Finally, Behind the Chemistry Building

I mentioned over Christmas break that I had recently stumbled upon a Rice publication I’d never seen before, the Naval ROTC Broadside. Looking through the issues I was delighted to find that there were a lot of pictures, including this stunning image of one of the rarest of sights, the back of the Chemistry Building. I have, in fact, never seen anything like this:

Naval ROTC Broadside 2

I suppose some people might be distracted by all that marching but the first thing I saw was the cars. This is also the only ground level view I’ve ever seen of the road that ran along the back of the building. You can see it in this 1942 aerial (which I talked about here):

Road behind Chem summer 1942 texas Air National Guard

 I was so excited that I failed to note which issue the top photo came from but judging by the size of the trees I’d say it was taken sometime in the mid to late ’40s. I’ll check when I go back in to the Woodson on Thursday.



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8 Responses to Finally, Behind the Chemistry Building

  1. marmer01 says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen leggings worn with an officer-style Service Dress Blue uniform before. Live and learn.

  2. effegee says:

    Nice view of the young trees that, when fully mature in 1982, will not survive an effort to relocate them to build the Mechanical Engineering Building.

  3. Wendy Kilpatrick Laubach '78 says:

    I remember that approach to the Chem building well. My dad’s parking spot was back there. I still have his nameplate.

  4. dlknirk says:

    A “bonus” worthy of a Nobel prize, I’d say! I love these pictures of the old Chemistry Bldg. My first office as a grad student was in the area between the lecture hall and the central hallway in the building. I was one of Zevi Salsburg’s last grad students. His personal call to me when I was applying to grad schools is the main reason I selected Rice. He died in Livermore the summer after our first year’s work and the completion of my first publishable paper. I had known that he was involved in the design and construction of the first digital computer in Abercrombie but nothing in detail except for the statistical studies of reliability. Bbecause of a link on his name in one of your postings, I discovered the great story published in 2010. That was very meaningful to me. I didn’t know at the time that I was arriving at Rice a mere 4 years after the completion of the R1. Zevi set me on the path to become a theoretical chemist. We had already decided I would do a split thesis, one-half in his field of statistical thermodynamics and one-half in the field of quantum chemistry with a new faculty member who had just arrived – Edward F. Hayes. All my work in chemistry was done with pure mathematics (by hand) or with computational prediction (by computer.)

    About 10 years after my PhD, my career took a turn toward the new field of “Software Engineering” as it was being called. My experience and capability with the computational tools of my trade made me eminently suited to continue in that direction, and in the 33 years since then, that has been either my primary occupation, or a principal component of my other occupations. I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy being on the Rice History Corner mailing list.

    Thanks, Dwayne KnirkPhD ’72

    From: Rice History Corner To: Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2015 4:20 PM Subject: [New post] Finally, Behind the Chemistry Building #yiv9515259810 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv9515259810 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv9515259810 a.yiv9515259810primaryactionlink:link, #yiv9515259810 a.yiv9515259810primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv9515259810 a.yiv9515259810primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv9515259810 a.yiv9515259810primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv9515259810 | Melissa Kean posted: “I mentioned over Christmas break that I had recently stumbled upon a Rice publication I’d never seen before, the Naval ROTC Broadside. Looking through the issues I was delighted to find that there were a lot of pictures, including this stunning image of o” | |

    • almadenmike says:

      I didn’t realize that Dr. Salzburg, who taught me freshman chemistry in 1966-67, had died in Livermore. Having worked at Lawrence Livermore National Lab 1976-88, I wondered what the connection was, and found this in an oral history transcript of a LLNL scientist I did know there, the delightful Berni Alder, who was a pioneer in using computers for basic chemistry simulations(

      (Note: I have not corrected any of the speculative/phonetic misspellings in the published transcript, which is raw and literal.)

      “Speaker (Battimelli or Frankel):
      Who else was around doing this sort of thing? Say, was it just confined to Los Alamos people and you ??? ??? ??? any other people around thinking along the same lines and doing similar stuff?

      Well, the one guy that I think of very highly is Zevi Zalsberg. Now, he was very much involved in computing as well. He died very young. I remember he died on the way to come to spend a summer with me. Now, I can’t remember which year that was. But he also used to go to Los Alamos, and he was a part of the early building of a computer at Rice University ??? ??? to use. So he made a fairly large number of sort of fundamental contributions to heart sphere or, you know, in general to computational physics and the statistical mechanical area ??? ??? ???. I’m not saying he ever did anything very central.

      He also collaborated with Bill Wood I think.

      Oh yeah. He regularly came to ??? to Los Alamos every summer. And that’s where he really did his work, but he died very young as I say, and —

      Weren’t they the first to actually study spin systems, Eising[?]-like systems?

      I think the that the Eising model ??? ??? you, that’s true. There is a man called Chestnut who I just ran into, Chester Salzburg [?] and Bill Wood did some Eising lathis [?] model work. But you know it’s sort of, it’s interesting, they may be the only ones that did both. I mean, I think the Eising model work on early days of computer, Yang [?] certainly was heavily involved in that, Yang and his, I believe his son did some very early simulations on the Eising models. But I think that may well precede what we did. Do you know the urgence of the Eising model simulations?

      … it’s true that Salzburg, there was a student whose name is Chester or Chestnut or something like that, and Bill Wood did some Eising model work. But it never really — there is one thesis then, which I probably have or Bill Wood has, on the Eising model, by this student. But I think it, well it’s, I mean, though the Montecarlo algorithm is of course the same and much simpler, the two fields just never really overlapped as far as I know. I mean, you know, they check the two-dimensional, they got some, ultimately some three-dimensional critical point results ??? ??? ??? but it’s sort of a separate offshoot using the Montecarlo ???. Now then there was of course I think historically the computers were only at Livermore and Los Alamos, so I think the computers were the big electronic computers were confined to these two DOE laboratories. Well, Brookhaven had some, and that’s probably how Liniac [?] got involved. …”

  5. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

    When I read descriptions of the activities and accomplishments of Rice students like “dlknirk”,
    I am thunderstruck wondering how I was accepted at Rice Institute in 1952.
    How could I have ever shared an apartment with a boy who later formed his own oil company, played basketball with one who financially helped build a cardiac hospital, joked and drank with one who would be a hugely successful venture capitalist and board member of multiple prestigious universities, or shared coffee at the tiny “Roost” with a Nobel winner-to-be.
    And the list goes on and on.

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