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The original building was constructed with no classrooms. No teaching was to take place here. The Lunar and Planetary Laboratory was a pure research organization within this University. No one taught until the mid-seventies when the University wanted to make the stand-alone research organizations—Steward Observatory, the Lunar Lab, other places like that—participate more in the education program. When the new building was built, the addition, that’s where all our classrooms are.
Now NASA would look back on that and say that’s silly, because education and research are so important to couple, but back then, it was a very introverted view. NASA needed this place for research and didn’t want it encumbered with education. And the University said fine. We want the visibility, the prestige, and everything that comes with a research institution, and you don’t have to teach.
Kuiper was instrumental in defining, at least initially, what the Department of Planetary Science would be. But he died before it came to fruition. It was others that picked it up—but they picked up the pieces that he was already trying to put together.
The Department was created with the intent of just training PhDs. Looking back on it, it was still a privileged place to work in that we were somewhat immunized from students; only the best and the brightest of the grad students.
I started out as a member of a research group headed by Lyle Broadfoot at Kitt Peak National Observatory. I joined that very late in 1972. That group moved, as a group, first to the University of Southern California, although we were still housed in Tucson. That was our umbrella administrative organization. A few years later a number of us in the group moved to the Lunar and Planetary Lab.
At that time I was working on the Voyager ultraviolet spectrometer. Lyle was the Principal Investigator for that. I originally came on the project to work on the detector development. After the Voyager launched in 1977, I stayed on and became involved in the science.
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Department of Planetary Sciences
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
1629 E. University Blvd.
Tucson AZ 85721
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