Across the Quad

I had occasion to visit a friend’s office in Hersztein Hall (the old physics building) this week. It’s beautiful since the renovations they did before the Political Scientists moved in. I was struck again by the beauty out the windows:

It feels timeless, at the still point of the turning world. But of course it isn’t.

Here’s what it looked like from a few feet away in an undated photo that was taken sometime between 1921 and 1925:

And here’s what you see today if you turn your head only slightly to the right:

Bonus: I will send a genuine Vintage Rice Football Programs Calendar to the first person who can figure out what these are. The only hint I’ll give is that they were pieces in an obsolete technology. 

Extra Bonus: I think I forgot the mention that I’m giving a short course in the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies next month. If you’re interested I’d love to have you. I feel confident that it will be entertaining. And the more, the merrier. Details are here.

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22 Responses to Across the Quad

  1. Gaylon Kent says:

    I want the calendar….but i dont really know what those rods are for…perhaps something from the ROTC armory???

  2. C Kelly says:

    I think those are parts of lightning rods. I want a calendar too even if I don’t get the question right. I think you may have a hot item.

  3. Gaylon Kent says:

    manual atom smashers???

  4. Gaylon Kent says:

    i even cheated and did a google photo search…no luck…

  5. Charley Landgraf says:

    You are especially lyrical today: “It feels timeless, at the still point of the turning world.” Beautiful thought; well-constructed sentence. Thank you.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      I wish I could claim credit but it’s a partial quote from a T.S. Eliot poem, Burnt Norton, in the Four Quartets. It popped into my mind as I looked at the picture. I spend a lot of time in the Quad, much of it completely alone, and there really is a sense of profound peace to be found there.

  6. effegee says:

    Stakes for the trees in the quad?

    Control rods for Prof. Wilson’s clandestine graphite pile reactor?

    Electrodes for the VdG generator?

  7. Gaylon Kent says:

    I wonder if she is going to tell us what they are…

  8. Deborah Gronke Bennett says:

    The rod items remind me of organ pipes, but of course they aren’t. Part of the old phone system? I do want to note that all the trees in today’s photos are properly upright.

  9. Gaylon Kent says:

    maybe they are ancient indian artifacts…or, since she’s giving away a football team calendar, they’re old football implements, but i dont see how a football team, even Rice’s, could put those to use…

  10. Dan Wagner says:

    My guess is that the rods are from a card catalog drawer. The bit that threads through the cards to keep them from wandering off.

  11. Grungy says:

    My collection of discarded Rice lightning rods has threaded bases, so that they could (relatively) easily be replaced after a strike (melted them). And they’re only about a foot long/tall. It’s hard to get any feeling of scale for the items in the picture. Three feet long? Why is there only one squared notch and not a matching notch on the other side? What would have been locking into that notch? They do appear to be copper or bronze.

  12. James W. Hajovsky says:

    I want a calendar really, really bad too. If I tell you I haven’t a clue what those “things” are, but what a fantastic job you are doing with the “History Corner”, would this be good enough of a bribe to get a calendar.

  13. Barney L. McCoy says:

    In a Corner piece from several months ago, the question arose of the date that the Italian Cypresses were planted in the Quad. The 20s photo supports my recollection that they were there in the 60s when i matriculated. Barney L. McCoy, Hanszen 67

  14. George Webb says:

    Thermowells = metal tubes inside which one places a thermocouple, and which one then inserts into a pipe or vessel in which you want to measure the interior temperature.

    • George Webb says:

      Oops – I didn’t read the hint. Thermowells are NOT obsolete technology.

      • Barney L. McCoy says:

        George, Have you ever thought about becoming a Republican candidate for President; I hear they are in desparate need of one. Your Omaha buddy. Barney L. McCoy, Hanszen 67

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