One of the more underused resources in the archives is the collection of Rice Institute Pamphlets, our own scholarly journal, which became Rice University Studies after we became Rice University in 1960. There’s a lot of miscellany in these volumes but if you read them in order you’ll wind up with a pretty good education in the intellectual history of the institution. I’ve been doing just this over the past few weeks, rereading them without being in any particular hurry to answer some pressing question as I typically would have been in the past. One of the articles that I probably would have skipped over before was a 1967 piece by Professor Art Busch, part of a special issue on environmental studies. Busch arrived at Rice in 1955 as an assistant professor of Civil Engineering. Here he is in an undated image from around that time, which looks to have been taken in the old Engineering Annex that was replaced by Ryon Lab. Note the tantalizing but unhelpful calendar behind him:
Busch’s Rice University Studies article describes the genesis of environmental science and engineering at Rice and the shifts that had taken place in its institutional evolution up to that point. He also elucidates a pretty aggressive intellectual framework for the training of students in the field, which I find both clear and compelling. Here’s a pdf (click on it to read the whole thing):article_RIP53SP_part4
Busch, deeply committed to the pursuit of solutions for real world environmental problems, stayed at Rice until 1971 when he was appointed a regional administrator of the EPA in Dallas. This was apparently a rather shocking development, described by one columnist as the equivalent of Ralph Nader joining the board of General Motors.
Here are a couple of items I found in his clipping file, one of the most interesting info files I’ve ever come across. He was a busy guy, and clearly a forthright one:
And the reaction from a local radio station, KXYZ (of which I had never heard–but which has a colorful history)
Here’s one more image of Busch, this one dated 1964, which I am inclined to believe. My question is, where is he? I’m guessing somewhere in Mech Lab.
Bonus: Speaking of Mech Lab, renovations are in full swing.
Extra Bonus: If a tree falls and there’s no one on campus does it make a sound?