Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rice Opens New Courses in Chemistry

Today's article interestingly is about the Chemistry department. Ethel would have been a Junior in 1939 and a student of chemistry so this subject close to her heart. Noteworthy is the last section when she mentions which of the students were awarded fellowships. All four were men. In her unfinished memoir did describe the discrimination she felt applying for jobs in chemistry once she graduated. I wonder if she began noticing this kind of discrimination within the department as well. It will be interesting to see future articles about the chemistry department in the future. 

Revision of Senior and
Graduate Section. of Department at Institute Is Completed

Six new half-year courses and one new full-year course in chemistry have been established at Rice Institute this year in a complete revision of the senior and graduate section of the chemistry department, it was announced this week.

Half-year courses in chemistry will give short, concentrated presentations of highly specialized branches of the science. In previous years, only the longer, more generalized courses were offered. The new courses will enable advanced students to acquire more thorough grounding in chemistry, Dr. George H. Richter, assistant professor of chemistry, explained.

Special Examinations.

Also new this year are the special examinations required of candidates for master's and doctor' degrees in chemistry that have been added to the general requirements for these advanced degrees. Courses open only to students passing these examination have, furthermore, been created. The comprehensive examination to be given before October 1 on the academic year, will cover analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, as well as scientific German.

Senior students will have two new courses to choose from during the second halfyear—advanced physical chemistry and advanced inorganic qualitative analysis. Graduate students working toward an M.A. degree have open to them three new courses during the first half-year—adsorption, the theory of valence, and advanced physiological chemistry.

Heterogeneous Equilibrium.

A new course in heterogeneous equilibrium will be presented during the second half-year. Three courses will be open only to candidates for the Ph.D. degree. The most modern type of X-ray diffraction apparatus, installed this summer, will be used in chemistry 610. Heterocyclic chemistry
640 has been newly-created, and advanced inorganic chemistry completes the group. Four new men have been given fellowships in the reorganized department: Sam R. Bethea and Ervon J. Eggemann of Iowa in chemical engineering, and James Holmes of Georgia and William R Purcell of Mattoon, Ill., chemistry.

This is the second article dated September 3rd (yesterday's post, Professor A. C. Chandler, was about a Biology professor). There seems to be a science theme to day. I doubt new courses in any department at Rice would make the local newspapers today. It's interesting to think that type of information was worth of a newspaper article back then. Today, we may hear about new innovative programs at universities, but not a minor expansion of courses in a small department nor a trip to a conference by a conference by one professor.   

Remember Professor Pattie from the psychology department? The one Ethel wrote about in an article earlier the same week which I shared on the debout of this blog? Yes, the assistant professor who ran off to marry a student? Well, I was curious about him, and decided to look up the "scandalous" couple in the Rice Yearbook, the Campanile. There he sits at the bottom of the page. His bride, Miss Whatley is conspicuously missing from the Sophomore class where she reportedly belonged. I hope to find her in the future!

A page from Campanile, Rice Institute Yearbook 1938
Assistant Professor Dr. Frank A Pattie, Jr. bottom right.
(Click to Enlarge) U.S. School Yearbooks [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Various school yearbooks from across the United States.


  1. Quite a university she attended from what I can read.

    1. We are getting an interesting point of you of the Institue are we!

  2. Very brave of her to be a Chemistry student in 1939. And Frank Pattie does look somewhat sleazy, to me--poor Miss Whately. Is Ethel Bloomfield that beautiful woman you wrote about lately who married and divorced three times? She must have been too independent for the times!

    1. I don't know Mariann, I think marrying your student wasn't quite frowned upon back in the days. He ended up keeping his job. It just shows us how times have changed.
      As Ethel, my grandmother, yes, she is the same Ethel I wrote about who married and divorced three times. This new blog is dedicated to her years at Rice (pre marriage #1). Not only was she brave to study Chemistry as a woman in 1939, but she was by far the youngest in her class. She enrolled at Rice before she turned 15. I don't think she meant to be independent for her times. She really tried to fit in, and being so young, it was hard. Her circumstances shaped her. She had many regrets and didn't give herself the credit she deserved. We always loved her and admired her accomplishments. This blog is truly a journey to get to know her story from the early years.


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