and make some money.
COLLINS: Did you have much contact with your family once you came to Purdue?
MUELLER: I went back, of course, on holidays and kept in quite close contact with them on a regular basis, but I never did go back to live at home after that.
COLLINS: Had your parents encouraged you to go on with graduate education? Did they have strong feelings about it one way or the other?
MUELLER: Oh, my mother at least was enthusiastic about advanced degrees. She thought it was wonderful, and I don't know whether I could have stayed on at Purdue and gotten a PhD or not. Probably so, because they were quite disappointed when they discovered that I was planning to leave at the end of one year.
COLLINS: What was the normal progression--that you were admitted into the graduate program to go forward with the PhD? Was that the expectation when you came in, or was the expectation that you were just going to go for a Master's and then evaluate whether to proceed?
MUELLER: The expectation was that you would go for a Master's and then either evaluate or go somewhere else for a PhD. Fair pressure to vary their students, not to keep them on. Different than it is today where there's a tendency for universities to keep students on to finish their PhD's simply because it's so hard to find students who want to get an advanced degree. At that time, I suppose that there were a lot more students interested in advanced degrees but relatively few that could afford to pursue them.
COLLINS: You were heading off to graduate school at a time of tremendous international ferment. Were world events in any way impinging on your activities at Purdue, or were you thinking about them in any special way?
MUELLER: Far more interested in them in high school and in college, undergraduate college, than at Purdue. At Purdue we were mostly interested in getting this thing built and out the door and getting through Master's courses and, to some extent, Purdue was more divorced from international events than Rolla was.
COLLINS: As you were working on this RCA funded project, did you have occasion to talk with RCA researchers?
MUELLER: Never did.
COLLINS: Did they come into the laboratory?
MUELLER: Roys always would go back there and talk about what we were doing. After all, I was only doing a piece of that whole project.
COLLINS: Sure. Well, you expressed an interest about proceeding out into industry. You were looking for some other different activities to get a job. But you mentioned to me earlier that you had some association with Princeton. Does that fit in here at this point, or was that later?
MUELLER: It comes when I went to work for Bell Labs. Bell Labs has a program that permits you to go to school part time. At that time it was an enlightened program. It was unusual for industry to provide that kind of an incentive for their employees. I had the job offer from Bell Labs, I guess, early in the spring. They sent somebody out to look at what we were doing in the television arena, and that led to my applying for a job there. That led in turn to my being invited back for a set of interviews and, in turn, a job offer. At that point in time, it wasn't clear that I was going to graduate when they made the offer because I hadn't finished. I suppose I was close to finishing my thesis, but that was about where I stood at the time.
COLLINS: So you started at Purdue in the fall of 1939.
COLLINS: And completed enough course work by the end of the spring semester, 1940. Were you attending school the summer of 1940?
MUELLER: No. I left. I went to work at Bell Labs--in July, I think it was.
COLLINS: So basically in eight months you completed the Master's requirements.
MUELLER: Yes. I was able to transfer some credits from Missouri--I don't know how many, maybe six hours or so of graduate credit--which helped.
COLLINS: So, when the Bell official came to the Lab to look at your work in television, what sorts of things did you discuss?
MUELLER: Actually I didn't even see him. He came just to see what was going on. I guess I must have met him at the time, but not really. It was Roys who suggested that I might apply for a job there.
COLLINS: Okay. But they were familiar with the work at the lab, is how they knew about you.
COLLINS: And then they asked you to --
MUELLER: Incidentally, RCA also invited me back for interviews as well.
COLLINS: So you had a choice to make then between RCA and Bell Labs.
MUELLER: Yes. That wasn't hard.
COLLINS: Yes, Bell Labs was perceived to be very advanced.
COLLINS: What were your interviews like when they asked you to come out to New Jersey?
MUELLER: Well, RCA has a much more structured kind of an interview process, and they had a group of people. In the case of Bell Labs, I was invited out individually and had a series of discussions with the person who eventually became my immediate supervisor, and the head of that department, and then finally ended up with Kelly, who was at that time the executive vice president of the Labs and eventually became president. Kelly was a graduate of Rolla, and so he said it was the first time he'd seen anybody from Rolla in about ten years or so. Not that that impressed him particularly, but at least it wasn't a negative. You also had interviews with two or three of the other department heads, one of whom told the TV department head that he ought not to hire me. I knew too much about television, and I'd be prejudiced with my knowledge. He said, "You ought to have somebody who's bright and young and isn't prejudiced to come in." I guess that my department head had already hired several of those bright and young ones, and he wanted somebody who knew something about television at least. I don't know, but in any event, I got hired, and went on from there.
COLLINS: So did this provide the basis for you to go ahead and get married?
MUELLER: No, as a matter of fact, we waited another year until I got more or less established at Bell Labs, before we got married. Meanwhile, my then wife-to-be finished up her junior college and went on to get a secretarial degree and spent a short time doing secretarial work before we got married.
COLLINS: What was her maiden name?
MUELLER: Rosenbaum, Maude Rosenbaum.
COLLINS: Rather than to delve into the specifics of your Bell Labs activity now, I think what I'd like to do is get your initial impressions of what kind of a place the laboratory was, and what your expectations were as you came there.
MUELLER: Well, I expected it to be great. I started out to work at West Street which is down at the beginnings of New York City, and I guess I really didn't know what to expect per se. I just knew it had the reputation of being one of the great laboratories in the world and felt exceedingly fortunate in having an opportunity to go to work there. I was fairly brash and young, thought I knew more than I really did by a substantial amount, and yet knew how little I knew, which is a contradiction in terms but, nevertheless, was pretty much the attitude. I was first surprised at the ambience of the place. It was about two years before I discovered that my boss and my boss's boss and my boss's boss's boss all had PhD's, since the genre there was that everybody was equal and nobody used titles. So you never knew whether the guy you were dealing with was a PhD or a mechanic, which turns out to be nice because you didn't feel that you were handicapped by not having a PhD. On the other hand, I noticed that, I eventually noticed that all of the managers in the place were PhD's. And although there wasn't any stigma associated with not being one, they just knew more than I did in terms of fundamental physics and fundamental engineering. I guess besides that I had always really wanted to go on and get an advanced degree, but circumstances weren't right to do so.
COLLINS: You mentioned a program at Princeton. When did you begin that?
MUELLER: Well, let's see. At the end of the first year, I had been transferred down to Holmdehl to build the receiver part of the first of the Bell Labs airborne radars, and I began looking around for a place to take additional course work, and I had a choice between going to the University of New Jersey at wherever it's located or to Princeton. So I actually applied to both places, but a friend of mine was also applying. He was working at the, I was at Holmdehl, and he was working down in further south on the peninsula at the other lab down there. It was the other end of the radio research establishment. Holmdehl was doing the receivers, and that group was doing the transmitters for the overseas radio systems and then progressed from that on. Chapin Cutler was down there, and he had wanted to go to school, too, so we both were admitted to Princeton. We carpooled up, so we would get up at 6 o'clock in the morning and go up to Princeton and take a couple of courses and then come on back to work.
COLLINS: This was specifically a degree granting program. You were in their PhD program.
MUELLER: Right. And we were both in physics. That continued for a couple of years until I went back to Ohio State. Chape never finished, although he went on for, I guess, another year after I left.
COLLINS: What was your colleague's name?
MUELLER: Cutler, Chapin Cutler.
COLLINS: Well, certainly during this period when you joined Bell Labs and soon thereafter, about a year and a half later, we got involved in World War II. How did that affect you?
MUELLER: Actually, we were--let's see, I went to work there in '40 and about six months after I went to work there in the television group, the war started, or at least our participation in the war started, and I got diverted to building this airborne radar system, along with our television group, just switched over. We were building it in competition with MIT and the Radiation Lab up there.
COLLINS: Were you in any danger of being drafted?
MUELLER: Oh yes. Yes, I got called up for examination and so on. Bell Labs let me go through the examination process, but before I got any call to duty, they intervened and said that I was doing essential work. And so I never did get involved in the military.
COLLINS: Okay. I think that's about as far as I want to take it now. I'd like to delay till next time the discussion of some of your scientific work at Bell and then your time at Ohio State.
COLLINS: Are there any things you'd like to add to the period we've discussed today?
MUELLER: Yes, I'd like to add some names.
COLLINS: When we do the transcript, I'll send you a copy of the transcript, and then you can insert those in the transcript.
MUELLER: It's interesting, my memory seems to work by pages, and the pages you've been probing are way back in history.
COLLINS: I appreciate that.
MUELLER: It's a little hard to pull those names out. If we were to talk for another day, why, I probably would end up recalling most of them.
COLLINS: Okay. Well, why don't we conclude this here. Thank you.