Coming to Harvard University

  • Frederick Mosteller


When I was still discussing the possible move to Harvard on completion of my doctorate at Princeton in 1946, Virginia and I traveled to Cambridge and met Talcott Parsons, the chairman of the new Department of Social Relations. Although he was among the most widely cited sociologists in the world, I brought away no quotation from this visit, but rather an appreciation of him as a man of action. He took us to dinner at a very fine restaurant and ordered wine. Although Virginia and I were familiar with cocktails, wine was new to us. When the sommelier brought the bottle and offered the tasting glass to Talcott, he took a sip and startled us by announcing in his big voice, “It is spoiled, bring another bottle.” He was decisive, commanding, not the least embarrassed, and all went as he ordered. Virginia and I didn’t run into another spoiled bottle of wine until ten years later, at a wine tasting we were giving in our home.


Social Relation Lottery Ticket Personal Utility Utility Curve Wine Tasting 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederick Mosteller
    • 1
  1. 1.BelmontUSA

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