Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Records

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The SWC has a number of scientific collections, both from individuals, universities, and other organizations. Not the least of these is the records of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS). Founded in 1958 in Los Angeles in response to Sputnik and the perceived lack of U.S. supremacy in the technology race, the ARCS Foundation has since provided to thousands of scholars awards totaling nearly $87 million and has grown to 1,600 members in 17 Chapters across the United States. Our collections focus primarily on the Lubbock, Texas ARCS chapter, particularly related to events and get-togethers they held, the most notable of which was the 2003 ARCS National Meeting held and hosted in Lubbock.

Lubbock’s chapter was founded by Fran Carter in 1972, and she served as its first president. Her focus was on recognizing outstanding students in a leading science field at Texas Tech University (TTU) and Lubbock Christian University. The creation of the organization was also influenced by Dr. Grover E. Murray, former president of TTU and professional geologist, after he discovered other chapters from cities throughout the U.S. In 2012 the local chapter celebrated its 40th (or Ruby) Anniversary and documented the festivities in several scrapbooks, the cover of one of which can be seen above.

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Another event is their annual Scientists of the Year dinner. 2003’s event celebrated the career of noted physicist Dr. Shubhra Gangopdhyay, whose work focused on semiconductor manufacturing. This invitation was sent to the aforemented Grover Murray, whose family donated many of the ARCS’s records to us.

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ARCS receives much of its support from donors, both at the local and national level. Documentation of donation drives, fundraising goals and results, and similar information comprise a sizable portion of these records. Fortunately, not all of them are dry financial reports. Here we have a page from a scrapbook acknowledging Lubbock’s many donors on the occasion of the chapter’s 40th (or Ruby) anniversary. These scrapbooks are some of the best parts of this collection, because through their photographs, biographies, and other personal elements they capture the human side of the organization.

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Interspersed among the newspaper and magazine clippings, correspondence, and scattered financial records in the collection is also a nearly complete run of ARCS newsletters, both local and national.This newsletter for the Lubbock chapter dates from Fall 2003, and concisely summarizes a great deal of organizational info: award winners, events both past and upcoming, and administrative information to which members otherwise might not have easy access.

In short, although the ARCS records are a relatively small collection, it is diverse and at the very least provides a snapshot of a large national organization is handled at the local level. The rest of the scrapbooks in particular are particularly interesting, and it’s a shame that we couldn’t provide more of them here. As with all of our materials, interested parties are encouraged to use our Reference Staff to the fullest if they want to see any of this in the flesh.

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“Designing for Disaster” at the National Building Museum

Fujita portrait

The Southwest Collection is proud to have loaned items from its collected papers of world-renowned meteorological researcher Dr. Tetsuya Theodore “Ted” Fujita to the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The Museum is presenting a multimedia exhibition titled Designing for Disaster, a call-to-action for citizen preparedness—from design professionals and local decision-makers to homeowners and school kids—investigating how and where to build communities that are safer and more disaster-resilient. The exhibition opened on May 11, 2014 and will remain on view through August 2, 2015.

US Tornado Map 1930-74-21x16

From earthquakes and hurricanes to rising sea levels and flooding, natural disasters can strike anywhere and at any time. Recent history shows that no region of the country is immune from the rising costs of storm and disaster damage. Visitors to Designing for Disaster will explore new solutions for, and historical responses to, a range of natural hazards. Research materials such as Fujita’s documentation of several decades of tornadoes will not be the only items on display. Artifacts from past disasters, such as a door battered by Hurricane Katrina, will express the destructive, persistent, life-altering power of nature.
Fscale classification of 1971 tornadoes (2)
A cornerstone of the exhibit is a true-to-life, FEMA-specified “safe room”—one of the few defenses against a tornado or violent storm—in which exposed layers illustrate how it was built to withstand tornado-force winds and flying debris. Such destruction was the primary research focus of Dr. Fujita, whose conclusions would lead to the creation of the F-Scale (‘F’ standing, of course, for Fujita) which is now the worldwide standard for measuring the destructive power of tornadoes.

Lubbock tornadoes
Driven by ways to reduce risk before the next disaster, case studies will explore a range of flexible design and planning schemes, public policies, and new forecasting technologies. Drawing on data gathered from past disasters, such as the Lubbock, Texas F-5 tornadoes of May 1970 that damaged over a quarter of the town, the studies are varied as the solutions. They range from engineering advancements and seismic retrofits of esteemed historic buildings (such as the University of California at Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium) and bridges (the Eastern Span of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge), to urgent, hands-on lessons, through models, animated drawings and interactive displays that demonstrate how to strengthen homes, hospitals, schools, and other structures.

The National Building Museum is America’s leading cultural institution dedicated to advancing the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives. Through its exhibitions, educational programs, online content, and publications, the Museum has become a vital forum for the exchange of ideas and information about the world we build for ourselves. For any public inquiries, call them at (202) 272-2448, visit www.nbm.org, or connect with them on Twitter: @BuildingMuseum and Facebook.

– by The National Building Museum