Skip to main content

Department of Physics and Astronomy Records

Call Number: UA128

Scope and Contents

This collection contains records for the department of Physics and Astronomy, including photographs, student theses, Institute of Cosmology material, and the Richard H. Milburn story.


  • Creation: 1956 -- 2007



This collection is open for research, but may require review before it is available for use. Please contact DCA for further details.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see “Reproductions and Use” on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. Copyright to all materials created by Tufts University employees in the course of their work is held by the Trustees of Tufts University.

Biographical / Historical

The Department of Physics was first officially recognized in 1891. Though physics courses were required of students from Tufts’ first year of instruction, liberal arts departments were not listed before the 1891-1892 academic year. There has never been an independent Department of Astronomy; Astronomy courses have historically been offered under the physics department. In 1987, the Department of Physics was renamed the Department of Physics and Astronomy to reflect this relationship. During the early 1940’s, Tufts started to become involved with government contracts. This allowed the Department of Physics to carry research under several contracts. By 1948-49, contract research had risen to a dollar value of $340,000, and the Department of Physics was carrying three separate contracts. Popularity in Astronomy courses lead to a separate Astronomy major offered from 1966 to 1973. The major was discontinued in the fall of 1973, and a course of study in Astronomy was offered. Through this course of study, a student could pursue an Astronomy major under the Plans of Study program, in which students “plan their own programs of concentration.” Though initially housed in Ballou Hall with other academic departments, the Department of Physics migrated to Robinson Hall in 1900 alongside the Department of Electrical Engineering. This provided relief from the overcrowding that arose from the increase in interest the Department faced in 1900. The Department of Physics and Astrology additionally expanded into the Science and Technology Center in the fall of 1990, after renovations were completed on the building previously owned by the ACME Printing Company.


3.6 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

1 Digital Object(s)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in order of accession.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, 2008-2017.

Processing status

This collection is minimally processed.

Repository Details

Part of the Tufts Archival Research Center Repository

35 Professors Row
Tisch Library Building
Tufts University
Medford Massachusetts 02155 United States