Scientist of the Week: Pete Huck

Jamie Gajewski

Although Lawrence Junior Pete Huck admires the translucent 12-inch ruler for its portability, compactness and units of measurement, he is not a typical scientist.
Huck came to Lawrence without a major, and without a real reason except for a magnetic attraction to the possibility of making music with Conservatory students. This year, Huck declared his Engineering major and since then has found himself “never not in the library.” Do not let the double negative fool you — Huck is serious.
Engineering at Lawrence is usually a 3-2 program, in which three years are spent on the Lawrence campus followed by two more years at a different campus. However, Huck does not want to transfer next year due to some “unfinished business.” Instead, he plans to flee to France after college, or possibly go to engineering school.
This summer Huck will be lounging on the Los Angeles beach and battling in various Capoeira studios under the guise of an independent research project through a governmental program called Research Experience for Undergrads.
How did he get this gig?
“Someone called my agent, who contacted me, and so I applied,” explained Huck, taking a bite out of an apple that Newton himself would have been proud of. Although the actual details of the project are murkier than the Los Angeles smog, the internship, run by Cal State, not only involves engineering but the L.A. coastline as well.
When Huck is not in the Seeley G. Mudd cradling a large textbook, he is usually on the Main Hall green in a handstand or suspended in midair. In fact, Capoeira was a very important factor in his summer plans.
Although Huck was accepted by a number of programs, he chose the Los Angeles internship for its proximity to the beach and the thriving Capoeira scene. According to Huck, Capoeira is thought to have started as an act of defense during the slave trade. At one time it was even illegal in Brazil. Huck has been playing for about a year and has even spent some time at a center in Chicago through Roosevelt University.
In five years, when he is 26 years old, Huck expects to be in France, Brazil, engineering school or riding a bike without wearing a shirt, not unlike the man who peddled by during our interview. In 55 years, at the ripe age of 76, Huck believes he will be satisfied, have a beer belly and sport a patio up top.
What will he being doing with his life? “I know I don’t know. That’s all I know,” he said.
Huck may not be able to predict the future, but he is a firm believer that the egg came before the chicken.
If you would like to play some Capoeira, head over to Huck’s luxurious double single in Sinfonia and he will kick it with you, with or without his calculus textbook.