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King's College London Department of Physics Student Records

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0100 KCLCA KDPY/FP
Held at: King's College London College Archives
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Full title: King's College London Department of Physics Student Records
Date(s): 1935-1981
Level of description: Series level descriptions of King's College London Archives
Extent: 6 boxes
Name of creator(s): King's College London Department of Physics


Administrative/Biographical history:

Instruction in physics began in 1831 in the form of lectures in natural and experimental philosophy delivered to students in the Senior Department, from 1839 the Department of General Literature and Science and later the Department of Applied Sciences. Natural and experimental divisions were separated in 1834 when Charles Wheatstone was appointed Professor of Experimental Philosophy, a post he occupied until his death in 1875. Classes in natural philosophy were available to Evening Class students and students of the Medical Faculty and Faculty of Engineering, but the Physics Department properly became part of the Faculty of Science in 1893. In 1923 Physics became part of the Faculty of Natural Science, which later formed part of the Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. This became the School of Physical Sciences and Engineering in 1991. Charles Wheatstone, responsible for pioneering experiments in the fields of electric telegraphy, batteries, harmonics and optics, upon his death bequeathed an extensive collection of scientific instruments and equipment to the College to form the Wheatstone Laboratory, one of the earliest physical laboratories in the country. Other notables include James Clerk Maxwell, pioneer in the study of electromagnetism, who was Professor of Natural Philosophy, 1860-1865; Charles Glover Barkla, Wheatstone Professor of Physics, 1909-1914, who whilst at the University of Edinburgh was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1917 for work on X-rays; Sir Owen Richardson, Wheatstone Professor of Physics, 1914-1922, awarded a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1928 for prior work on thermionics undertaken at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge; Sir Edward Appleton, Wheatstone Professor of Physics, 1924-1936, who conducted experiments on the interaction of radio waves with the earth's atmosphere at the Strand and at the College's Halley Stewart Laboratories, Hampstead, for which he was subsequently awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1947, whilst employed by the British Government's Department of Scientific and Industrial Research; and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins, Deputy Director of the Medical Research Council Biophysics Research Unit, later the Department of Biophysics, King's College London, 1955, whose work on the structure of the DNA molecule was rewarded with the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1962.


Scope and content/abstract:

King's College London Department of Physics student record cards, 1935-1981 (Ref: KDPY/FP). Information typically contained includes basic biographical details: name, permanent address, nationality, date of birth, schooling, particulars of scholarships or exhibitions at King's, other funding, date of entering College, dates of taking exams, degree and class, and College activities. Some cards also include a photograph.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Organised chronologically by year of graduation, then alphabetically.

Conditions governing access:

Subject to an eighty year closure period from date of leaving, but may be consulted by Departmental staff and other appropriate College members with permission from the Head of Department.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, can be supplied to Departmental staff. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archive Services, King's College London.

Finding aids:

Detailed lists are available for consultation in the King's College London Archives Reading Room.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

King's College London Department of Physics Records (Refs: KDPY/F; 1984/KDPY; 1990/KDPY; 1998/KDPY); King's College London School of Physical Sciences and Engineering Records (Ref: K/SPSE).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: King's College London catalogues. Compiled by Beverley Ager as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions:
National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997; ISAD(G), Second edition, 2000.

Date(s) of descriptions:
March 2002

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