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

1950 - 1959

Timeline 1950-1959

1950

George R. Brown becomes chairman of the board.

1950

Rice’s endowment is over $30 million. There are 114 faculty, and enrollment is 1,500, including150 graduate students. Houston, with a population of nearly 600,000, is the 16th largest U.S. city.

1952

Harold E. Rorschach was  a passionate educator who taught more than five thousand undergraduates and guided twenty-seven students to the Ph.D. degree in his areas of research, experimental low temperature physics and biophysics. He was named the Sam and Helen Worden Professor of Physics in 1981.

1952

Olga Weiss creates the Harry Carothers Wiess Chair of Geology.

1953

With Houston’s growing position as a centerpiece of the oil industry, the requirement for increased study of geology is apparent. The Department of Geology (later renamed Geology and Geophysics, then Earth Science) is established.

1953

Carey Croneis named Wiess Professor of Geology and head of the new Geology department, as well as provost of the Institute.

1953

Bonner Nuclear Laboratory and Anderson Biological Sciences Building, named for M. D. Anderson, are opened.

1954

Olga Wiess donates to construction of Keith Wiess Geological Laboratories.

1955

Rice awards its first Ph.D. in something other than the Natural Sciences.

1956

Wiess’ three daughters donate to construct Keith Wiess Geological Laboratories.

1957 Robert W. Wilson received his BA in physics from Rice Institute in 1957. Working with Arno Penzias at Bell Telephone Laboratories, he discovered the relic microwave background radiation predicted by the big bang theory. The pair received the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physics for this work.

1958

Keith Wiess Geological Laboratories completed.

1958 Jim Douglas (Mathematics) pioneered work on numerical procedures for analyzing complicated differential equations when high-speed computational ability was in its infancy.

1958

Chemist Robert Curl joins Rice’s faculty.Publish

1958

NASA is established July 29 by the National Aeronautics and Space Act. With “manned” spacecraft a priority, the agency begins analyzing potential locations for a manned space center that will allow for easy water transportation to Florida. Houston, along with New Orleans and Mobile, is considered.

1959

Clark Read received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from Rice Institute. He returned to Rice in 1959 as Professor of Biology and later chairman of the department. He was a specialist in the field of parasites and their relation to living organisms.

1959

By the end of 1959, Rice had awarded 261 doctorates, 246 of which were in science or engineering. Ninety-one were in physics alone.

1960

Rice's introductory mathematics course, Math 100, is split into a section for scientists and engineers and a section for non-science majors.

1960

The Rice Institute is formally re-designated William Marsh Rice University.