Nichols, Ernest Fox, 1869-1924
- Existence: 1869 June 1 - 1924 April 29
Ernest Fox Nichols, 1869-1924, was an American educator and physicist, as well as the President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1921-1922 .
Born in Kansas, Nichols earned his BS from Kansas Agricultural College in 1888, and later achieved his MS and Doctorate degree from Cornell in 1893 and 1897, respectively. During his time as professor of physics at Colgate College (1892-1897), Nichols would spend two years studying wave radiation at the University of Berlin . The results of his research on the infrared were put into English, and his Nichols' radiometer was made for future experiments in measuring radiation pressure .
Nichols held professorships of experimental physics at Dartmouth from 1898-1903, and later at Columbia University in New York from 1903-1909, all before returning to Dartmouth as the college's 10th President in 1909 .
Nichols, in an effort to return to his passion of scientific research, left his administration position at Dartmouth, and in 1916 started a professorship of physics at Yale . His research would be halted by the onset of the first World War, and Nichols soon was attached to a position as Director of the Nela Park Laboratory in Cleveland, in yet another effort to "work in pure science" .
In 1920, after the death of Richard Cockburn Maclaurin, MIT called upon Nichols to become the Institute's next President. Almost immediately following his inaugural address, Nichols would become too ill from heart disease to enter actively into his responsibilities at MIT . When his health did recover, he turned his attention toward the Laboratory in Cleveland, resigning from his post as Institute President in 1922.
Ernest Fox Nichols died on April 29th, 1924.
1. "ERNEST FOX NICHOLS, 1869-1924" MIT Libraries (October 2004) 2. E.L. Nichols, "Ernest Fox Nichols, 1869-1924" National Academy of Sciences (1929)
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