First Draft: Space Science, 1963

I found these among the papers of Alex Dessler, the founding chairman of the Space Science Department. The first draft, in Dessler’s handwriting:

And the final product, almost as first written. And red too. One might question the need for so many fonts, but what the heck:

Bonus: Dessler is one of my all-time favorite Rice faculty members. He’s a pleasure to listen to–smart, curious, honest. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s a link to his short paper about the early days of Space Science at Rice. It’s really good. (I will say, though, that the one thing he couldn’t have known was that while it certainly looked as though Rice began serious development of space science in reaction to JFK’s moon speech on campus the deal had been cut quite some time before.)


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2 Responses to First Draft: Space Science, 1963

  1. Steve Lukingbeal, Hanszen ‘76 says:

    Wow. That explains why they gave so much emphasis to those intense topics in the twelve hours I took in Space Science as an Academ. I guess they thought it gave the field of study a lot more gravitas than just studying astrology and star constellations. Haven’t thought about Van Allen radiation in years.

  2. Understanding of the space environment near the earth went from guesses to data with the launch of Explorer 1 in 1958. The field was growing very fast in those days. Starting a department only five years after Explorer 1 was an early start. There were probably new models appearing almost as fast as you could say “magnetohydrodynamics”.

    The field is still getting lots of new data each year. This year I read some non-specialist books on space science trying to get a better understanding of how radio waves bounce off of the ionosphere. Neat stuff.

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