These skills were complemented by a more formal theoretical structure when Richter studied engineering in Germany after graduating from high school in 1912. After three years of technical instruction, the outbreak of World War I forced him to return to the United States, where he completed his degree at Harvard. Though he had not previously studied biology or any other life science, Richter stumbled onto one late in his college career. Because of Professor E. B. Holt's reputation as a dynamic lecturer, Richter took one of his classes. Perhaps most importantly, that experience encouraged him to take another course on insect behavior with Professor Robert Yerkes, who introduced him to the work of John B. Watson, Professor of Psychology at Johns Hopkins.
After a two-year stint in the Army, Richter decided to pursue graduate work with Professor Watson and so packed his bags for Baltimore. Working in Watson's laboratory, Richter's keenly inquisitive mind soon began generating innumerable experiments. It was there that he could neatly integrate his natural curiosity with the craft skills he had learned at the foundry and the formal rigor of his engineer's training. That combination served him well in his remarkable scientific career, lasting over sixty years and spanning numerous disciplines.
Curt P. Richter's Curriculum Vitae
Reminiscences about Curt P. Richter