Dr. Lombardini from Lubbock

The Texas Story Project.

In the year of 1976, Richard Lomabardini was born and raised near the Texas panhandle in the town of Lubbock. Located in that city is Texas Tech University, a very large school. That was what brought his parents to Texas.

Texas Tech University (TTU) has been around since the 1920s. His father is from San Francisco and his mother is from New York. TTU hired his dad to teach the medical students and to do research in pharmacology and biochemistry. Many historical things happened there. For example, famous Rockstar Buddy Holly was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas and went to the same high school as Richard. When he lived there, Lubbock had a very well-known air force based, known as the Reese Air Force Base, they mainly trained jet pilots, but it eventually closed. The city also has a very famous museum called the Silent Wing Museum and it focuses on a World War 2 program that happened in the area where they used gliders, which were aircraft without engines, that were for the war. There’s a lot of history in Lubbock even though it’s a medium-sized town, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

Richard went to Texas Tech University for his undergraduate and eventually moved away for a while, but he came back and received his PhD in Physics there. Since then, TTU has grown tremendously. When he first started there, it had about 20,000 students, but now it has about 35,000. TTU has changed the city itself because at one time, one of the largest construction programs in the state of Texas happened in Lubbock, where they converted multiple blocks of the city into student housing. The city is mostly agricultural as it grows a large amount of cotton, but the university has brought significant diversity. There are many hospitals there too, so it serves a very large area including the whole county of Lubbock. It was a great place for him to grow up in and live in.

He lived there for 29 years. It’s very different from other areas of Texas. It’s a very dry climate that gets hot, but gets very severe winters, so there is snow. A couple years ago, there was a foot of snow! It’s at a higher elevation, sitting on cap rock, so it’s at a 3,000 ft elevation. As a result, it could be 100 degrees that day, but then it could drop to 60 degrees during the evening. However, the city only gets 14 inches of rain a year, which is a lot less in comparison to eastern parts Texas. In 1970, there was a big tragic event in Lubbock where a tornado came through and wiped out all downtown Lubbock. There was about 20 people killed in that event. Lubbock is in what is called the Tornado Alley which is an area where there are frequent tornadoes. He remembers growing up there was a lot of tornadoes that happened during the spring and the TV warnings were seemingly going off every day during that season. He was always looking out in the sky for them. Nearly all the major cities surrounding Lubbock are a five to six-hour drive.

When he was born and growing up there, the population was at roughly 120,000 and currently has about 250,000, so it more than doubled. When he was in high school, he heard there was supposed to be a very large particle accelerator that was to be built in Waxahachie, Texas. That was a big deal being that it was in Texas even though it was far east from him. There was a lot of particle physics faculty that were hired at Texas Tech University to build a particle accelerator which was called the Super Collider. It was going to be the largest one in the world even bigger than the current one at CERN in Switzerland called The Large Hadron Collider. The fact that the Super Collider was never completed due to the funding being cut right in the middle of the development and being in Texas, influenced him going into physics. Consequently, Richard is a physics professor at Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio.

Marlon Reyna is a student at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio of the class of 2021 majoring in Applied Physics and minoring in Mathematics. He was born in León, Guanajuato, México on June 15, 1999; however, he was raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Marlon has always been fond of the seemingly infinite universe. One of his achievements was being the first junior in his high school to pass the AP Calculus AB exam, where most students took it as seniors or didn’t get to it at all. As a result, he was the first ever and only senior of his class of 2017 to take AP Calculus BC as an independent course due to it not being offered there.

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