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An Interview with Harold Brown

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California Institute of Technology
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Keywords
  • Feature Articles
Disciplines
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Engineering
  • Physics

Abstract

An Interview with Harold Brown President Harold Brown has been at Caltech for almost three years. What changes has he promoted? What problems does he have? How is he dealing with them? What does he think of the faculty? And the students? How does he like being president? These are some of the questions Caltech's faculty and students keep asking. Because they can't all get a chance to ask them directly, Engineering and Science invited representative members of the faculty and student body to interview the president and get his answers. The interviewers: Clarence Allen, professor of geology and geophysics and former chairman of the faculty; George W. Housner, professor of civil engineering and applied mechanics and current chairman of the faculty; John Roberts, professor of organic chemistry; George Purcell, a graduate research assistant in astronomy and president of the Graduate Student Council; Paul Levin, a senior and co-editor of The California Tech; and Steven Watkins, a junior and president of ASCIT. ROBERTS: What would you say were the noteworthy developments in your first two and a half years at Caltech? BROWN: When I think about it day to day, I tend to be depressed by how little I am getting done. But when I sit down and try to write everything out, I am impressed with how much has actually happened, although I wouldn't say that they are things that I have done, particularly. They are things that I hope I have helped along. I would divide them into a number of categories. To start with the academic category, there has first of all been the admission of women undergraduates to Caltech. Then there has been the establishment of an independent study program, where a student can make up a curriculum tailored to himself (if he can get three faculty members and then the independent study committee to accept it). There is the applied physics curriculum-an option which to the engineers may just seem another way of splitting off a piece of e

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