In Response to: Useful Useless Knowledge

To echo my classmate Brooks Washburn’s comments about the category of “useless” learning in undergraduate education (Inbox, June/July issue): I now find myself in semi-retirement working part-time at the New Jersey State Archives in Trenton doing data entry from 19th century birth ledgers. I wondered why the strings of “random” numbers and jumbled letters were transcribing so easily and why I was so enjoying this mindless labor. Flash back to music composition class with Professor Paul Lansky *73 (check out his delightfully Mozartian new creations on YouTube!), where I spent a good deal of time copying and transposing 12-tone strings of pitches for weekly assignments. Who knew! After 40-plus years! Just like riding a bicycle, you never forget what you learn at Princeton!

Greg R. Smith ’75
Trenton, N.J.