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The Sonett Building was originally the Student Health Center. I can remember coming here when I was sick when I was a student. They recently got a bunch of money from the state for building things, so they built a nice new Health Center over on Sixth Street. For the first couple years, they put a sign out front: “The Health Center has moved. If you are sick, here is a map of where you should go.”
This place was all doctors’ offices. I think this particular office was a dentist’s office, because there’s a shadow on the floor here that looks like it’s from a dentist’s chair, and there were those two little posters on the ceiling trying to tell you to take good care of your teeth.
There was a sink in all of the offices and they never took them out. We had to fix them up ourselves. They gave us paint and patching plaster—it looked horrible when we first got over here. The plaster was all broken—you know, 30 years of wear-and-tear.
Lyle went around and took everybody’s sink out for everybody, except for me, because I kind of like the idea of having a sink. It’s handy. Each of us got one of those pairs, an office-office and an exam room office. We turned it into various kinds of things. It’s turned out rather nicely, and I kind of enjoy this office. It’s pretty good.
They renovated the front part of the medical center completely, because those are guys that have an operating mission so they’re loaded with money.
That’s the HiRISE group that’s doing that telescope over Mars and taking fabulous pictures. They get money printing out of their pockets, so they’ve got a really nice facility there. We got the leftovers. But it’s pretty nice; I can’t say I want to complain.
The myth has always been, ever since we were down at Lyle’s Garage on Ajo Way, that they’re going to expand more space in the Lunar Lab main building, the Kuiper, and then we’ll be over there. It’s never happened and I’m sure it never will.
Physically we have definitely evolved. We’ve expanded to a huge extent, both in terms of the size of the infrastructure that we have, the buildings, and in terms of the number of people we have working here. I’ve seen that going on around me; I’ve seen my windows be walled in; I’ve seen my office get walled in because of the construction around me. I think overall it’s a very positive thing. We have more spacecraft missions, and we’re bringing in more money for the University and I guess you could say the City of Tucson as well.
We have a pretty dominant position in the field now, and we’re regarded as one of the leaders. Planetary science came into being as a distinct discipline, during the period that the Department here was developing, and the Laboratory. Basically the Laboratory helped create the discipline of planetary sciences.
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Department of Planetary Sciences
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
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