About Site Founder Al Peschel

Student, career & research story.

Site Founder Alfred – “Al” or “Mister Al” – – Peschel became intrigued in middle school that one could determine the height of a pyramid without climbing it
– or that one could determine the distance of a ship from the shore without having to walk on water!           
“Mister Al” immigrated from Berlin, Germany in 1949 not knowing a word of English. Fatherless, he was lucky to have found a mentor – an “older brother”. Very poor he worked through high school and college to make family ends meet.

“Mister Al” completed Ridgefield Park, NJ High School in three years becoming valedictorian of his class. Then he attended Columbia College in NYC on a modest scholarship. During his junior year he studied at the famed University of Göttingen, also on a modest scholarship.   

Upon receiving his Mathematics BA in 1961 from Columbia University – he became a research assistant there until 1963.  At the then- Lamont Geological Observatory he investigated use of data analysis and finite difference methods in solving partial differential equations by computer to predict the weather.       

From 1963 to 1995 he had a rewarding career in aerospace – 31 years at TRW, now a part of Northrop Grumman.  He worked on many pioneering space programs: RANGER, MARINER, PIONEER, GEMINI, APOLLO, SPACE SHUTTLE.  He used math extensively in space trajectory analysis, missile accuracy studies and operations research.

He once briefed results of his statistical studies to the Chief Mathematician of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Other specialized defense studies were briefed to Pentagon planners for their later adoption there.   

For many years he advised the USA Air Force in software acquisition management. In his last years he represented then- TRW at the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute and then both TRW and the USA in developing ISO standards for computer software engineering.

After retiring from TRW Al consulted a few years to train software professionals in the new ISO standards for software engineering.         

Then he embarked on a new teaching career. In 2002 to 2004 he refreshed his school math at Los Angeles Harbor College formally receiving all A’s – taking the full sequence: Arithmetic; Pre-Algebra; Algebra I, II, III; Geometry; Trigonometry; Pre-Calculus; and Calculus I, II and III. He was the oldest student at the college!

During this time he was formally hired (with background checks) by LA Harbor College to be a mathematics tutor for students in the LA Harbor College Upward Bound Program.  The goal of this program was to help minority high school students enter and excel in college.        

Since 2004 Al developed for System Analytics and now for Peschel & Associates a privately-taught after-school program to help students in elementary, middle and secondary schools to master Algebra 1 by high school and then progress to AP Calculus in their senior high school year.