There are four families in the Place of Power, and Sheri Tepper appears to have named them after various well-known institutions:

Ellel — Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Mitty — Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Berkli — University of California, Berkeley

Ander — ?? (My own best guess is Stanford University)

Unfortunately, the author is no longer with us to answer this, but maybe someone can recall her having spoken about it?

  • There does exist Anderson University in Indiana and South Carolina, but I can't speak as to how prominent they are.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 13:17
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    I note there is a "National Defense Research Institute" associated with the RAND Corporation, and a "National Defense University" either of which might contribute "aND..."
    – DavidW
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 13:53
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    @FuzzyBoots As an academic whose post-Ph.D. career has been in Indiana and South Carolina, I can tell you that I was just barely aware of the existence of either of those Anderson Universities.
    – Buzz
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


My best guess is that it is a reference to RAND Corporation, a major player in the American research landscape.

Per Wikipedia:

The RAND Corporation ("research and development") is an American nonprofit global policy think tank created in 1948 by Douglas Aircraft Company to offer research and analysis to the United States Armed Forces. It is financed by the U.S. government and private endowment, corporations, universities and private individuals. The company has grown to assist other governments, international organizations, private companies and foundations with a host of defense and non-defense issues, including healthcare. RAND aims for interdisciplinary and quantitative problem solving by translating theoretical concepts from formal economics and the physical sciences into novel applications in other areas, using applied science and operations research.

RAND is a major player doing quantitative research in technological, economic, public policy, and other fields. I had a friend who worked there after studying political science, and he said it was amazing the breadth of things that people at RAND Corporation were working on.

One of RAND’s best known projects was the 1995 publication of the first large table of truly patternless random numbers: A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates.

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    It was right in front of me. :D
    – DavidW
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 15:43
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    The RAND Corporation is so famous that it was parodied as the Bland Corportion in Doctor Strangelove. As for the breadth of things people work on at RAND Corporation, here is a link to their publication I am most familiar with: rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/commercial_books/2007/… Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 17:41
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    Thanks @Buzz; that answer makes sense to me. As depicted, the Anders are consummate corporate players, maneuvering to further their own interests, and all the while presenting a façade of utmost civility, punctilious protocol, and impeccable esthetics.
    – user147074
    Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 3:54
  • @DavidW: I know, right?! The cryptic crossword solution that’s contained in the clue itself! :D
    – user147074
    Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 3:58
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    Disclaimer: I'm not on the RAND payroll, it's just my name.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 9:11

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