After my senior year at Brandeis, my Economics Department Chair, Dr. Anne Carter, asked me to intern for the summer of 1972 at the Harvard Economic Research Project. It was an amazing time.
Dr. Carter was the Director of Research for the Project, which was begun in 1948 by Wassily Leontief. Leontief remained its director until 1973.
Little did I know that Wassily Leontief would receive the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1973. And Anne Carter, who certainly mentored me, went on to become Dean of Faculty at Brandeis.
The Project was to exploit the new methodology of Input-Output Economics, using the very primitive computers available at the time.
My summer job was to see if I could find tools that would allow the methodology to be used in environmental fields. I decided to focus on water pollution, and zeroed on on the extent to which water pollution could be predicted by the extent to which “biochemical oxygen demand” was present in any given body of water.