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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Physics curricula

Identifier: AC-0074

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Scope and Contents

The early years of physics education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT) is documented in the "Plan of the Physical Laboratory" and "Report of the Physical Laboratory," by Edward C. Pickering, the first professor of physics at MIT.

There are sets of notes taken by students in physics classes between 1903 and 1917. They are organized primarily by course. The professor teaching the course is usually identified on the first page of the notes.

The collection contains minutes of the meetings of a fourth year class in advanced physics, 8 Mar. 1874-10 May 1879, chaired by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Edward C. Pickering. There are four "Laboratory Circulars," 1877-1878, a student publication produced jointly with the Department of Chemistry, which describes the laboratory apparatus and processes in physics and chemistry which students "found convenient and think not in general use in laboratories."


  • 1869 - 1971

Access note

This collection is open.

Digital Access Note

Some parts of this collection are available online. Links to specific online digital items are found within their entry in this finding aid.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Historical note

The establishment of a physics laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was an early idea of MIT founder William Barton Rogers. Professor Edward Pickering organized the establishement of such a lab, and his plan was approved by the MIT Committee on Instruction, May 11, 1869. The Corporation voted in February 1872 that the laboratory was to be named "The Rogers Laboratory of Physics."


1.6 Cubic Feet (5 manuscript boxes)

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Related Materials

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Distinctive Collections, Charles R. Cross papers, MC 107.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Distinctive Collections, Charles E. Pickering course notes, MC 457.


  • A history of the departments of chemistry and physics at the M.I.T., 1865-1933, by T.L. David and H.M. Goodwin. Cambridge, The Technology press, Massachusetts institute of technology , 1933.

Processing Information note

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Guide to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Physics, Curricula
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Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US