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How ugly is your physics department?

  1. My Physics department is markedly nicer compared to the average buildings/departments on campus.

    1 vote(s)
  2. My Physics department is about average compared to the other buildings/departments on campus.

    14 vote(s)
  3. My Physics department is markedly uglier compared to the average buildings/departments on campus.

    11 vote(s)
  1. Jan 29, 2014 #1
    I've noticed that most Physics departments I've been to are often quite shabby and/or in very ugly or neglected parts of campus. The buildings tend to be old, plain, and just unsightly. I'm wondering if this is common or not, and if it is why so, so I want to gather some data. When you vote, please consider the building which houses the majority of the tenured, teaching faculty. That is, the full Professors, and not random building which may house adjunct or research-only professors. The building that constitutes the "core" of the department should be what you base your vote on (just think where they hold their weekly/monthly faculty meetings, or where the physics office is located).

    I'm guessing that if it's a common theme, it's probably related to how much money physics brings in to the school/university compared to other departments, but we'll see!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 29, 2014 #2


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    The beauty is in the equation!
  4. Jan 29, 2014 #3


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    It's all the fault of them thermodynamics people...
  5. Jan 29, 2014 #4
    My physics department is small, with only like 10 actual physics professors, so it's combined in the engineering building. It's not amazing, but it's a nice building. Only thing I've noticed is the bathrooms always stink in that building. I hate going in there.
  6. Jan 29, 2014 #5


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    At the University of Toronto (my alma mater), the physics department is located in the McLennan Physical Lab, which in my opinion is a decent looking building. Some of you might recognize the interior of the building if you have seen the film Good Will Hunting, specifically the classroom scenes. Interestingly, I recall the lecture halls to be noticeably darker than how it appears in the film.
  7. Jan 29, 2014 #6

    D H

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    The physics department at my alma matter is housed in Rockefeller Hall, built in 1903. A good chunk of the funding for that building came from John Rockefeller, hence the name. Rumor has it that the university diverted a good chunk of the money given to the school by Rockefeller to other projects and skimped on the building of Rockefeller Hall. The building is so ugly, inside and out, that Rockefeller vowed to never give another dime to my alma matter. He founded the University of Chicago instead.
  8. Jan 29, 2014 #7


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    They have a new building for the physics department now. They just call it the physical sciences building (PSB) and it's right next to Rockefeller. Rockefeller is now used for physics classes and some other random classes and it's definitely ugly but PSB is pretty sweet.
  9. Jan 29, 2014 #8


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    At my university both the engineering and physics buildings are, in my opinion, two of the ugliest of the whole campus. The exterior of the engineering building features blue tiles that look like they belong either in a public swimming pool or perhaps the bathroom of a hospital, and the physics building looks like it's about to collapse (and also features the same, or at least similar, exterior decor as the engineering department). The arts department, on the other hand, is quite attractive on the outside, so much so that a bunch of peacocks even live right outside (the sound they make is akin to a screaming child, though).
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014
  10. Jan 29, 2014 #9
    Relative to the rest of the campus, the science building is nice but nothing special. All the buildings look new and relatively modern, though the humanities building is very Spartan. I am attending a community college, so the buildings looks anemic compared to what most people have at universities.
  11. Jan 29, 2014 #10
    Well I'm in an astronomy department not physics, but we share the same building.
    We always complain how we want a new building. It's quite old and boring and chopped up into many small floors. All the new and shiny buildings around campus are for computer sciences or bio/chemistry. The university keeps building new ones but never anything related to physics or astronomy. It's not that surprising, we don't bring in as much money as the other guys.

    And most of our funding for buildings go to the observatory. So I'm not really complaining that much :)
  12. Jan 29, 2014 #11


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    This topic is extremely offensive; the college I attend doesn't have a physics department.
  13. Jan 29, 2014 #12


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    That's like every educational institution that I attended until college.
  14. Jan 30, 2014 #13


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    I think that's where Richard Feynmann recorded his lectures on Physics, and Hans Bethe taught.
  15. Jan 30, 2014 #14


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    Where I went to school (UW-Madison), I don't think the Physics buildings (there were two) were ugly at all. They are not the most beautiful buildings on campus, but they were stately.

    Sterling Hall is where I spent most of my time.

    This building also houses the Astronomy people, and it has an observatory on the roof.

    The other building that housed the physics people was Chamberlain Hall, right next to, and connected to, Sterling Hall.
    http://photos.uc.wisc.edu/photos/987/original/Chamberlin_Hall00.jpg?1286778855 [Broken]

    I remember seeing, almost every day, this huge detector for Fermilab being assembled in one of the high-bay area in Chamberlain Hall.

    Sterling Hall, if you look it up, has a sad history. During the height of protests against the Vietnam war, the building was bombed, resulting in the death of a researcher.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  16. Jan 30, 2014 #15


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    I found this pic of my alma matter's physical science building. Brings back a lot of good memories.

  17. Jan 30, 2014 #16


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    The physics building on my campus is old, with the shape and size of its windows making it look like a prison. There are many old buildings (some as old as 1885) on campus so it's aesthetically average, in my opinion.
  18. Jan 30, 2014 #17
    Those buildings are both very nice in my opinion.

    This is my undegraduate physics building:


    and the inside is even worse.
  19. Feb 19, 2014 #18
    Dear DIPOLE

    I recognize your physics bldg. well. I used to have an office in the weather station (your fifth floor). I even been to the roof above the weather station. Those were good years

    In every physics dept I have attended our bldgs. and surroundings were excellent or above average relative to the rest of the campus.
  20. Feb 20, 2014 #19
    Dear DIPOLE

    The construction crane does nothing to increase the aesthetic value. The last time I was at your school, the construction in erecting your new bldgs. detracted from the beauty. I do admit when I had an office in the weather station, looking out in all directions, I realized I would probably never have as scenic an office, and I never have. I was lucky I even got a window. Most offices are now cubicles.

    The real tipoff as to where you might be is the snow on the ground. At your site snow on the ground is omnipresent between November and April. Also most of my pictures have gray skies. Your hill location still beats the city below.
  21. Feb 20, 2014 #20
    Here we don't have a physics building, the institute is spread in a place called Central Institute of Sciences, so it's pretty ugly and messy.
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