Physics Building (PHYS)

525 Northwestern Ave, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA

Physics is one of the first subjects taught at Purdue, as part of the engineering curriculum. The official Department of Physics was established in 1904. The Physics Building on Northwestern Avenue was completed in 1941 and dedicated in 1942 as the Charles Benedict Stuart Laboratory for Applied Physics.


Soon after its construction, the Physics Building was used for critical war research as a part of the Manhattan Project, notably the studies of atomic fission. The element germanium was heavily researched, including techniques for large-scale production and purification. This research led to the discovery that germanium crystals could be used for microwave radar, leading to the development of the transistor. The building was renovated in 1946, and a third floor was completed in 1950. In 1961, another addition was added that almost doubled the size of the building. It was expanded yet again from 1967 to 1970.


Did you know? The original Physics Building stood where the Class of 1950 Lecture Hall stands today.


Did you know? In 1945, Purdue physics researchers built an electron synchrotron, a particular type of cyclic particle accelerator.