With the Apollo 13 mission making headlines around the world, coupled with successful interplanetary probes and other space frontier news, interest and investment in astronomy and astrophysics increases at UBC.
In 1970, thanks to earlier funding and with a ‘lift off’ development grant of $538,600 from the National Research Council (NRC), the UBC Institute for Astronomy and Space Science (IASS) comes into being. The new Institute energizes the three stand-alone departments of Radio Astronomy, Laboratory Astrophysics and Optical Astronomy. It allows for new hires, seminars and specialized work, and with NRC support, is instrumental in the construction of the 15-foot radio telescope on UBC’s south campus.
Not to be outdone, the social sciences, bolstered by increased government funding and donations such as the munificent $3-million support for UBC Library acquisitions from BC lumber baron H.R. McMillian, are enriched, along with areas such as sociology, economics, anthropology, and political sciences.
Although there are shortfalls in federal and provincial government funding for research and new classroom space, funding from the private sector supports innovation in new areas of study such as the environment and conservation, computers, telecommunications and biotechnology as the ‘information revolution’ doggedly spreads in this new, hard-edged conservative, political and economic environment.
Yet, there continue to be research breakthroughs. The prestigious Ford Foundation awards the university $500,000 for studies on how humans affect the environment. Another $500,000 from the National Research Council funds the development of the Bamfield Marine Science Centre, located on the west coast of Vancouver Island along two miles of pristine coastline in Barkley Sound. The centre makes use of an abandoned Pacific cable building whose architect was none other than Francis Rattenbury (1867–1935), best known for his design of the city of Victoria’s proud Empress Hotel. The complex system of pipes and holding tanks for fish and other marine life, as well as equipment designed to prevent interruption of sea-water flow, is overseen by UBC’s Dr. Norman Wilimovsky.
The National Research Council funds the development of the Bamfield Marine Science Centre, located on the west coast of Vancouver Island along two miles of pristine coastline in Barkley Sound. The centre makes use of an abandoned Pacific cable building whose architect was none other than Francis Rattenbury (1867–1935), best known for his design of the city of Victoria’s proud Empress Hotel.
The Centre is supported by all five western universities: UBC, Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary. Its multidisciplinary research in ecology, climate change and aquaculture establishes a new model for research collaboration, one that UBC will become globally known for in the future.
Meanwhile, a similarly interesting mix of research is happening on UBC’s south campus where, in 1974, the inter-university research facility Tri-University Meson Facility (TRIUMF) gains public profile as the cyclotron produces its first beam. Juxtaposed with this cutting-edge technology, the new UBC Dairy Cattle Teaching unit demonstrates milk production systems to the public at its bovine-friendly facility that features a milking parlour, milk room, open-air animal pens, laboratories, and classrooms.
Explore the era
- Fisher, D. & Rubenson, K. (2006). Canadian federal policy and postsecondary education. Winnipeg, MB: Printcrafters. Retrieved from http://www.chet.educ.ubc.ca/files/2013/01/Canadian_Federal_Policy.pdf
- Gage, W.H. (1970). The President’s report: 1969-1970. Retrieved from http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/pdfs/presidents/1970.pdf
- Gage, W.H. (1972). The President’s report: 1971-1972. Retrieved from http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/pdfs/presidents/1972.pdf
- Kenny, D.T. (1980). The President’s report: 1979-1980. Retrieved from http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/pdfs/presidents/1980.pdf
- Header image: The University of British Columbia Archives
- Pull quote and president images: The University of British Columbia Archives
- Timeline media: The University of British Columbia Archives, Digital Distractions (1976 Habitat Forum Video)
- Slideshow media: The University of British Columbia Archives, Bill Keay courtesy of the Vancouver Sun Archives (Bookstore photo)
UBC is proud to mark its 100th anniversary as a global leader in education, research innovation and community engagement.
Learn more about the UBC Centennial.