History of Physics at Xavier

Former department members include: V.C. Stechschulte, S.J. who invented the way to discover significant information about deep focus earthquakes, A. Poetker, S.J. who discovered the Poetker lines of infrared spectroscopy; Edward A. Bradley, S.J., a seismologist, had pictures of his Antarctic expedition published in the National Geographic magazine. Boris Podolsky who is famous for the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen effect in quantum mechanics; D.A. Wells, author of the Schaum Outline on Lagrangian Dynamics, F.G. Werner who worked with Niels Bohr in Copenhagen.

Our university's first science instructor was Judge J.B. Stallo who taught at Xavier in 1841! Nobelist P.W. Bridgman edited the book: The Concepts and Theories of Modern Physics, by J.B. Stallo, Harvard Press 1960. In this book Bridgman points out that Ernst Mach, of the Mach number, became acquainted with Stallo's unique and important ideas through conversations with Bertrand Russell. Mach's ideas greatly influenced Einstein. So we like to speculate that seeds of relativity theory were planted at Xavier University.

One of our most exciting adventures was a weeklong conference on quantum mechanics, which explored the very famous Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen effect and was attended by Boris Podolsky, Nathan Rosen, Nobelists P.A.M. Dirac and Eugene Wigner, Yakir Aharonov of the Aharonov-Bohm Effect, and many other leading physicists. Dirac's public lecture was published in the Scientific American.

The above history is © 2002, J.B. Hart.