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Department of Physics records

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: UA 171

Scope and Contents

The collection contains records that document the functions and activities of this department.

Collection is organized by accession and includes (but is not limited to) the following material:

As of 2012 there is only one accession:

Accession 1996.99.A: Grant reports and U.S. Atomic Energy Commission records.


  • 1966-1970

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Permanent University Archive public records are available for research, and are subject to state, and in some cases federal freedom of information laws. In compliance with applicable state and federal laws, including, but not limited to, FERPA and HIPAA, specific records that are legally protected, sensitive, private, or confidential are exempt (not subject to disclosure) and closed to protect individual privacy. Access to paper records will be granted after a professional review of the records occurs based on regulations in state and federal laws. Contact Special Collections and University Archives well in advance in order to access these records.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Natural philosophy (a term comprising both Physics and Chemistry that was commonly used in the 19th century) was part of the curriculum at the University of Oregon from the year it was founded in 1876. In 1879, approximately $2,000 were spent to purchase equipment for a physics laboratory, an unusually large sum at the time. Initially, physics was taught by Mark Bailey, Professor of Mathematics, but in 1879 the University appointed George H. Collier to the Chair of Physics, Chemistry, and Metallurgy.

Collier hired E.H. McAllister and S.E. McClure, the latter of whom became Professor of Chemistry when the subjects of Physics and Chemistry were divided, while Collier remained Professor of Physics until 1895. Under his successor, Charles Fridel, the department started to expand. In 1904, William P. Boynton, Assistant Professor of Physics, published a book on kinetic theory, which then was a very advanced topic.

By 1920 the Department had three faculty members. After a tumultuous time during the Great Depression, when for a while the very existence of the University of Oregon was threatened, the department has continued to expand. After World War II, research at the forefront of the scientific development was increasingly implemented at the University of Oregon. Gradually, the department grew to its present size of about 30 faculty members who are engaged in research in most of the active subfields of Physics.



0.5 linear feet (1 container) : 1 manuscript box

Language of Materials



The Department of Physics at the University of Oregon grew out of the Natural Philosophy curriculum that was offered at the university beginning the year it was founded, 1876. The collection contains grant reports and U.S. Atomic Energy Commission records.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The records have been acquired through occasional transfers from the Department of Physics.


Continued transfers of records from the Department of Physics are expected indefinitely.

Related Materials

Other collections relating to Department of Physics at Special Collections and University Archives include: University Archives alphabetical subject single files, UA Ref 6; University Archives photographs, UA Ref 3.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Jenn Newby, 2012.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

This collection received a basic level of processing including minimal organization and rehousing. Multiple accession(s) for the collection have not been merged or organized as a whole. Each accession is described separately.

Description information is drawn in part from information supplied with the collection and initial surveys of the contents.

Guide to the Department of Physics records
Revise Description
Jenn Newby and Kira B. Homo
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA