Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reporting from the Caltech Archives

A week from tomorrow I'll be prepped with images and words to share something of the intersection of the experiences and history of the Latino community and Caltech.  I'm still in the midst of the heavy research and will start writing Friday.

Loma Karklins, Archives Assistant, has been most generous in her help as I've been delving into folders and viewing their online archives.  Her knowledge of the archives and of the interactions among the Caltech administrators and professors have already helped me open up my approaches to researching the talk.  At this point I'm thinking of quoting Luis W. Alvarez' speech - given when he received the Nobel Prize.  I would have never had a chance to view this without her help.

You can be sure that I'll include a bit about some of the "First Latinos" at Caltech, but you can also be sure that I'll be sharing something of the Bandini House and its connection with the Biology Division.  At this point I'm also thinking about how Caltech might have influenced the non-academic community, what was going in local schools, and how science itself was developing.  We'll see 45 minutes isn't much time to cover all that.  I know some really interesting things will have to wait for another talk.

Funny thing about these sorts of talks.  You start out with one idea in mind, or often in my case a quiver full of ideas, and then time, access to documents, and seasoned intuition begins to kick in.

I might be able to write on the blog in the next week, but I'm not counting on it.  So in the meantime, I'll post what might feel like random images.

Yearbooks tell their tale both inside and out.


  1. I rememer Luis Alvarez from WWII days when I was in the Navy and attended the classified Radiation Lab seminars at MIT. He gave an impressive report on the latest radar successes In Europe.

    His father, Walter Alvarez, wrote a medical column for the newspapers.


  2. Wow. I had no idea you'd been in the Navy or had attended classified Radiation Lab seminars at MIT. I wonder what paper the elder Alvarez wrote for, do you know?

    It's been interesting to see the connections that took place at Caltech. Like so many of our truly world class institutions, their start was so clearly based on who knew whom. The list of names and areas explored is stunning. The fact that so much of what we lay folks accept as scientific fact, was, at the time, experimental or theoretical was a surprise to me.

  3. i think Walter sr. wrote in the L. A. Times on medical matters. Walter, the son of Luis, collaborated with Luis on a study showing that a giant meteorite had hit the earth.