Pupin Physics Laboratories

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Pupin Hall before the construction of the Northwest Corner Building, with a majestic view of the gothic spires of Union Theological Seminary and Riverside Church off to the left
See also Wikipedia's article about "Pupin Hall".

Pupin Physics Laboratories, also known as Pupin Hall (pronounced "Pyoo-pin," not "Poo-pin") is home to the Physics Department and a National Historic Landmark. It was built in 1925-1927 to provide more space for the Physics Department which had originally been housed in Fayerweather Hall, and named for Serbian physicist Mihajlo Idvorski Pupin CC 1883 after his death in 1935.

Advances in research

The building is a landmark due to the advances in nuclear research made there during the Manhattan Project to develop the first nuclear weapon. It is connected to the university tunnels, from which one can occasionally access the Manhattan Project's leftover cyclotron and other historic research facilities. Sadly, many of these have been sealed off since the 1980s, when Ken Hechtman wrought havoc with nuclear materials he stole from Pupin's basement.

Other discoveries and breakthroughs achieved in Pupin include:

  • The discovery of deuterium by Harold Urey (in the basement)
  • The investigation of neutron phenomena by George Peagram
  • The construction of one of the country's first cyclotrons (it remains in the basement)
  • January 25, 1939: the first splitting of a uranium atom in the United States, by Enrico Fermi

Features and layout quirks

The current entrance to Pupin is on the 5th floor from the plaza above Dodge Physical Fitness Center. This means that many of the seminar rooms in Pupin on floors 2-4, while above ground, are below campus level and, therefore, windowless - a bad place to have to sit through a discussion section. The original entryway was on the first floor from the Grove, but got blocked by the construction of Dodge in the 1960's. The entryway smells like chlorine because Uris Pool has an exit stairway leading into Pupin's entry for some reason.

The Rutherfurd Observatory is on top of Pupin, which is convenient for the Astronomy Department professors who also work in Pupin. Unfortunately, the night sky in New York is too bright for it to be used for a lot of astronomical research. Nevertheless, the Astronomy Department hosts bi-monthly Public Observing Nights.

Skybridges connect the building to CEPSR and the Northwest Corner Building. Although most people who use them have card access, some who do not have found themselves trapped between doors that lock automatically. Try not to be in this situation.

External link