Science for the New Millennium

It was the first “flash mob supercomputer” event in world history. On April 3, 2004, more than 350 students, community volunteers, and faculty members from the computer science department at the University of San Francisco organized a project in USF’s Koret and Recreation Center that linked 669 individual computers to a network capable of performing 180 billion mathematical operations per second. A gym inside the Koret Center was transformed into what looked like a computer warehouse, with rows of machines, supplied by volunteers from all over the city, sitting on tables. The computers were linked with thousands of feet of cables and powered by a 300-kilowatt generator outside the building. The event was covered in more than 200 media outlets worldwide, including in the New York Times, which described the proceedings in a front-page story. Gregory Benson, USF associate professor of computer science, originated the name “flash mob computing” and first proposed the idea of flash mob computers. Pat Miller, an adjunct computer science professor at USF, helped develop the project as an extension of his class on Do-It-Yourself Supercomputers, and John Witchel, a USF computer science graduate student, turned the project into his master’s thesis. Although the voluntary instantaneous network did not generate enough computer power to rank among the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers, it was considered by observers to be a successful first-time experiment. According to Professor Benson, “It was both an academic research experiment and a social experiment…. We proved that people will come together in a revolutionary way to work on hard scientific problems.”

On April 3, 2004, more than 350 students, community volunteers, and faculty members from the computer science department at the University of San Francisco organized the first “flash mob supercomputer” event in history, linking 669 individual computers to a network capable of performing 180 billion mathematical operations per second. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

On April 3, 2004, more than 350 students, community volunteers, and faculty members from the computer science department at the University of San Francisco organized the first “flash mob supercomputer” event in history, linking 669 individual computers to a network capable of performing 180 billion mathematical operations per second. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

 

At the end of the spring semester of 2003, Stanley Nel left his Continue reading

Global Science

In Antarctica, about 1,000 miles from the South Pole, there is an ice-covered lake 1.3 miles long that receives snowmelt from glaciers in the nearby Ringer Valley and from the slopes of Mount Swinford. During part of the year, the area around the lake is inhabited by penguins. The lake is named Lake Karentz, after Deneb Karentz, who began her USF career in 1991 and is currently a professor of biology and environmental science. Her research has been so significant in understanding the world’s southernmost continent that in 2007, the U.S. Board of Geographic Names designated the lake in her honor. Dr. Karentz’s research focuses on the ultraviolet photobiology of marine organisms, and includes identifying strategies for protection from UV exposure and understanding mechanisms for the repair of UV-induced DNA damage. Her research has been critical in evaluating the ecological implications of ozone depletion in Antarctica, where she has conducted research for more than 25 years. Professor Karentz has worked at Palmer and McMurdo Stations in Antarctica and on board research ships around the continent, and she has involved students from across the world in her research, including undergraduates from USF. She has also taught integrated biology courses in Antarctica, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Professor Karentz has authored numerous scientific publications and presented her findings at national and international conferences. In 2011, she received her most recent NSF grant for $229,625 for a project titled “Functional Genomics, and Physiological Ecology of Seasonal Succession in Antarctic Phytoplankton: Adaptations to Light and Temperature.” In collaboration with the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Nevada, Professor Karentz is investigating the genomic basis of the physiological and ecological transition of Antarctic marine phytoplankton from a cold dark winter to a warmer, brighter spring. Since 2011, Professor Karentz has served as an advisor to the U.S. government delegation to the Antarctic Treaty Meetings, and in 2014, she was awarded a supplement to her NSF grant to enable her to continue to attend future meetings of the Committee on Environmental Protection, an advisory committee to the Antarctic Treaty System. Among her many honors, Professor Karentz is a recipient of USF’s Distinguished Research Award.

Bethany Goodrich (left), class of 2011; Austin Gajewski (center), class of 2013; and Deneb Karentz, USF professor of biology and environmental science, collect phytoplankton samples from a hole they cut in the ice covering the Antarctic Ocean. Professor Karentz has been conducting research, often with her students, and teaching in Antarctica for more than 20 years. Deneb Karentz has a lake named after her in Antarctica in honor of her contributions to understanding the world’s southernmost continent. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Bethany Goodrich (left), class of 2011; Austin Gajewski (center), class of 2013; and Deneb Karentz, USF professor of biology and environmental science, collect phytoplankton samples from a hole they cut in the ice covering the Antarctic Ocean. Professor Karentz has been conducting research, often with her students, and teaching in Antarctica for more than 20 years. Deneb Karentz has a lake named after her in Antarctica in honor of her contributions to understanding the world’s southernmost continent. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

During the 1990s, USF science and math faculty members brought considerable prestige to their university on a national and international level. On July 13 and 14, 1994, the United States won the International Mathematical Olympiad in Hong Kong with an unprecedented perfect score, surpassing 80 other countries, including China, which had dominated the event for five years. The U.S. team was coached by three of the nation’s leading math educators, including Paul Zeitz, then an assistant professor of mathematics at USF, who had received his Ph.D. in mathematics from UC Berkeley just two years earlier. As a New York high school student, Paul Zeitz had been on the first U.S. Mathematical Olympiad team in 1974, and at age 16, he won first place in the Westinghouse Talent Search. Twenty years later, in April of 1994, Dr. Zeitz organized USF’s first Bay Area Math Meet (BAMM), attended by 150 students from 16 high schools. In 2002, Professor Zeitz, then chair of USF’s math department, received the Northern California Award for Distinguished University Teaching of Mathematics from the Mathematics Association of America (MAA), and the following year he was honored with the MAA’s national teaching award, the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award. In 2005, Professor Zeitz organized The San Francisco Math Circle, a USF-based math club specifically designed for urban school children in the sixth through tenth grades. Zeitz recruited hundreds of students for the program from schools in the less affluent neighborhoods of San Francisco and Daly City who might not otherwise have had access to afterschool enrichment programs. Currently a full professor of mathematics, Zeitz has published a book, The Art and Craft of Problem Solving, given numerous conference presentations, and continues to pursue his overriding interest in mathematical problem solving and the promotion of an Eastern European-inspired problem-solving culture in the United States. Toward that goal, he produced a series of video lectures for the Teaching Company on problem solving.

Paul Zeitz, a national award-winning professor of mathematics, has organized math programs for high school students, written a book on mathematical problem solving, and produced a series of video lectures on the same topic. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Paul Zeitz, a national award-winning professor of mathematics, has organized math programs for high school students, written a book on mathematical problem solving, and produced a series of video lectures on the same topic. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Claire Castro received her B.A. in botany from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. in chemistry from UCLA, where her dissertation on the synthesis of nucleoside analogs won the prestigious Continue reading

Preparing Students for Life

She was the first person in her family to go to college. Her mother was an immigrant from Mexico, and with the help of an aunt, she raised the girl in San Francisco after her birth. Her mother was not sure she could afford college for her daughter, but the University of San Francisco put together a financial aid package that included institutional aid, federal Pell grants, work study, and subsidized loans, making it possible for Sonia Lomeli to pursue her dream of earning a university degree and preparing for medical school. While at USF, Sonia excelled in all of her classes, both in the sciences and the non-sciences. She was so respected by her science faculty that they made her a teaching assistant in her senior year. The day her stellar Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores arrived at the office of Alan Ziajka, then USF’s Pre-Professional Health Committee chair, he ran to the Harney Science Center where Sonia was teaching to give her the wonderful news. Through tears of joy, Sonia shouted, “I am going to medical school!” Sonia graduated from USF in December of 1997, and in the fall of 1998, she did indeed enroll in one of the most prestigious medical schools in the nation, the UCSF School of Medicine. Sonia Lomeli Bonifacio, M.D., is now a physician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, specializing in neonatal–perinatal medicine, and is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the UCSF Medical Center. She is married with two children. Dreams can come true.

Sonia Lomeli Bonifacio, M.D., graduated from USF in 1997, received her medical degree from the UCSF School of Medicine, and is currently a physician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, specializing in neonatal–perinatal medicine. She is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at the UCSF Medical Center. UCSF SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Sonia Lomeli Bonifacio, M.D., graduated from USF in 1997, received her medical degree from the UCSF School of Medicine, and is currently a physician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, specializing in neonatal–perinatal medicine. She is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at the UCSF Medical Center. UCSF SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Among USF’s living alumni there are more than 400 physicians, 165 dentists, 160 scientists, and 890 computer scientists. Other USF alumni who went to medical school and became physicians include Dr. Edward Chow (’59), a San Francisco internist who served as the executive director of the Chinese Community Health Care Association and Continue reading

Changing Course

The University of San Francisco and its science programs witnessed significant changes during the administration of John Lo Schiavo, S.J., whose presidency spanned the years from 1977 to 1991. Following USF’s economic crisis of the early and mid-1970s (see vignette #25), financial stability was restored, the longstanding cumulative debt of the university was eliminated, and beginning in 1980, every annual budget under Fr. Lo Schiavo was balanced. The REACH capital campaign was launched in 1978, and when the campaign ended in 1982, it had brought in $26.8 million, making it the largest and most successful capital campaign in the institution’s history up to that time. USF acquired the Lone Mountain Campus in 1978 and built the Koret Health and Recreation Center in 1989 with funds raised by another capital campaign. The university’s endowment grew during this period from $4.6 million in May 1976 to $38.7 million in May 1991. Overall student enrollment during Fr. Lo Schiavo’s administration increased almost ten percent, from 6,236 students in the fall of 1976 to 6,853 in the fall of 1991, though the number of science majors continued its downward trend, from 673 in the fall of 1976 to 500 in the fall of 1991. To try to bolster enrollment, several new academic programs, including in the sciences, were added during the 1980s.

In the 1980s, Harney Plaza with its fountain in front of the Harney Science Center was a major gathering point for students, serving as an outdoor venue for speeches, concerts, rallies, and other university events. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

In the 1980s, Harney Plaza with its fountain in front of the Harney Science Center was a major gathering point for students, serving as an outdoor venue for speeches, concerts, rallies, and other university events. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

The graduate program in environmental management began in the Office of Continuing Education in 1977 under the leadership of Joseph Petulla, who authored eight books and numerous articles on environmental management and obtained several private and federal grants for the program. The master’s in environmental management became a mainstay of the College of Professional Studies (the successor to the Office of Continuing Education) before it was transferred to the College of Arts and Sciences in 1987. Petulla, with the support of biology professors R. James Brown and William Jordan (see vignette #25), greatly expanded the program and took it abroad to Europe, China, and the Philippines. By the fall of 1991, enrollment in the environmental management master’s program stood at 131 students, up from 88 students in the fall of 1987. The program met the needs of environmental specialists in industry, government, and the private sector, and could be completed by professionals as they continued their employment. The curriculum provided students with knowledge of the scientific, technical, legal, economic, and public policy components of environmental management associated with air and water quality, solid and liquid waste management, energy, land use, and environmental health. Students could also take environmental engineering electives and were required to complete an original project leading to a master’s thesis in a particular area of concentration. The program faculty maintained close ties with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, and various other federal, state, and local environmental agencies that employed many of the program’s graduates. This new master’s degree program was added to the existing repertoire of graduate programs in the sciences, including the master’s degrees offered in biology, chemistry, and computer science. Graduate enrollment in the sciences increased from 32 students in the fall of 1976 to 131 in the fall of 1991, with most of that increase in the environmental management program.

During the 1980s, USF students had ample opportunity to work with what were then “state-of-the-art” computers. As technology has changed, so have the university’s technological resources for students. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

During the 1980s, USF students had ample opportunity to work with what were then “state-of-the-art” computers. As technology has changed, so have the university’s technological resources for students. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

The 1980s witnessed other programmatic changes in the sciences at USF. In the fall of 1987, the College of Arts and Sciences launched an undergraduate major in environmental sciences, which was closely connected to the master’s program in environmental management. The undergraduate students pursued an integrated and interdisciplinary curriculum in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and environmental management, culminating in a senior research project designed to underpin graduate work or a career associated with air and water quality management, hazardous waste management, environmental health, or energy and land use management. In the biology major, an electron microscopy emphasis was added to prepare students for graduate study in cell and molecular biology, for other graduate disciplines in the life sciences, and for positions in academic, medical, or industrial laboratories. Concurrently, a molecular biology emphasis was added to augment students’ training for graduate work in genetics or molecular biology, or for positions in biotechnology laboratories and related fields. In the fall of 1986, the college launched a major in computer engineering (derived from a former emphasis in that content area) to prepare students to work in the rapidly developing computer industry, with a focus on the design and development of computer hardware systems. The curriculum integrated course work from computer engineering, mathematics, computer science, and physics. In September 1988, the computer science program was among the first 65 in the nation to receive national accreditation at the undergraduate level by the Computer Science Commission of the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board (CSAB). In cooperation with USF’s McLaren College of Business, the mathematics department in the College of Arts and Sciences developed a bachelor’s in mathematics with a business foundations emphasis, designed for students wishing to pursue a business career or to enroll in an MBA degree program. By the fall semester of 1991, there were 369 undergraduate students majoring in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and environmental science—a significant decrease, however, from the 641 undergraduate science majors in the fall of 1976, a decline only partially offset by the increase in graduate science students.

In 1873, Andrew Hallidie, a Scottish immigrant, wire rope manufacturer, and operator of cable transport devices in the mines of Northern California, gave the first public demonstration of a device he had invented for the steep streets of San Francisco: a cable-operated streetcar. By the 1880s, cable car lines extended for 112 miles on eight different lines throughout San Francisco. They were almost entirely phased out after World War II, but in 1955, with only a few miles of cable car lines left, the citizens of San Francisco voted to save them, and in 1964, the San Francisco cable car system was declared a National Historic Landmark. In this photo from the mid-1980s, USF students enjoy riding on one of the city’s historic cable cars, as students still do today. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

In 1873, Andrew Hallidie, a Scottish immigrant, wire rope manufacturer, and operator of cable transport devices in the mines of Northern California, gave the first public demonstration of a device he had invented for the steep streets of San Francisco: a cable-operated streetcar. By the 1880s, cable car lines extended for 112 miles on eight different lines throughout San Francisco. They were almost entirely phased out after World War II, but in 1955, with only a few miles of cable car lines left, the citizens of San Francisco voted to save them, and in 1964, the San Francisco cable car system was declared a National Historic Landmark. In this photo from the mid-1980s, USF students enjoy riding on one of the city’s historic cable cars, as students still do today. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

During the 1980s, several outstanding faculty members joined the science programs at USF, and two of those individuals soon began administering the College of Arts and Sciences. Before coming to USF in 1981, Carl Naegele was a program director at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C., associate professor of physics at Michigan State University, and research associate and director of premedical physics at Cornell University, where he earned his Ph.D. in physics. At USF, Naegele taught physics and computer science and served as associate dean of the sciences, receiving the Leadership Award from the faculty and staff of the science division for his work. In 1986, he was appointed dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. As dean, Naegele reorganized the College of Arts and Sciences into three major divisions, each with an associate dean: Maureen O’Sullivan, professor of psychology, was named associate dean for the arts; Stanley Nel, associate professor of mathematics, was selected to be associate dean for the sciences; and Kim Summerhays, professor of chemistry, became associate dean for graduate programs and support services. Naegele also explored the feasibility of offering new graduate programs in the college to offset the decline in undergraduate enrollment. In 1989, for example, Naegele commissioned a marketing study by Alan Ziajka, then assistant vice president for academic affairs, on the viability of offering a master’s degree in sports and fitness management, a program initiative first proposed by George McGlynn, professor of physical education. Over the next several years, this program and other graduate programs were successful in bringing many new students to the college. In addition, freshman enrollment in the college began to increase during the last two years of Dean Naegele’s administration, from 238 first-time and transfer freshmen in the fall of 1987 to 321 by the fall of 1989. In May 1990, Naegele resigned as dean to return to teaching physics and computer science. In 1994, Professor Naegele, in his capacity as director of the USF Science Teacher Institute, and Clifton Albergotti, physics department chair, received a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund a project to introduce Bay Area high school physics teachers to the use of computers. In 2005, Carl Naegele died at age 66 of complications associated with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Carl Naegele began his career at USF in 1981, teaching physics and computer science. He served as associate dean for the sciences, and in 1986, he was appointed dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, a position he held until May 1990, when he returned to his professorship in physics and computer science. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Carl Naegele began his career at USF in 1981, teaching physics and computer science. He served as associate dean for the sciences, and in 1986, he was appointed dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, a position he held until May 1990, when he returned to his professorship in physics and computer science. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Stanley Nel came to USF in 1983 as an assistant professor of mathematics. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure and later to full professor, and he chaired the mathematics department and served as associate dean for the sciences before becoming the college’s dean in 1990 following Carl Naegele’s resignation. In 1986, Nel was named the outstanding faculty member in the sciences by the college’s faculty development committee. Two years later, he was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop an applied mathematics computing laboratory for the college. A Rhodes Scholar, Stanley Nel did his undergraduate work at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where he also received his Ph.D. in 1980. As an undergraduate and graduate student, Nel specialized in applied mathematics, mathematical physics, and cosmology. His doctoral dissertation was titled Observational Space-Times, and he subsequently published numerous articles on his specialties in peer-reviewed journals, including his research in observational cosmology. In 1985, he was the only representative from a Catholic institution to join 19 other internationally known researchers at the “Theory and Observational Limits of Cosmology” conference sponsored by the Vatican Observatory and hosted by Pope John Paul II. Stanley Nel served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1990 to 2003, a period of significant growth in student enrollment, faculty recruitment, and program development. While he was dean, Nel served on several critical management committees at the university, and in 2003, he was appointed USF’s first vice president for international relations.

Stanley Nel began his career at USF as an assistant professor of mathematics in 1983. He quickly advanced to become department chair for mathematics, a tenured professor, and associate dean for the sciences before his selection as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1990. While Nel was dean, the college witnessed significant growth in student enrollment, increased faculty recruitment, and considerable program development. In 2003, he was appointed USF’s vice president for international relations. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Stanley Nel began his career at USF as an assistant professor of mathematics in 1983. He quickly advanced to become department chair for mathematics, a tenured professor, and associate dean for the sciences before his selection as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1990. While Nel was dean, the college witnessed significant growth in student enrollment, increased faculty recruitment, and considerable program development. In 2003, he was appointed USF’s vice president for international relations. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Benjamin Wells joined USF’s mathematics department in 1983 but was soon teaching mathematics and computer science courses as a member of both the math and computer science departments. For years he taught a popular freshman seminar that combined science and art. Professor Wells earned a bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. He won a John Templeton Foundation science and religion course prize in 1998 and held the USF Louise M. Davies Professorship in 1989. His research and publications covered a wide range of advanced topics in logic, algebra, and computing. He also did the foundational work for the Fusion Project, which used art to teach mathematics to at-risk San Francisco middle school students. The collaborative project involved the USF College of Arts and Sciences, the USF School of Education, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The project opened young students’ eyes to the prevalence of math in museum settings, brought art to the math classroom and math students to the art museum, and fostered students’ understanding of percentages, volumes, symmetry, and architectural elements. In 2009, Wells received the university’s Distinguished Research Award, two years before he retired as professor of mathematics and computer science emeritus.

Beginning in 1983, Benjamin Wells taught a wide range of mathematics and computer science courses at USF, until his retirement in 2011 as professor of mathematics and computer science emeritus. For years he taught a popular freshman seminar on science and art, and he also developed an innovative project to teach math through art to at-risk middle school students in San Francisco. In 2009, Wells was the recipient of the university’s Distinguished Research Award. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Beginning in 1983, Benjamin Wells taught a wide range of mathematics and computer science courses at USF, until his retirement in 2011 as professor of mathematics and computer science emeritus. For years he taught a popular freshman seminar on science and art, and he also developed an innovative project to teach math through art to at-risk middle school students in San Francisco. In 2009, Wells was the recipient of the university’s Distinguished Research Award. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

After receiving his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, Jeff Buckwalter began his career at USF in the computer science department in 1982. He is currently an associate professor of computer science and also serves as the director of the Dual Degree Program in Teacher Education. He teaches undergraduate and graduate computer network courses, and his current research interests include performance prediction of supercomputers. Professor Buckwalter has led numerous professional seminars on data communication, network design, and frame relay computer networking. He authored the book Frame Relay: Technology and Practice and the publication “Queuing Network Models of Performance of High End Computing Systems” for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He has also written training materials for Sprint and a frame relay seminar manual for Business Communication Review.

Jeff Buckwalter is currently an associate professor of computer science at USF and director of the Dual Degree Program in Teacher Education. He teaches undergraduate and graduate computer networking courses and has published in the areas of frame relay computer networking, network design, and data communication. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Jeff Buckwalter is currently an associate professor of computer science at USF and director of the Dual Degree Program in Teacher Education. He teaches undergraduate and graduate computer networking courses and has published in the areas of frame relay computer networking, network design, and data communication. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Jeff Curtis joined the chemistry department in 1983, after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. At USF, Curtis rose through the ranks to become a tenured professor and later chair of the department. He obtained a three-year $109,000 NSF grant to study the fundamental nature of electron transfer between molecules, and another NSF grant for $135,000 to support USF undergraduate and graduate students’ research in chemistry. Professor Curtis has presented numerous professional papers, often co-authored with his students, and has published a wide range of peer-reviewed journal articles, also frequently co-written with his students. His major areas of research are in inorganic chemistry and include optical and thermal electron-transfer processes, redox kinetics and their electrolyte effects, solvent-solute interactions, and second coordination sphere interactions. In 1998, Jeff Curtis received the university’s Distinguished Research Award.

Jeff Curtis began his career at USF in 1983 and is currently a professor of chemistry. Professor Curtis has obtained major NSF grants, published and presented numerous scientific papers with his students, and received the university’s Distinguished Research Award. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Jeff Curtis began his career at USF in 1983 and is currently a professor of chemistry. Professor Curtis has obtained major NSF grants, published and presented numerous scientific papers with his students, and received the university’s Distinguished Research Award. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Tristan Needham studied physics at Merton College, Oxford University, before enrolling in that venerable institution’s Mathematical Institute, where he studied black holes under the supervision of the legendary Sir Roger Penrose, the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics. After receiving his B.A. in physics and his D.Phil. in mathematics from Oxford University, Dr. Needham joined the faculty at the University of San Francisco in 1989, gained tenure, and became a full professor of mathematics. His research focused on differential geometry, complex analysis, general relativity, and the history of science. His book, Visual Complex Analysis, published by Oxford University Press, won first prize in the National Jesuit Book Award Competition in 1997 for its innovative geometric approach, and it has since been translated into several languages. An earlier paper, “Geometry of Harmonic Functions,” derived from the same research that inspired his book, received the Mathematical Association of America’s Carl B. Allendoerfer Award. Needham’s research and teaching, like that of his mentor, Sir Roger Penrose, reflects the school of thought in the mathematical academic world that emphasizes visualization and geometry rather than abstract calculations as a way of understanding advanced mathematical concepts. Professor Needham has published many other professional papers, and in 1997, he received the university’s Distinguished Research Award. In April 2014, Needham invited his former supervisor, Sir Roger Penrose, to speak at USF. Needham is currently engaged in composing a new book, Visual Differential Geometry.

Tristan Needham, professor of mathematics, is an award-winning author whose work focuses on visualization and geometry to understand advanced mathematical concepts. He is the recipient of the university’s Distinguished Research Award. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Tristan Needham, professor of mathematics, is an award-winning author whose work focuses on visualization and geometry to understand advanced mathematical concepts. He is the recipient of the university’s Distinguished Research Award. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Peter Pacheco also began his career at USF in 1989, after receiving his Ph.D. from Florida State University. He served as chair of the department of computer science and is currently a tenured professor of computer science. Pacheco’s main research interests include parallel computing, algorithms, and numerical analysis. His book, Parallel Programming with MPI is an introduction to programming parallel systems. He has also written An Introduction to Parallel Programming, and a User’s Guide to MPI, along with several papers for professional journals and conferences. Professor Pacheco received a National Science Foundation Grant to conduct research on circuit simulation, and he was involved in the development of the MPI Standard for message-passing. During the 1990s, Pacheco directed the USF Math Lab, a nontraditional setting in which a select group of highly motivated students conducted research on what were then characterized as supercomputers. Professor Pacheco has also worked in the area of computational neuroscience, and in concert with many of his students, developed a collection of programs, Parallel Neurosys, for the simulation of large networks of biologically accurate neurons on parallel computers.

Peter Pacheco, professor of computer science, works closely with students in developing computer programs and in conducting research that has been published in books, articles, and conference papers. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Peter Pacheco, professor of computer science, works closely with students in developing computer programs and in conducting research that has been published in books, articles, and conference papers. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Tami Spector began her career in the chemistry department at USF in 1989 and is currently a professor of organic chemistry. She received her B.A. from Bard College and her Ph.D. from Dartmouth College, and she was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota. She has also been a visiting researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, the California Institute of Technology, and the Huntington Library. Trained as a physical organic chemist, her past research has focused on fluorocarbons, strained ring organics, and the molecular dynamics and free energy calculations of biomolecules. Professor Spector’s current research involves molecular aesthetics, the visual image of chemistry, the intersections of chemistry and contemporary visual art, and nanoaesthetics. She began this work in 1997, when she was awarded the USF National Endowment for the Humanities Chair for her research on the Molecular Aesthetics of Disease. In 2005, she served as the Louis M. Davies Forum Professor for the course “The Material Body: Medicine and Aesthetics in American Culture.” Spector has published almost 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals and scholarly books, served as an editor for several journals, and co-curated “Chemistry in Art: A Virtual Exhibition.” She is on the HYLE editorial board and serves on the governing and editorial boards of theLeonardo/International Society for Art, Science and Technology. She currently co-hosts the bimonthly USF Leonardo Arts Sciences Evening Rendezvous’ Program (LASER), is the co-editor of the ongoing special section “Art and Atoms” for the Leonardo Journal, and is the editor of an e-book of the same name. She was a host and participant in the MIT Press podcast Art and Atoms. Professor Spector is a recipient of the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

Tami Spector (on the left), professor of organic chemistry, in a chemistry lab with one of her current students: Amera Al-Faleh, a senior majoring in chemistry. Professor Spector teaches organic chemistry and molecular gastronomy. Her current research focuses on molecular aesthetics, the visual image of chemistry, the intersections of chemistry and contemporary visual art, and nanoaesthetics. Dr. Spector is a recipient of the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award. PAUL MORRILL, UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO

Tami Spector (on the left), professor of organic chemistry, in a chemistry lab with one of her current students: Amera Al-Faleh, a senior majoring in chemistry. Professor Spector teaches organic chemistry and molecular gastronomy. Her current research focuses on molecular aesthetics, the visual image of chemistry, the intersections of chemistry and contemporary visual art, and nanoaesthetics. Dr. Spector is a recipient of the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award. PAUL MORRILL, UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO

The University of San Francisco’s 1988 Self-Study for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) highlighted many of the strengths of the science programs in the College of Arts and Sciences at the university:

 

In addition to individual guidance and a balanced curriculum preparing students for the future, the College of Arts and Sciences cites among the advantages of an educational experience in the College its respected faculty, who are dedicated to teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Many of the faculty are international experts in their fields. Students have the opportunity to conduct individual research at the undergraduate level, and are encouraged to pursue independent research and participate in significant faculty research projects. Students often work with faculty to co-write articles for scientific journals and accompany professors to presentations. Further, opportunities are offered in respected campus-based research institutes and organizations, including the Physics Research Laboratory, the Institute of Chemical Biology, a NASA study, and the Applied Mathematics Laboratory. Several of the majors provide opportunities for part-time employment and internships and research assistantships which provide the opportunity to apply theory to practice and also provide relevant career orientation.

 

The 1988 WASC self-study also noted the changing demographics of the USF student population. Once drawn predominantly from San Francisco, the student population was increasingly coming from a wider geographical area covering many states and countries. An increasing number of international students were entering the university, especially in the sciences. Looking into their educational crystal ball, the writers of the 1988 self-study predicted an increase in the number of students coming to the United States from the Pacific Rim countries, especially from China. “China is opening its doors to the Western world and is seeking increased trade and education for its people,” the self-study asserted. “With an educational system far behind that of modern industrial societies, China will be seeking help from U.S. colleges. With the long history of Jesuit involvement in China, USF is prepared to assist China in achieving increased levels of education for its people.”

In the fall of 1989, there were 612 international students studying at USF, representing ten percent of the total student population of 6,028. Among the international students that fall semester, only 22 were from China. By the fall of 2013, there were 1,569 international students studying at USF, representing 15.5 percent of the total student population. Within the international student population in the fall of 2013, 934 students, or 59.5 percent, were from China. The writers of the 1988 WASC self-study were indeed prescient in their forecast.

Challenging Times

It was a challenging decade for higher education in the United States. During the 1970s, powerful economic, demographic, and political forces dramatically affected most of the nation’s colleges and universities. The Vietnam War continued until 1973, and in its wake the nation faced a huge war-related national debt, recession, and runaway inflation. Compounding the economic problems for all segments of the nation, colleges and universities also grappled with a decline in the number of traditional undergraduate students as the last cohort of children born immediately after World War II moved through the nation’s schools. Institutions of higher education were caught in a cycle of rising prices, national recession, and declining enrollment, and the University of San Francisco, including its sciences programs, was hard-hit by these external forces.

 The University of San Francisco as it appeared in 1969. This photo depicts the entire campus and much of the city of San Francisco looking east to Coit Tower and the San Francisco Bay. The tree-filled eastern slope of Lone Mountain (not purchased by USF until 1978) can be seen on the extreme left of this photo. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

The University of San Francisco as it appeared in 1969. This photo depicts the entire campus and much of the city of San Francisco looking east to Coit Tower and the San Francisco Bay. The tree-filled eastern slope of Lone Mountain (not purchased by USF until 1978) can be seen on the extreme left of this photo. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

USF’s financial situation was the major issue facing the institution during the 1970s. From the fall of 1970 to the fall of 1976, total USF student enrollment declined almost 15 percent, from 6,830 to 5,818 students. The university’s undergraduate science programs witnessed a modest two percent decline during this period, slipping from 655 to 641 students. Albert Jonsen, S. J., who served as USF’s president from 1969 to 1972, and William McInnes, S.J., who was president from 1972 to 1976, sought to address the mounting financial crisis and enrollment drop at USF. During the 1975–1976 fiscal year, USF faced a deficit of $491,000, with a $2.5 million cumulative debt. In the face of these challenges, Fr. McInnes instituted major budget cuts, wage freezes, and a large tuition increase. He also began the process of reducing the number of staff and faculty. The faculty at USF voted to unionize after initial negotiations with faculty representatives failed, and in 1975, the USF faculty association was born. Faculty unions were also being established at many of the nation’s other colleges and universities that were facing similar economic problems and potential layoffs. At USF, the faculty and staff cuts proposed by Fr. McInnes created major turmoil within the university. In October 1976, at the request of the USF Board of Trustees, Fr. McInnes resigned from the presidency, and he was replaced the next year by John Lo Schiavo, S.J., who began a 14-year tenure as president of USF. By the fall of 1979, two years into Fr. Lo Schiavo’s presidency, overall student enrollment had increased to 6,339, a 9 percent gain from the fall of 1976, although the undergraduate science enrollment during this period remained flat, standing at 637 students in the fall of 1979.

This 1971 photo shows the Harney Science Center (the center building with the large plaza, also named Harney, directly in front of it). To the right of Harney Plaza is University Center, completed in 1965. Classrooms, science laboratories, and the administrative offices of the College of Arts and Sciences were located in the Harney Science Center, completed in 1966. The building commemorated the generosity of the late Pauline and Charles Harney to USF and their lifelong friendship with its Jesuit community. Mr. Harney was a regent of USF and was responsible for many campus improvements. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

This 1971 photo shows the Harney Science Center (the center building with the large plaza, also named Harney, directly in front of it). To the right of Harney Plaza is University Center, completed in 1965. Classrooms, science laboratories, and the administrative offices of the College of Arts and Sciences were located in the Harney Science Center, completed in 1966. The building commemorated the generosity of the late Pauline and Charles Harney to USF and their lifelong friendship with its Jesuit community. Mr. Harney was a regent of USF and was responsible for many campus improvements. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Despite budget limitations, changes in the leadership of the university, and a modest decline in student enrollment, the science programs at USF continued to offer outstanding educational opportunities to students in the 1970s, made possible by stellar faculty. Many of the world-renowned faculty members from the immediate post-WWII era were still teaching at USF in 1970, including Francis Filice and Edward Kessel in biology; Mel Gorman, William Maroney, and Arthur Furst in Chemistry; and Karl Waider in physics (see vignette #21). During the late 1950s and 1960s, a number of new faculty members joined their ranks and established themselves as outstanding teachers and scholars during the 1970s and beyond. They included Robert Schooley and Lucy Treagan in biology; Robert Seiwald and Thomas Gruhn in chemistry; Eugene Benton, Clifton Albergotti, Phillip Applebaum, and Raymond Genolio in physics; Allan Cruse and Millianne Lehmann in mathematics; and James Haag in the new department of computer science (see vignette #24). The 1970s also witnessed the addition of several new science faculty members, who developed stellar careers as teachers, researchers, and role models in providing service to their university and to the community.

Michael Kudlick came to USF in 1974, having previously earned his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, served in the Navy, and worked in the private sector at Shell Development and at the Augmentation Research Center at SRI International. At SRI, Kudlick’s group contributed to the invention of the computer mouse and to the development of computer networking for the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, known as ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet. At USF, Kudlick rose quickly through the academic ranks to gain tenure and become a full professor of computer science, receiving USF’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1981. As chair of the department of computer science, he led his department through major curriculum changes for both the undergraduate and graduate degree programs. He organized several university-wide events related to computer science and served as the faculty advisor to USF’s chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery. Kudlick retired in 1997 as an emeritus professor of computer science. “Dr. Kudlick taught me how to think logically, to observe, and ask the right questions,” explained Alfred Chuang, class of 1982, founder and president of BEA Systems. Chuang credited Professor Kudlick with helping to prepare him for a career in computer science. In 2001, Chuang donated $2.5 million to USF to fund the construction of a state-of-the-art computer classroom named for Kudlick. “He showed me that the key to the creative process is melding one’s curiosity with an intense drive. He impressed upon me that there are never any short cuts to achievement. I’ve lived by these principles, and I am grateful that Dr. Kudick first modeled them for me.” The Michael Kudlick Computer Science Classroom serves as a lasting memorial to a superb USF professor who died in 2008.

Michael Kudlick, who joined the USF faculty in 1974, taught in the computer science department for 23 years, during which time he chaired the department and won the Distinguished Teaching Award. His legacy survives in a state-of-the art computer classroom named in his honor, funded by a major gift from his former student Alfred Chuang, who was inspired by Professor Kudlick’s teaching and mentoring. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Michael Kudlick, who joined the USF faculty in 1974, taught in the computer science department for 23 years, during which time he chaired the department and won the Distinguished Teaching Award. His legacy survives in a state-of-the art computer classroom named in his honor, funded by a major gift from his former student Alfred Chuang, who was inspired by Professor Kudlick’s teaching and mentoring. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Gary Stevens began his USF career in the biology department in 1970. When Stevens became department chair in 1972, he formed a committee of faculty members and administrators from various departments to advise students who hoped to attend medical, dental, pharmacy, optometry, or veterinarian schools after graduation. During the next several years, the pool of pre-professional students became increasingly diverse, including an ever-greater number of women and minorities. The committee, known as the Pre-Professional Health Committee (PPHC), created a file for each pre-professional student, collected transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation for those files, recommended that students obtain volunteer or job opportunities in health-related fields, wrote a “composite” committee letter of recommendation to professional schools for each qualified student; conducted mock interviews with students to prepare them for their professional school interviews, suggested specific professional schools based on student interests and abilities, and sponsored special events for pre-professional students, including award dinners and mentor nights with USF alumni who had become successful healthcare professionals. Although some organizations at USF, such as the Bio-Chem Club, had functioned from 1923 through the 1950s to promote opportunities for pre-medical students, the PPHC did everything possible to systematically increase the likelihood of student success in gaining admittance to a wide range of health-related professional schools. Professor Stevens stepped down as the PPHC chair in 1995, though he remains an active member of the committee. Alan Ziajka, assistant dean for academic services, chaired the committee from 1995 to 2000, followed by Mary Jane Niles, professor of biology, who currently provides stellar service as the PPHC chair. For decades, the University of San Francisco has significantly outperformed the national average in the number of its undergraduates who are accepted to highly competitive and selective medical and other professional schools. From 2001 to 2013, for example, 65.6 percent of USF students who went through the USF Pre-Professional Health Committee gained admittance to medical schools, whereas nationally, the acceptance rate during this period was only 45.0 percent.

Gary Stevens, who began teaching biology at USF in 1970, is shown here explaining the major structures of the brain to high school students at a USF science open house in October 1991. The event drew 245 students to the campus from 30 Bay Area high schools. Among his many achievements, Professor Stevens began the Pre-Professional Health Committee at USF, which to this day continues to help USF students gain entrance to medical, dental, pharmacy, optometry, and other professional schools. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Gary Stevens, who began teaching biology at USF in 1970, is shown here explaining the major structures of the brain to high school students at a USF science open house in October 1991. The event drew 245 students to the campus from 30 Bay Area high schools. Among his many achievements, Professor Stevens began the Pre-Professional Health Committee at USF, which to this day continues to help USF students gain entrance to medical, dental, pharmacy, optometry, and other professional schools. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Biology professor Paul Chien, born in Hong Kong, began his career at USF in 1973, after earning his Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine, and obtaining a postdoctoral fellowship at Caltech. He has authored 15 peer-reviewed articles to date on the physiology and ecology of intertidal organisms, the transport of amino acids and metal ions across cell membranes, invertebrate physiology, and toxicology, among other subjects. He has also given many international presentations, including in mainland China, where he has been involved in cooperative research projects, He twice served as biology department chair at USF, and he is well known for taking his students on field trips to nearby marine habitats in San Francisco and Mono Lake in the Sierras, as well as for leading student groups to China.

 

Paul Chien began teaching biology at USF in 1973, has published numerous scholarly articles, twice chaired the biology department, and is known for his student-centered approach to teaching, which frequently involves field trips to marine habitats. He is pictured here with USF students in 1997. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Paul Chien began teaching biology at USF in 1973, has published numerous scholarly articles, twice chaired the biology department, and is known for his student-centered approach to teaching, which frequently involves field trips to marine habitats. He is pictured here with USF students in 1997. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

John Cobley, a native of England, is a professor of chemistry at USF, where he began teaching in 1977 after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Bristol and postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California, San Francisco, and at the University of Dundee, Scotland. His fields of interest include the integration of ideas across disciplines in the natural sciences and biochemistry. He has published more than 15 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and he is currently working with some of his undergraduate students on a project concerning the molecular genetics of chromatic adaptation in the Cyanobacterium, Fremyelia diplosiphon. During the course of his career, John Cobley has directed the research of 27 graduate students working on their M.S. degrees in chemistry. To support his students’ work, Cobley has obtained numerous grants, including two grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Many of his undergraduate students were directly involved in his laboratory work and presented their findings at research conferences. In 1994, Professor Cobley won the university’s Distinguished Research Award, and in 2000, he was appointed a Visiting Professor at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris

John Cobley is a professor of chemistry at USF, where he began teaching in 1977. His interests include biochemistry, molecular genetics, and the integration of ideas across disciplines in the natural sciences. In 1994, he won the university’s Distinguished Research Award. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

John Cobley is a professor of chemistry at USF, where he began teaching in 1977. His interests include biochemistry, molecular genetics, and the integration of ideas across disciplines in the natural sciences. In 1994, he won the university’s Distinguished Research Award. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Kim Summerhays is currently professor of chemistry and computer science at USF, having started his teaching career at USF in 1973. Summerhays received his bachelor’s degree from USF, his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, and a postdoctoral fellowship from the University of California, Irvine. His academic interests include physical chemistry, software engineering, and the history of natural science. His research interests focus on measurement uncertainty, error propagation, and industrial automation. In 2011, he co-authored a paper titled “Applications of Computer Simulation in Coordinate Measuring Uncertainty Evaluation” in the International Journal of Metrology.

Kim Summerhays began his teaching career at USF in 1973, and he is currently a professor of chemistry and computer science. His academic and research interests include physical chemistry, software engineering, the history of natural science, measurement uncertainty, error propagation, and industrial automation. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Kim Summerhays began his teaching career at USF in 1973, and he is currently a professor of chemistry and computer science. His academic and research interests include physical chemistry, software engineering, the history of natural science, measurement uncertainty, error propagation, and industrial automation. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Other science faculty members who began their careers at USF during the 1970s and had a lasting impact on the university include R. James Brown, Carol Chihara, Thomas Zavortink, Patricia Schulz, William Jordan, and Theodore Jones. R. James Brown, who started teaching at USF in 1970, won the Distinguished Research Award in 1986 and the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1991. Both awards are given by the USF Faculty Association and the University of San Francisco, and Professor Brown is one of only a handful of USF faculty members to have received both awards; each award is granted to only one faculty member per year. Professor Brown also directed the Institute of Chemical Biology after its founder, Arthur Furst, retired, and he developed the environmental sciences program into a separate department. Brown expanded the environmental management graduate program (founded by Joseph Petulla in the early 1980s in the College of Professional Studies) into Europe, China, and the Philippines, after the program was transferred to the College of Arts and Sciences in 1987. Carol Chihara taught molecular biology and genetics at USF from 1975 to 2001, when she retired as professor emerita of biology. In addition to publishing numerous research papers on topics such as protein expression in Drosophila larvae, she obtained several National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, and she established the first molecular biology lab under a grant from the Fletcher Jones Foundation. At USF, the Carol Chihara Award is given each fall and spring to three or four undergraduate biology majors who personify academic excellence. Thomas Zavortink taught biology at USF from 1975 to 2001, when he retired as professor emeritus of biology. While at USF, he maintained his reputation as an international authority on mosquitoes, published scores of articles on this specialty and other entomological topics as well, and edited the journal Mosquito Systematics. In 1984, he received the International John N. Belkin Award for furthering mosquito systematics. In 1991, Professor Zavortink was selected for the university’s Distinguished Research Award. Patricia Schulz taught biology at USF from 1978 to 2012, when she retired as professor emerita of biology. Professor Schulz, a specialist in the embryology of flowering plants, conducted research aimed at increasing wheat yields, enabling the grain to grow in areas where it previously could not. Her research, using the techniques of electron microscopy and cytochemistry, focused on the effect of special chemical compounds on wheat pollen formation. In 2003, Professor Schulz won the prestigious USF Sarlo Prize, which recognizes excellence in teaching and research premised on the moral values of the university’s Vision, Mission, and Values Statement. William Jordan began his teaching career at USF in 1973 and retired as professor of biology and environmental science emeritus in 2001. He served for a period as the associate dean of sciences and was one of the founding faculty members of the environmental sciences program at USF. Theodore Jones taught biochemistry at USF for 35 years, starting in 1970, and published on topics such as the membrane protein component of the lactose transport system of Escherichia coli. Jones retired in 2005 as professor emeritus of chemistry.

In 1977, the biology department received a CAUSE (Comprehensive Aid to Undergraduate Science Education) grant from the National Science Foundation, which provided for improvement in the department’s equipment and facilities and enabled the faculty, with the assistance of an outside evaluating firm (Nomos Institute), to conduct an intensive study of the biology curriculum. This study resulted in several major changes, including the introduction of a broader range of specialized courses into the curriculum at the upper-division level.

In the late 1970s, the mathematics department also revised its formerly highly structured course sequence to allow students to take more elective courses at the upper-division level. In addition, the 1970s witnessed the inclusion of human and ethical perspectives in almost all science courses, as well as the development of a larger range of interdisciplinary programs. In a 1980 self-study in preparation for an accreditation visit to the university by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the USF science programs were described as follows:

The primary strength of the science programs is a faculty dedicated to teaching and committed to scholarship. At least six textbooks and twenty lab manuals have been produced by this faculty in the last five years, and more than 115 articles have been published in the educational and research journals of the sciences in this same period. The high overall quality of facilities in Harney Science Center also provides vital support for the academic programs. Equipment available to the various departments has for the most part been adequate to sustain laboratory teaching at a sound level. 

During the 1970s, the sciences faculty at USF also continued the Jesuit tradition of service to the community. The self-study prepared for WASC in 1980 underscored that commitment:

The College of Science offers service to the public, especially on matters which contribute to good health and the quality of the environment. Virtually every faculty member has, either individually or jointly, contributed his or her services as expertise, interest, and need dictate. While most of the service activities are local or regional in nature, some are international in scope…. Subjective analysis suggests that Science faculty are very successful in providing a variety of valuable services to the public. Those service offered are consistent with and supportive of the University’s Mission and Goals Statement. The College of Science has a tradition of long-standing commitment to such service activities as: work experience and internship programs, La Raza, federally sponsored Head Start programs, science fairs for pre-college students, and special programs for high school science students.

From the beginning of the science programs at St. Ignatius College in 1863, through the 1970s, and up to and including our own time, the institution’s science faculty members have used their scientific knowledge to make their community and world a better place.

Alan Ziajka, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and University Historian
415/422-2846
ziajka@usfca.edu

Outer Space, Computers, and Chemical Biology

 

Launched on October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union’s Sputnik satellite revolutionized science, education, and computer technology throughout the world, and it had an immediate impact on political developments in the United States. NASA

Launched on October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union’s Sputnik satellite revolutionized science, education, and computer technology throughout the world, and it had an immediate impact on political developments in the United States. NASA

 

The chirps came from outer space and were detected by radio station receivers and other devices around the world. The noise, in the key of A minor, lasted three-tenths of a second; this was followed by a pause of equal length, and then by another three-tenths of a second of chirping. The strange sound pattern was repeated continuously throughout the night of October 4, 1957, and for several weeks thereafter. It came from a transmitter aboard a Soviet satellite, soon known to the world as Sputnik. It was possible to see Sputnik with the naked eye as it raced across the sky at 18,000 miles per hour in the early morning and late evening, when the sun was still close enough to the horizon to illuminate the satellite. It was about the size of a beach ball, silver in color, and weighed 184 pounds. A month later, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik II, a satellite with a much heavier payload that carried a dog named Laika, who became the first casualty of the space program when Sputnik II overheated and failed to detach from its booster. 

The launch of Sputnik had an enormous impact on the political, scientific, and educational history of the United States and Continue reading

Centennial

In October 1955, the University of San Francisco, the oldest institution of higher education in the city, celebrated a special birthday: one century had passed since the institution’s founding. St. Ignatius Academy, the antecedent of USF, first opened its doors on Market Street on October 15, 1855, though the first science courses (in chemistry) were not offered until 1863 at the renamed St. Ignatius College. In the fall of 1954, John Connolly, S.J., the newly appointed president of USF, had established an advisory committee to plan a series of celebratory events to be held in October 1955. Other regularly scheduled and special university events during 1955 and 1956 were adapted to the centennial celebration.

The University of San Francisco as it appeared in early 1955, the year of its centennial celebration. St. Ignatius Church, completed in 1914, is in the lower left of the photo, and to its right is Welch Hall (the Jesuit residence), built in 1921 and torn down in 1970. To the right of Welch Hall is the Liberal Arts Building, built in 1927, and later renamed Campion Hall and then Kalmanovitz Hall. In 1955, the Liberal Arts Building housed all of USF’s academic programs except for the School of Law, which was on the third floor of Gleeson Library, completed in 1950, and just north of Welch Hall. Some classes were held in barracks left over from World War II, as seen in the upper right of this photo. Phelan Hall, under construction in 1955, is outside of this image to the right. The Harney Science Center was not built until 1965, on the site of the parking lot to the right of Gleeson Library. The rest of the campus as we know it today was still in the planning or dreaming stage. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

The University of San Francisco as it appeared in early 1955, the year of its centennial celebration. St. Ignatius Church, completed in 1914, is in the lower left of the photo, and to its right is Welch Hall (the Jesuit residence), built in 1921 and torn down in 1970. To the right of Welch Hall is the Liberal Arts Building, built in 1927, and later renamed Campion Hall and then Kalmanovitz Hall. In 1955, the Liberal Arts Building housed all of USF’s academic programs except for the School of Law, which was on the third floor of Gleeson Library, completed in 1950, and just north of Welch Hall. Some classes were held in barracks left over from World War II, as seen in the upper right of this photo. Phelan Hall, under construction in 1955, is outside of this image to the right. The Harney Science Center was not built until 1965, on the site of the parking lot to the right of Gleeson Library. The rest of the campus as we know it today was still in the planning or dreaming stage. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

 

The anniversary year celebrations began with a centennial graduation on Sunday, June 11, 1955, at which 313 students received their degrees. The graduation exercises were held in the War Memorial Opera House on Van Ness Avenue. On October 10, 1955, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution honoring USF’s centennial milestone and noting that the institution had “spread the fame of San Francisco throughout the world by the activities of its students and graduates in the fields of sports, law, medicine, military science, and religion.” The local press also highlighted the USF centennial celebration. The San Francisco Chronicle published a Continue reading

New Directions, New Students

It must have been with a mixture of excitement and some anxiety that the first small group of female nursing students in the history of the University of San Francisco departed from St. Mary’s Hospital on the corner of Fulton and Shrader Streets, passed by St. Ignatius Church, and entered through the doors of the Liberal Arts Building on the USF campus to begin their science classes. Arriving on campus, these female nursing students were greeted by battalions of male students, many of them veterans of World War II funded by the G.I. Bill of Rights. It was the fall of 1948, and nursing students had begun taking science and liberal arts courses at USF after William Dunne, S.J., president of the university, approved a partnership with St. Mary’s Hospital to offer a nursing education program within a newly created Department of Nursing, housed in the College of Science.

When the USF nursing program was established in the College of Science in 1948, starched blouses, pinafores, and caps were required of nursing students, such as USF nursing student Sandy Mooring, pictured here. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES]

When the USF nursing program was established in the College of Science in 1948, starched blouses, pinafores, and caps were required of nursing students, such as USF nursing student Sandy Mooring, pictured here. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

The aim of the USF nursing curriculum in 1948, according to the USF catalog, was “to provide the necessary academic credit which, coupled with a three-year basic curriculum in Nursing in an accredited hospital, permits a student to obtain the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The degree is intended to furnish an academic background for Continue reading

The Postwar Science Faculty

The flat-footed common fly may not appear to most people to be the most exciting creature in the universe, but for University of San Francisco biology professor Edward Kessel, the insect was at the core of his research and captured the imaginations of his post-World War II science students and professional colleagues. By 1950, Kessel was the world’s leading expert on that species of fly (known scientifically as Platypezidae). Kessel’s interest in biology was sparked by the years he spent in subtropical Africa as the child of missionary parents. He captured birds in his parent’s mulberry orchard and frogs in a nearby swamp, kept a baby monkey as a pet, dug out three-inch-long queen termites and cooked them for dinner, and witnessed cobra-like snakes called black mambas invade the family farm and kill oxen with a single bite. At age ten, he won first prize in a South African contest for his cultivation of silkworms. In 1925, he received his bachelor’s in agriculture from the University of California, Berkeley, after publishing his first entomological article, “Silk Culture in California.” He later received his master of science and his doctorate in entomology from the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation was titled “The Embryology of Fleas,” and it was later published by the Smithsonian Institute.  Kessel began his career at USF in 1930 and retired in 1974 after 44 years of teaching and research. In 1955, he received a special USF faculty silver jubilarian award for his 25 years of distinguished “classroom teaching, scholarship, research and publication.”  During his career, he was the author of approximately 100 scientific publications and edited USF’s Wasmann Journal of Biology and the Proceedings of the California Academy of Science. For more than 30 years, he was associated with the California Academy of Sciences, where he edited more than 370 technical papers and served as associate curator of insects. During the course of his career, he contributed 23,167 insect specimens to the Academy, including 78 new species, 15 new genera, and two new subfamilies. With grants from the National Science Foundation, Kessel studied the flat-footed common fly in every state of the union except for Hawaii (where the species did not exist), and throughout Canada. Kessel was also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, and president of the Pacific Coast Academy of Sciences. His legacy continues at USF, which annually bestows the Edward L. Kessel Award on an undergraduate student with high potential for a professional career in the biological sciences.

 

Edward Kessel was a professor of biology at USF from 1930 to 1974. In addition to his award-winning teaching, he published some 100 scientific papers, edited hundreds of technical papers, served as associate curator of insects at the California Academy of Sciences, and became the world’s leading expert on the flat-footed common fly. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

Edward Kessel was a professor of biology at USF from 1930 to 1974. In addition to his award-winning teaching, he published some 100 scientific papers, edited hundreds of technical papers, served as associate curator of insects at the California Academy of Sciences, and became the world’s leading expert on the flat-footed common fly. UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO ARCHIVES

In the realm of physiological chemistry, few books of any era surpassed the impact of Harold Harper’s Physiological Chemistry (later Harper’s Biochemistry). In the late 1950s, his book went Continue reading

The War Ends

The Jesuit priest heard the warning sirens as a single bomber flew over the city, followed by an enormous explosion that shook the earth under him. He felt the concussion that blew in the doors, windows, and walls of his house. Staggering outside, he saw the city erupting in a ball of fire. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., originally from the Basque region of Spain, was living and doing missionary work on the outskirts of Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945, when in a blinding flash of death, destruction, and horror, an atomic bomb was dropped on the city by a United States B-29 bomber. The bomb initially killed 100,000 people and reduced the city to smoldering rubble. Almost 100,000 more later died from burns and radiation. A medical doctor by training, Fr. Arrupe helped as many of the victims of the atomic bomb as he could in the aftermath of the August 6 horror, saving approximately 150 lives. Three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, with equally destructive results, and the loss of an additional 75,000 lives outright. Burns and radiation later caused 75,000 more deaths among the people of Nagasaki. On August 16, the Japanese surrendered, and World War II was over.

Fr. Arrupe was working as a missionary in Japan when World War II broke out. At the outset of the war he was arrested and briefly imprisoned. After his release, he moved to Hiroshima to continue his missionary work. Once the war ended, Fr. Arrupe served as Superior of the Jesuits’ Japanese Province, and in 1965, he was elected Superior General of the Society of Jesus. In 1966, he became the first Jesuit Superior General to visit the United States. In April of that year, Fr. Arrupe came to San Francisco and the University of San Francisco. He was hosted at a USF alumni banquet at the Hilton Hotel, where he was welcomed by Edmund G. Brown, governor of California, and John Shelley, mayor of San Francisco and a 1932 graduate of the USF School of Law. At the banquet, Brown, Shelley, and the other dinner guests heard Fr. Arrupe say, “Your Jesuit system of education has always defended the rights of intelligence and of reason…. You must make a part of your life a deep and abiding love of the world.” Today a statue of Fr. Arrupe stands on the USF campus, in front of the University Ministry and about 100 yards from the new John Lo Schiavo, S.J. Center for Science and Innovation.

Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, visited San Francisco in April 1966, where he was honored at a USF alumni banquet hosted by Edmund G. Brown, governor of California, and John Shelley, mayor of San Francisco and a graduate of the USF School of Law. USF JESUIT COMMUNITY ARCHIVES

Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, visited San Francisco in April 1966, where he was honored at a USF alumni banquet hosted by Edmund G. Brown, governor of California, and John Shelley, mayor of San Francisco and a graduate of the USF School of Law. USF JESUIT COMMUNITY ARCHIVES

By September 1945, thousands of men were processed out of the armed services in San Francisco and throughout the United States. In many cases, they returned to cities and Continue reading

Proudly powered by WordPress
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.