Wiess School of Natural Sciences
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Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Mathematics
Earth Science
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Chemistry
Physics & Astronomy
Kinesiology

A WIESS SCHOOL HISTORICAL TIMELINE

1970 - 1979

Timeline 1970-1979

1970

Norman Hackerman appointed as Rice’s fourth president by a search committee consisting of Board members, faculty, and student representatives. Another scientist, he is the second chemist to serve in the position. Hackerman was appointed in April 1970 and formally inaugurated on September 24, 1971. Hackerman was a professor of chemistry and the president of University of Texas at Austin before accepting the presidency at Rice. He earned his A.B. and Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University.

1971

R1 computer is decommissioned.

1971

Ken Kennedy '67 becomes assistant professor of mathematics.

1972

The Department of Biochemistry (now Biochemistry & Cell Biology) is founded with George Schroepfer as chair.

1972

Enrollment tops 3,000, with 2,655 undergraduates and 624 graduate students.

1973

Two of Rice's residential colleges, Baker and Hanszen, become the first to go coed; within 15 years, all others will follow.

1973 Mary Wheeler (Mathematics) developed numerical methods for partial differential equations.

1975

The Division of Science and Engineering splits into two schools: the George R. Brown School of Engineering and the School of Natural Sciences. William Gordon remains as Dean of Natural Sciences and Alan Chapman is appointed Dean of Engineering.

1976

Richard Smalley joins Rice as assistant professor of chemistry.

1978

Robert Wilson ‘57 becomes the first Rice graduate to receive the Nobel Prize, winning the physics prize for the co-discovery of cosmic radiation background.

1979

The School of Natural Sciences is renamed the Wiess School of Natural Sciences in honor of Harry and Olga Keith Wiess.

1979 Robert Bryant (Mathematics) contributed to differential geometry, including exterior differential systems, exceptional holonomy, and Finsler geometry.

1979

Rick Smalley initiates the founding of the Rice Quantum Institute, the campus’ first institute.