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Fictional character

Name: Herr Professor Doktor Wilhelm Becker

Age: 41

Gender: Male

Race/Ethnicity: German

Profession: Professor of Mechanical Extravagances

Location: Becker Estates and the Mechanics Institute

Personal Traits. Skills, Abilities and Characteristics:
A dry wit to accompany his sharp intellect, Prof Becker is a cynical optimist who believes in the strength of human spirit yet despairs of human nature. He teaches unorthodox courses such as "Mechanical Poetics" and "Soulful Automata."

Biography (ca. 1921):
Professor Becker is loved and loathed by students and faculty members for his unconventional approaches to mechanics, automata, and difference engines. He fled his native Germany in 1918 to escape the crippling economic sanctions on his country that stifled his research. He found his way to the United States and Rochester through his successful grant application as part of George Greene's New Steam Society project, where he secured a position at the Mechanics Institute.

Becker settles for nothing but perfection and constant innovation from his students, even when they can't quite tell what he's going on about. He has a tendency to lapse into German for long stretches, musing to himself while scribbling on the chalkboard, expecting all the while for his students to follow his train of thought. He is best known for his eccentric teaching style, which included a final project where he tasked students to recreate Sigurd's slaying of the dragon Fafnir using only mechanical instruments.

A dyed in the wool Marxist, Becker found the atrocities of the Great War to be nauseating and finds many aspects of American life bewilderingly confusing and disgustingly capitalist. His wife, Katja, is a physician who works with the poor, rendering services such as birth control remedies and providing abortions for unwanted pregnancies. The couple have two young sons, Klaus and Juergen, and two German Shepherd dogs, Frigg and Freya. They live in town of Pittsford, a short remove from the city of Rochester, and endure regular trips into the city as their professions demand. They enjoy liquor and wine and keep an ample supply on hand, but when asked will politely decline to comment on the temperance movement.