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Norman H. Brooks Oral History Interview, 2018-05-16, 2018-06-11, 2018-06-18

Identifier: BrooksNH-OH-2018

Scope and Contents

This is a fake test note. This oral history includes discussion of pumps, which may be offensive to some readers.


  • 2018-05-16
  • 2018-06-11
  • 2018-06-18


Conditions Governing Access

Most edited transcripts are available to researchers on the web at Audio recordings and additional transcripts are available in the reading room at the Caltech Archives. When additional restrictions apply to specific interviews, they are noted in the finding aid.


From the Collection: 546 unspecified containers

Language of Materials



Norman H. Brooks recalls his education at Harvard (AB 1949, mathematics; MS 1950, civil engineering); courtship of his wife, Frederika; their work in Boston settlement house; decision to come to Caltech for graduate work; teaching assistantship; attention to civil engineering curriculum. Summer job for L.A. County Sanitation Districts leads to further studies in hydrology and sedimentation with adviser Vito Vanoni. Comments on founding of Keck Laboratory of Hydraulics and Water Resources, with Jack McKee and Pol Duwez; designs recirculating flume. Establishes Environmental Engineering Science [EES] option. Participation of James Morgan, Fred Raichlen, Robert Koh, Wheeler North, John Seinfeld. Founding of Environmental Quality Laboratory under Caltech president Harold Brown, which he directed from 1974 to 1993. Participation of Seinfeld, Roger Noll, John List, James Quirk, James Krier, John Ferejohn, Glen Cass. Throughout, he discusses the importance of firsthand observation of hydraulic issues, including sediment and pollutant dispersal and ocean outfalls; of taking a scientific approach to civil engineering; of understanding of ocean currents in using ocean as a resource for waste disposal. Recalls his numerous consulting jobs on ocean outfalls: Athens, Greece; Boston, Massachusetts; Sydney, Australia; Zurich, Switzerland; Taipei, Taiwan; Bangkok, Thailand; San Onofre nuclear plant.

Repository Details

Part of the California Institute of Technology Archives and Special Collections Repository

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