College of Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison
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EPISODE: The Engineering Physics Department Newsletter


Fall / Winter 2006-2007
Featured articles

University of Wisconsin Energy Institute engages stakeholders in creative solutions

Designing ways to help ITER operate safely

Learning why fusion plasmas sometimes act unpredictably

GOOD HEAVENS: Space telescopes may have steadier view

EP alum honored on Engineers' Day

A "hot" idea for insulating tiny batteries

Regular Features

Message from the chair

Department News

Alumni News with Alumni Profile: John Parkyn


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Department to celebrate 120th anniversary of Engineering Mechanics in October 2007

birthday cake

To celebrate the mechanics program at UW-Madison since 1887, the Department of Engineering Physics is planning special anniversary events during Engineers Day on Oct. 26 and 27, 2007. The celebration will include lunch, lab tours and dinner on Friday as well as a brunch on Saturday morning before the Badger football game.

Please add these dates to your calendar. To help us plan, please E-mail or write soon, via the addresses below, if you hope to join us.


Portrait of Michael Corradini, EP Chair

Michael L. Corradini, Chair
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Decorative initial cap Almost 12 years ago, the Department of Engineering Mechanics & Astro-nautics merged with the Department of Nuclear Engineering & Engineering Physics. This successful departmental merger, unique in its own right, signaled the start of a new era for both our faculty, and it also continued an evolutionary path for the engineering mechanics degree. In 2007, we will be celebrating the 120th anniversary of the applied mechanics program at UW-Madison.

If you look back into the history of UW-Madison, you will find that key elements of the current College of Engineering began long before the college was instituted. The academic study of metallurgy and minerals as well as civil engineering and mechanics arts was begun after the Civil War.

In 1887-1888, the UW Board of Regents issued its report and “urged upon the legislature a broader and more permanent establishment of the department of mechanic arts. Good faith to the federal government as well as to the mechanical and manufacturing interests of the state, requires that this department should be reorganized with a view to larger results. The legislature met this appeal generously. An act was passed providing that one per cent of the funds derived by the State from license tax on transportation, telephone, and electrical companies should be set aside to provide for needed additional facilities, for instruction in the department of mechanic arts.”

Seven courses appeared in the UW catalog in 1887-1888, under the title, “Pure and Applied Mechanics.” Since that time, the academic field of mechanics at UW-Madison has seen an interesting evolutionary history:

1887: Department of Pure and Applied Mechanics (which eventually became the Department of Engineering Mechanics) established with A.D. Conover serving as first chair.

1889: University reorganized again with the College of Mechanics and Engineering being one of four colleges. (Appropriation of one percent of the state’s railroad license tax, for continuous use of the College of Mechanics and Engineering, enabled college to greatly expand its work.)

1893: E.R. Maurer became chair of the department and served in that capacity for more than 40 years.

1907: F.E. Turneaure and E.R. Maurer published their first textbook, Principles of Reinforced Concrete Construction, from the Department of Pure and Applied Mechanics, followed by about 20 additional textbooks in mechanics from faculty throughout the next 100 years.

1938: The first PhD degree was awarded in engineering mechanics—one of the first in the College of Engineering.

1959: Curriculum established for BS in engineering mechanics. Previously, only graduate MS and PhD degrees were offered in this field.

1992: Department of Engineering Mechanics changed its name to Department of Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics.

1995: Department of Engineering Mechanics & Astronautics merged into Department of Nuclear Engineering & Engineering Physics.

We hope you can join us in October 2007 when we formally celebrate this great program. Learn more about our plans by reading the details in the box above.

Michael L. Corradini, Chair
147 Engineering Research Building
1500 Engineering Dr.
Madison, WI 53706-1687

Tel: 608/263-1646
Fax: 608/263-7451


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Copyright 2006 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System

Date last modified: Friday, 22-Dec-2006 11:49:00 CDT
Date created: 22-Dec-2006