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Biographical / Historical
The Department of Space Science was established by Rice University in 1963. The new department would begin with four faculty members and nine graduate students in the spring of 1963, focused on research and high-level instruction in a variety of cutting-edge fields.
By 1965 there were nine Faculty and three Research Associates. The instructional program was at the graduate level except for one senior-level introductory course. Both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees were offered.
Begun in 1965, the Space Science and Technology Building was funded by a $1.6 million dollar NASA grant and completed in the fall of 1966.
By 1966-67 there were twelve Faculty and five Research Associates and Lecturers, including a Scientist Astronaut on leave with NASA. There were then fifty grad students, many of them associated with the Manned Space Center or aerospace contractors. Course offerings had also expanded to include two undergraduate-level survey courses.
Photographs, newsclippings, departmental booklets and scrapbooks conveying the history of the Space Science Department at Rice University, 1960s-2020s. (1 box)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Transferred to the library from the Space Science Department in 2002 via University Historian, Melissa Kean.
Lectures and seminars on Space Science by faculty in the 1960s are located in the Rice University Archives Audio-Visual collection, http://library.rice.edu/collections/WRC/university-archives/finding-aids-university-archives/audio-visual_UA151.
Search the finding aid by the keywords "space science".
Also separate from this collection, is an "Information File" on the Space Science Department. It includes departmental brochures (1965, January 1966, 1966-67, and 1968) which describe faculty and research associates, research activities, facilities, and graduate degree requirements. The folder also includes newspaper articles, and news releases.
The newspaper articles are primarily from the Houston Post, the Houston Chronicle, and the Rice Thresher. They range in date from 1961 to 1971. There is also a copy of the February 1964 Rice Alumni Magazine, which includes the article “Birth of a Rocket” about the new department. An undated item is an article from Vol. 1, No. 2 of the R.U. Review titled “Rice Reaches for the Stars” by William J. Cromie.
The news releases are the items greatest in number. There are 15, which range in date from January 4, 1963 (which announces the establishment of the Department as the first in Space Science in any college or university in the country) through November 5, 1969 (which announces placement on the lunar surface of an instrument developed by Rice scientists to measure the Moon’s atmosphere). The remaining 13 announce various balloon and rocket launches and the scientific objective of each.
Rice University Space Science Department records, 1960-2020s, UA 033, Rice University Archives, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University https://archives.library.rice.edu/repositories/2/resources/590 Accessed December 10, 2023.