NSF Scholarship Winners, 1954

I found this clipping in one of those old scrapbooks that the alumni association used to keep. These are a treasure trove of otherwise undiscoverable information because the ladies assembled them with no apparent filter or method. Any article that mentioned Rice or any Rice alumnus or any Rice student or faculty member on any topic whatsoever, including hundreds of wedding announcements, was cut out and pasted into these big books. Every page is a riot of unrelated material. This clipping drew my attention because I instantly saw my friend Bob Curl, completely recognizable even 64 years ago:

A little digging turned up the encouraging result that all these young men went on to have significant scholarly careers. Jack Esslinger stayed on at Rice for a Ph.D. in parasitology, which he then taught for many years at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. William Agosta earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Harvard and taught at Rockefeller University, also serving as head of their Laboratory of Organic Chemistry until his retirement in 1998. Jerry Marion stayed at Rice for his doctorate in physics. Following brief appointments at the University of Rochester and Los Alamos, in 1957 he joined the University of Maryland Department of Physics and Astronomy, where he was co-director of experimental nuclear physics at the University’s Van de Graaff laboratory and a principal investigator at the cyclotron laboratory. Charles Reich too earned a doctorate in physics from Rice, then spent most of his career at the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho (now called the Idaho National Laboratory).

Young Mr. Curl, of course, went off to Berkeley to complete his studies in chemistry. But he came back.

Bonus: Bob Curl, no date, on a scratched up contact sheet.

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