Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Heads of the department

Robert H. Richards 1873-1914
Heinrich O. Hofman 1915-1920
Waldemar Lindgren 1920-1927
W. Spencer Hutchinson 1927-1937
Robert S. Williams 1937-1946
John Chipman 1946-1962
Thomas B. King 1962-1972
Carl F. Floe 1972-1973, Acting Head
Walter S. Owen 1973-1982
Merton C. Flemings 1982-1995
Thomas W. Eagar 1995-2000
Subra Suresh 2000-2006
Edwin L. Thomas 2006-2011
Christopher A. Schuh 2011-

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering developed from courses given in mining and metallurgy. A course in geology and mining, Course III, was offered when MIT opened in 1865. In 1871 the course was renamed geology and mining engineering, and in 1873 a separate course, Course VI, was offered in metallurgy. In 1884 metallurgy was reabsorbed into Course III which became the Department of Mining and Metallurgy. In 1889 the name changed again to the Department of Mining Engineering and Metallurgy, and in 1892 geology was made a separate department.

In 1920 geology rejoined Course III and the name changed to the Department of Mining, Metallurgy, and Geology. In 1926 geology was again separated, and the department’s name became mining and metallurgy.

In 1936 mining and metallurgy were split into two departments and the following year the decision was made to discontinue mining engineering as of 1940. After a few years as Course XIX, the Department of Metallurgy was again designated Course III. Mineral engineering was assigned to the Department of Metallurgy, and mineral resources to the Department of Geology. In 1967 the department name changed to the Department of Metallurgy and Materials Science and in 1974 it became the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Prepared by the Institute Archives, MIT Libraries
October 1995; updated December 2005