“the importance of mathematics in furthering the acquisition of new knowledge,” 1966

Looking for something in a box of materials from the 50th anniversary celebration of the first Rice commencment, I ran across a copy of the brief remarks given at a dinner on that occasion by Norman Hurd Ricker ’16 ’17 ’20. Although the talk is titled “Science — Then and Now” it was neither Ricker’s view of the past nor of the present that caught my eye. Rather, it was his accurate prediction that the future of science would be increasingly driven by mathematics that struck me.

I really shouldn’t have been surprised, though. Ricker was one smart guy.


And a photograph from his wonderful scrapbook of the young Mr. Ricker at work in a Rice lab

Bonus: From the inside looking out.

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5 Responses to “the importance of mathematics in furthering the acquisition of new knowledge,” 1966

  1. grungy1973 says:

    Obverse. Smartly done.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      Thanks! The nice folks in the Office of International Students and Scholars were very confused when I arrived and asked to see all the rolls of paper towels. I don’t think they realized that everyone on the quad can see them.

      • Irene Mendez says:

        Hi! Glad you pointed that out to us! We went ahead and moved the paper towels to a less visible spot :), but fun to see the posts!


    Unfortunately, Mathematics and Science, in general (nationwide), have been underfunded (by the US administrations) since the late 1960s.

  3. mmdlarue says:

    I think it was Dr. Mitchell (of the Linguistics Dept.) at Rice who pointed out to me that the two things of which one needed to have a good grasp were Mathematics and Language. With these two tools all other disciplines became possible.

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