About Space Science at Rice University
Before 1963, space science at Rice was very limited. Deiter Heymann studied meteorites and there were some minor research programs. The "Space Science Department" began in 1963 after the JFK speech on campus in September 12, 1962 (see the Dessler History below.) It had research interests in Astronomy, Space Physics, Atomic Collisions, and Atmospheric science.
In 1975, the Department changed its name to "Space Physics and Astronomy" reflecting the two major thrusts of the department.
In 2000, the Department of Space Physics and Astronomy merged with Physics to create the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The Rice Space Institute was created at the same time to keep a multi-departmental space focus on campus.
Space Science History