Portrait of Halberg, Charles J. A., Jr.

Halberg, Charles J. A., Jr.

July 8, 1998

July 15, 1998

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"Doon" Halberg, an internationally prominent mathematician, discusses the early campus years. He also describes his goal of passing on his knowledge to future teachers to instill in them the love for the discipline.
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Halberg: We patterned it pretty much after the UCLA and the University of California standards. But we wrote all of the curricula, we taught all of the courses, we applied for NSF grants and got them, we sat on numerous committees and so forth. We were very active young people!

Erickson: Um hmm.

Halberg: We taught fifteen hours compared to six or three now.

Erickson: Oh you did? And still did your research?

Halberg: We were all young on the campus then. We were all in our thirties except for some of the older ones like Conway and Herman and Bob Nisbet. Nisbet wasn't too old then either. And then Arthur Turner, and the head of humanities was

Erickson: Was that Olmsted?

Halberg: Yes. Jack Olmsted was head of humanities. But the rest of the faculty were all in their thirties, so we had a feeling that we were building and we were making this campus, and we took great pride.

Erickson: Oh, yes.

Halberg: We were able to devote a lot of energy and effort into it.

Erickson: What did the campus look like when you first came?

Halberg: Many fewer buildings. There were only a few, and as a matter of fact, lots of mud and dirt out there. They hadn't landscaped the buildings, done the botanical landscaping at that time. This had been an olive grove-no, a walnut grove-the area where the campus is now.

Erickson: Hmm. I see.

Halberg: They just removed all the walnut trees, and I think some sort of pest invaded the olive trees in Southern California in the 1930s or '40s, and most of the production of walnuts moved north.

But there are a few trees here around that are remnants of the black walnut root stock of that walnut grove. There were very few, and very few buildings. A little piece of the library we have now, and Watkins Hall was then the administration building.

My office was in the single story extension of Pierce Hall. Pierce Hall wasn't nearly the size that it is now.

We didn't have most of the student center or the current administration building or the humanities building. None of those was here then. It was a much smaller-looking campus.

Questions Regarding this Oral History Project should be directed to Jan Erickson at jan.erickson@ucr.edu.