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Science at Oberlin College through the years
Peters Hall

Peters Hall, c. 1890

As work concludes on the new science complex (October 2002), the College Archives presents a series of photographs and a number of articles concerning the history of the teaching of science at Oberlin College.


The Physics Department at Oberlin traces its origins to the early mathematics and natural philosophy offerings in the collegiate curriculum of the 1830s. However, during the tenure of Charles H. Churchill, from 1859 to 1897—who fashioned Oberlin's first organ from spare parts—Physics began to gain a measure of autonomy from the Mathematics Department. Soon after the relocation of the Mathematics Department to Peters Hall in 1887, this autonomy became apparent in the creation of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Later, in 1910, the college created a separate Chair of Physics.

While occupying the uppermost and basement floors of Peters Hall for classroom and laboratory space, the department of physics grew in size and importance, eventually necessitating the construction of a separate building. The department moved to the newly constructed Wright Laboratory in 1946. (more information…)

See also the Peters Hall Online Exhibit, assembled by the College Archives, 1997, found on the EOG website.

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