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Department History

In 1987, Dr. Victor DeCarlo wrote a history of the department. Here we have reproduced the booklet.


This is the sixth in a series of historical pamphlets to be published in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of DePauw University. Each will treat the history of a particular school or department from its founding to the present time.

This history of the physics department is an outgrowth of the "History of Physics at DePauw" project initiated by the Physics Club in 1985. Much of the club's research on the department's activities in the 19th century has been incorporated into the first and second chapters of the text. The assistance of the archives staff during the information-gathering stage of the project is greatly appreciated. Special thanks go to my physics colleagues-- Howard Brooks, Ernest Henninger, Hugh Henry, Paul Kissinger, and Austin Sprague- who carefully read early versions of the manuscript and offered many helpful comments and suggestions. Also, department secretary Ann Harrison was indispensable in tracking down various documents tucked away in dusty cabinets and bulging file drawers. Finally, grateful thanks are due to Sesquicentennial Editor Clifton J. Phillips for his help in getting the manuscript in shape for publication.

It is hoped that this small pamphlet will make a significant contribution to the celebration of the DePauw University Sesquicentennial by affording its readers a view of the teaching and study of physics over nearly a century and a half. It is dedicated to the men and women who have taught in the physics department for all those years and to the alumni who were their students.

Victor A. DeCarlo