Of all my experiences as a graduate student at Colorado State University in the early 1970s, the following is most certainly a pearl.

The class CE602 Transport Phenomena was required for all majors in the graduate program in hydraulics. One day, the professor came to class and, after the customary salutation, solemnly declared: "I have decided to do something different this time. The midterm will be take-home..." and he paused, to continue with a grin: "three-hour, closed book."

We looked at each other in amazement, while struggling to regain our composture. Specific instructions followed almost immediately: "You will pick up the exam tomorrow at 5 pm in my office, and return the completed exam by 8 am the following morning."

I can't vouch for the rest of my classmates, some ten in all. All I can say is that I knew that something was up, but I could not figure out what it was. As instructed, I picked up the exam, went home, had dinner, and started to work on it at about 8 pm. There were six problems, the likes of which I had never seen before. I knew almost immediately that this was not a three-hour exam, certainly not for me. At around 2:00 am, I finally completed the work, after having consulted at least two books. At 8:00 am, I returned the exam, half ashamed, but undaunted.

The next time the class met, the professor inquired: "How did it go?" My recollection of the events of that day is that everybody kept quiet, except for my colleague Fred Theurer, who said, pointedly: "Professor, I must tell you that it was impossible for me to do the exam in the allotted time, and without consulting any books. It took me nearly six hours, and I used several books."

I am certain that Fred got an A in the exam, while the rest of the group, including myself, had to settle for an also-ran B. We will never know if his honesty paid him handsomely that day, but I would not hesitate to place my bet on it.

Large beaver dam in the Trout Creek watershed, Western Colorado

Large beaver dam in the Trout Creek watershed, Western Colorado (See related paper).