Wiess School of Natural Sciences
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A WIESS SCHOOL HISTORICAL TIMELINE

1960 - 1969

Timeline 1960-1969Publish

1960's

Herman Brown Hall constructed with funding from the Sloan Foundation.

1961

Croneis becomes acting president after Houston resigns due to heart attack.

1961    Richard B. Turner becomes the first chair of the Chemistry Department.

1961

NASA announces that its new $60 million Manned Spacecraft Center would have major ties to Rice University for research and instruction.

1961

The R1, Rice’s first computer, is completed and becomes fully operational in Ambercrombie Laboratory. The R1 is initially named “The Rice Institute Computer” and later becomes “The Rice University Computer”.

1961

Kenneth Sanborn Pitzer is appointed the third president of Rice in July 1961 and formally inaugurated on October 10, 1962 as part of the university’s Semicentennial Celebration. Pitzer was a professor of chemistry and Dean of the College of Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley before he accepted the presidency at Rice. He earned his B.S. at California Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley.

1962

Speaking in Rice Stadium, President John F. Kennedy announces that the United States intends “to become the world's leading space-faring nation.”

1962

President of the Rice board, George R. Brown, a colleague of both Vice President Lyndon Johnson and powerful Congressman Albert Thomas, persuades Humble Oil to give Rice 1,000 acres of land in Clear Lake that Rice can offer NASA as a location for its Manned Space Center. NASA accepts and months later secures 600 more acres from Humble Oil by trading one of its local properties—the 525-home Afton Oaks subdivision northwest of campus.

1963

Bolstered by Rice’s new relationship with NASA, Pitzer founds the department of space science the first of its kind in the country. Alex Dessler is selected chair. NASA funding follows, including money for research, funds for a new building to house the department, and funding for 24 new NASA graduate fellows.

1963

A unanimous board files a lawsuit to allow Rice to modify its charter to admit students of all races and to charge tuition.

1963 

A. J. Dessler was founding chairman of the Department of Space Sciences, the first such department in the world. He was a major figure in the establishment of space plasma physics as a professional discipline.

1963

Tenure system is implemented.

1963 G. King Walters was a Rice undergraduate who returned in 1963 as a professor. He was instrumental in the development of ultrasensitive magnetic anomaly detectors widely used by the military, and pioneered a number of spin-sensitive spectroscopes used to probe particle interaction. He served as Dean of the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, and received the Rice Alumni Gold Medal in 2003.

1964

The court finds in favor of the petition filed the year before to allow Rice to modify its charter to charge tuition and to admit students of all races.

1964

The Biomedical Engineering Laboratory, directed by W. W. Akers, is established under the stimulation and guidance of Dr Michael DeBakey of the Baylor College of Medicine.

1965

Tuition is charged for first time ($1,200).

1965

The first female Wiess School of Natural Sciences faculty, Krystyna Ansevin, assistant professor in Biology, arrives at Rice.

1966

The Space Science and Technology Building is completed.

1966

Neal Lane joins Rice as assistant professor of physics.

1967 Richard A. Wolf was the founding member of the Department of Space Sciences, and father of the art of computational magnetospheric modeling and the "Rice Convection Model" (RCM), which underpins much of the current work on space weather.

1967

Bill Gordon becomes first dean of both science and engineering, and later Vice President and Provost of Rice University. He conceived the massive radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, supervising its design, construction, and early operation. This facility was recently named after him.

1968 Salomon Bochner (Mathematics )is recognized for profound and seminal contributions to disparate areas of analysis icluding almost periodic functions, Fourier analysis, complex analysis, Lie groups., differential geometry, partial differential equations, functional analysis and probability theory.

Late 1960s

Mathematical Sciences emerge in the late 1960’s in Natural Sciences and became part of the School of Engineering in the 1980’s.

1968

Pitzer resigns to become president of Stanford University.

1968

Bill Gordon is promoted to provost and dean of science.

1969 F. Reese Harvey (Mathematics) introduced calibrated geometries, including special Lagrangian and exceptional geomertry.

1969

Frank Vandiver is appointed interim president of Rice.

1969

Raymond Johnson, first African-American to be awarded a Rice degree, earns a Ph.D. in Mathematics.