Our Friend, The Physics Amphitheater

Physics construction January 1914

Although I often walk across campus with my mind drifting around in years other than the one in which I happen to live, sometimes I forget big things about how we used to operate around here. I was reminded of this last week when I ran across two photographs taken in the Physics Amphitheater over three decades apart. I am unashamed to say that I love this room and the building that it’s in. What I hadn’t ever considered was that for many years it was the biggest room on campus—it was built to seat about 300 people—and thus the default space for events of all kinds. Public lectures, of course, were commonly held here but all sorts of other things went on in this venerable room. A few weeks ago, for example, I posted a picture of Dr. Lovett giving a matriculation speech there

But here’s something completely different—a pep rally in the fall of 1929:

Glass pep rally c1930

On a more scholarly note, I believe this is the address of John Lyon Reid, who was awarded Rice’s Medal of Honor for Architecture at the semi-centennial celebration in 1962:

Physics Amph John Lyon Reid October 62 Semicentennial lecture medal

I’ve never seen a photo of events like these in the Chem Lecture Hall, but I don’t know why not. Sometimes it’s just chance what survives.

Bonus: Be the best that you can be.

Be The Best That You Can Be 2014

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4 Responses to Our Friend, The Physics Amphitheater

  1. Hannes Hofer says:

    So, in the early 2000s, the Physic’s Amphitheater was often referred to as the “Sadie R. Smith Auditorium”. I have not seen this name used in recent years. Does anyone know the story behind it?

  2. The “Sadie R. Smith” name appears throughout the 2000s in events.rice.edu. Last one I’ve seen is 2011. I’ll bet it’s permanent; there just aren’t as many events there because there are better venues on campus now.

  3. Pingback: Olajuwon in The Physics Amphitheater | Rice History Corner

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