What geometric shape can best withstand water pressure?
Carman pioneered a graduate degree program in physics, established an engineering physics degree, and fought with the University administration and the Illinois legislature to establish the conduct of independent research projects as a legitimate use of faculty members' time.
The Department of Physics gratefully moves out of University Hall (which also houses the nation's first concrete-testing laboratory, where Professor Ira Baker of Civil Engineering and his students enthusiastically smash concrete blocks and cemented joints) and into Engineering Hall.
The University Catalogue of 1894/95 describes laboratory courses in Physics, still something of a novelty in physics education: "The instruction is given by means of lectures and by practice in the laboratory. The work in the laboratory consists almost entirely of quantitative measurements made under the personal supervision of the instructors, with instruments of precision. An effort is made to have each student determine for himself the relation existing between the facts which he has observed, in order to stimulate him to the formation of habits of sound thinking."
Samuel Stratton establishes a full-scale electrical engineering curriculum within Physics, where it will remain until it is given separate departmental status in 1898.
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