Geek of the Week: Erik Charrier, Graduate Student, PhD, Mining Engineering

Plenty of Mines students go through the school with a goal of running through their academic gauntlet as quickly as possible. Others take a bit longer to leave this haven of geeks, either by choice or by trial and error. However, only a privileged few can claim the honor of knowing the campus as well as Erik Charrier, who, after wresting both a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s degree from Mines, continues to do battle with the school in pursuit of a PhD in Mining Engineering.

[Oredigger]: Why did you pick Mining Engineering?
It’s an application of Mechanical Engineering [my Master’s degree] in an interesting area. I’ve always been fascinated by mining equipment…Here, I am doing what I always thought would be wonderful fun as a kid.

What has been your favorite class so far?
Either Technology and Social change with Mark Eberhart, Machine Design, one of Steele’s Robotic’s classes, or Turner’s Design class. We decided to build a robot in Design class and ended up equipping a ten pound robot with BattleBots-grade drive motors.

Are you a geek and why?
By the Eberhart definition of a geek, absolutely not. I do not bite the head off chickens. I may kill small game, but I don’t bite heads off of chickens. In a more modern sense, [yes because I have] Linux computers lying around all over the place, SAS hard drives and processors, [I] build my own computers, [and] have Solidworks stuff. I did McBride and got a minor in Public Affairs. Oh, and I have Eberhart’s books.

What do you do with that precious resource known as “free time?”
I read a lot of books, I have certainly been known to engage in backroading activity. I do hunting or target shooting, depending on time. I do some video games, but I generally prefer things that are not twitch-fests, so no Call of Duty or Warcraft. [I like] good single-player role-playing games and obscure detailed strategy titles that cannot be finished in a couple hours, such as “Europa Universalis IV,” “Hearts of Iron III,” and “Victoria II.” So, basically any game that will let you be Bismarck. And there happens to be a pickelhauben (a spiked Prussian helmet) and Prussian flag on my wall.

What is your favorite thing about Mines?
It’s hard to define a single one best thing about Mines. I think it’s a combination of the academic rigor, the student body that’s attracted to the rigor, and an excellent faculty.

What are your greatest accomplishments?
Well, I graduated twice and I paid for undergrad through commercial fishing.

When a sock disappears in the laundry, what do you think happens to it?
If one of my socks is missing, it probably means it is soaked somewhere in Hoppe’s 9.

If you could be dropped into any fictional universe, what would it be and why?
[The universe of] “Star Trek” because anybody who likes “Game of Thrones” could conquer the whole galaxy.

Which would you rather have: a tool kit full of tools that will never break or a never-ending supply of duct tape?
The tools because I actually fix things right.

What is your best nerd moment story?
There was a time when my housemates were quite into “Mass Effect.” I thought we needed to do some calculations on the center of Mass versus engine location on the Normandy. I did the math and posted it for them to see. They did not like the trajectory it would immediately reach. Either that or the denial of service act I launched on them when they were playing “Halo.”

Do you have any plans for the future?
To avoid the fate of Mike Slackenerny.

Do you have any advice for fellow geeks and Mines students?
The world doesn’t care how smart or how special you are or what you may feel you are entitled to. Instead, it cares about your ability to get results. Part of what you will learn here, and it is every bit as valuable as your engineering education, is to buckle down and do what needs to be done.

Do you have a favorite quote?
“He who is not a Socialist by nineteen has no hear and he who is not a member of the Establishment by thirty has no brains.” -Otto von Bismarck

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