Skip to Content


From construction in 1888 of the West Physics Building, the first of its type in the nation, to the recent construction of a new, state-of-the-art laboratory, Michigan has a proud history of world-leading physics education and research. Over the past decade, physics has undergone spectacular development, with major discoveries across its various sub-fields. Some of these discoveries have enabled technological progress, propelling the revolution in telecommunications and inspiring entirely new industries in medical diagnostics. Other discoveries are more fundamental, offering deeper insights into the workings of nature and opening new physical vistas for exploration and application.

Links Related to the History of Physics at Michigan  

H. Richard Crane Biographical Memoir, 1907-2007
An extraordinary physicist with relentless curiosity and quiet intensity, H. Richard Crane contributed actively to science, first at Caltech for five years as a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow, and for the next 70 years at the University of Michigan.

David Dennison Biographical Memoir, 1900-1976
David Mathias Dennison's principal work concerned the application of quantum theory to the interpretation of the infrared spectra of molecules, a field in which he was a pioneer discoverer, and in which he remained a leader throughout his life. He made important contributions including the first application of microwaves to spectroscopy, the exploration of the optical properties of thin films, and the theory of high energy accelerators.

Samuel A. Goudsmit Papers, 1921-1979
These papers document the career of Samuel A. Goudsmit, who served on the physics faculty at University of Michigan, and on the staff of Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Otto Laporte Biographical Memoir, 1902-1971
Otto Laporte was a member of the small group of brilliant young theoretical physicists who received their training during the middle 1920s under the guidance of Arnold Sommerfeld in Munich.

George Uhlenbeck Biographical Memoir, 1900-1988
George Uhlenbeck was a distinguished theoretical physicist, perhaps best known for the discovery of electron spin made together with Samuel Goudsmit. In a long career that included thirty years as a member of the Michigan faculty, Uhlenbeck made important contributions to atomic, molecular, and nuclear physics, and above all, to statistical mechanics.