Tag Archives: History

MTU Physics Department History | 1885-1900

The Earliest Years

Firehall PhotoMichigan Tech had its beginnings in 1885 as the Michigan Mining School (MMS) offering a two-year mining program. The first classes were held in the Fall of 1886 in the Continental Fire Hall, which still stands next to the old Portage Lake District Library on Montezuma Avenue in downtown Houghton, MI. Course offerings in Physics, to be taught by the Physics Department, were listed starting in 1887 however there was not yet a Physics Department faculty to teach them. Those first Physics course offerings were to be “temporarily performed by the present members of the Faculty.”

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The Changing MTU Campus

The Changing MTU Campus

Firehall in 2004

The first classes were held using leased space in the Continental Fire Hall in downtown Houghton. This building still stands and is currently being used for storage. It can be seen on Montezuma avenue, right next to the old Portage Lake District Library. This photo is from the summer of 2004.
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MTU Physics Department History | Scholarships/Awards

MTU Endowed Scholarships/Awards with a Physics Connection

Scholarships/Awards Named for Former Faculty

Potnis Endowed Fellowship
Kusum Potnis established the Vasant R. Potnis Endowed Fellowship fund in memory of her late husband and physics professor emeritus. Dr. Potnis was a faculty member from 1968 until his retirement in 1996; he passed away in 2012. The Fellowship will provide financial support for graduate students pursuing a Master’s or PhD in physics.

Lloyal O. Bacon Endowed Award
Bacon was a Physics Department Faculty member, specializing in Geophysics, from 1950 to 1974 when the geophysics major was moved to the Geology department. He earned the Distinguished Research Award in 1960.

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MTU Physics Department History | Hubbell Hall

Hubbell Hall was completed in 1890 and housed the entire Michigan Mining School for several years. It was located at the intersection of Hubbell St. and College Ave, where the R. L. Smith (MEEM) building now stands. Hubbell Hall was the home for Physics and Math from the time it was built until 1964, when those departments moved to Fisher Hall. Hubbell Hall was demolished in 1968 having been condemned by the fire marshall as unsuitable for human occupation (even by Physicists).

Ted Ellis Hubbell Hall Photo
Hubbell Hall just before its demolition
photo by MTU alum Ted Ellis, reproduced with permission.


MTU Physics Department History | Jerry Hall Service

Jerry Hall Service

b. 12 June 1888, New Carlisle, IN
d. 3 Sept 1980, Eugene, OR

BS in EE, Rose Polytechnic, 1912
MS, Ohio State University, 1917
(Thesis Title: Effect of Introduction of an Obstacle into a Spark Gap)
PhD, Ohio State University, 1928
(Thesis Title: The Transmission of Sound through Sea Water)

Engineering Apprentice, GE Co., 1912
Teacher, Morgan Park Academy. MN, 1913-1915
Asst. in Physics, Ohio State, 1915-1917
US Army School of Aeronautics, Ohio, 1917-1918
Dean, Trade and Eng. Schools, Youngstown Inst. Tech, 1920-1923
Engineer and Physicist, US Coast and Geodetic Survey, 1923-1928
Prof. Physics and Math, Henderson State Teachers Coll., AR, 1928-1932
Asst. Prof. Math and Physics, MCMT, 1932-1938
Assoc. Prof. Math and Physics, MCMT, 1938-1946
(On leave 1940-1946 during WW II, USN)
Prof. Physics, MCMT, 1947-1952

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MTU Physics Department History | A. Barry Kunz

A. Barry Kunz

b. 2 Oct 1940, Philadelphia, PA
d. 29 Jan 2001, Marquette, MI

B.S. Physics, Muhlenberg College, 1962.
M.S. Physics, Lehigh University, 1964.
Ph.D. Physics, Lehigh University, 1966.

Instructor and Research Assoc., Lehigh U., 1966-1969
Research Asst. Prof, U of Illinois, 1969-1971
Research Analyst, USAF Aerospace Res. Lab, 1971-1974
Assistant Prof., U of Illinois, 1971-1973
Consultant, Photo Products, E.J. Dupont, 1974-1979
Assoc. Prof., U of Illinois, 1973-1976
Professor, U of Illinois, 1976-1984
Adj. Prof., Michigan Tech Univ., 1982-1984
Presidential Prof., Physics, MTU, 1984-1990
Presidential Prof., Elec. Eng., MTU, 1990-2001
Dean of Engineering, MTU, 1990-1991

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MTU Physics Department History | James Fisher Jr.

James Fisher Jr.

b. 29 March 1873, Hancock, MI
d. 16 July 1962, Houghton, MI

E.M., Mich Mining School, 1893
Hon. D.E., Mich College Mines & Tech., 1934

Draftsman, Mich Mining School, 1893-1894
Hodge Iron Works, 1894-1895
Instr. Math and Physics, Mich. College Mines, 1895-1899
Asst. Prof. Math and Physics, MCM, 1900-1902
Prof. & Dept Head, Math and Physics, MCM/MCMT, 1903-1944
Director of Adult Education, MCMT, 1945
Dean of Faculty, MCMT, 1936-1946

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