Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Bio-Physics Building

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Institution Name: Clark University
Original/Historic Place Name: Chemical Building; Science Building
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
1889original construction Earle, Stephen
Designer: Stephen Earle
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Victorian (Glossary)
Significance: engineering, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: brick with stone trim
Roof: tar paper
1889-present (2006)other (offices)
1889-present (2006)classrooms
1889-present (2006)other (laboratories)

The Bio-Physics building is an irregular Victorian brick structure with stone trim around the sills and a stone belt course above the high basement. Robert H. Goddard, the "father of modern rocketry," used his lab in the basement of the Bio-Physics Building for his early rocketry experiments and construction. This culminated on December 6, 1925 with the rocket test in this building, done on a static rack, which was the first time a liquid-fueled rocket was ever able to exert enough force to lift its own weight. A few months later, on March 16, 1926, Goddard took the rocket out to a farm for the first flight of a liquid-fueled rocket. Furthermore, at the celebration of Clark's twentieth anniversary, Nobel Prize winners A.A. Michelson, Theodore W. Richards, and Ernest Rutherford gave lectures here.


Bush-Brown, Albert. "Image of a University: A Study of Architecture as an Expression of Education at Colleges and Universities in the United States between 1800 and 1900." Ph. D. dissertation, Princeton University, 1958.

Clark University. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1980.

Koelsch, William A. Clark University, 1887-1987: A Narrative History. Worcester, MA: Clark University Press, 1987.


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Last update: November 2006