Ernest Fox Nichols

Ernest Fox Nichols (June 1, 1869 April 29, 1924) was an American educator and physicist. He served as the 10th President of Dartmouth College.

Ernest Fox Nichols
10th President of Dartmouth College
In office
Preceded byWilliam Jewett Tucker
Succeeded byErnest Martin Hopkins
7th President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In office
Preceded byElihu Thomson (acting)
Succeeded bySamuel Wesley Stratton
Personal details
Born(1869-07-01)July 1, 1869
Leavenworth, Kansas
DiedApril 29, 1924(1924-04-29) (aged 54)
New York City, New York
EducationKansas State University (BS)
Cornell University (MS), (D.Sc.)

Early Life

Nichols was born in Leavenworth County, Kansas, and received his undergraduate degree from Kansas State University in 1888. After working for a year in the Chemistry Department at Kansas State, he matriculated to graduate school at Cornell University, where he received degrees in 1893 and 1897. He also studied at the University of Berlin and Cambridge University.

Nichols served as a professor of physics at Colgate University from 1892 to 1898, at Dartmouth College from 1898 to 1903, and Columbia University from 1903 to 1909. From 1909 to 1916, he served as the President of Dartmouth College, and as the president of MIT from 1921 until 1922. However, he was too ill from heart disease during his brief tenure to enter actively into his responsibilities.[1]

Nichols was awarded the Rumford Prize by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1905 for his proof that light exerts pressure. He was also elected Vice President of the National Academy of Sciences. He was adviser of numerous outstanding scientists in Columbia University including Frederic Columbus Blake.[2] His PhD adviser was Edward Leamington Nichols.[3]

Dartmouth presidency

The appointment of Ernest Fox Nichols as the 10th president in the Wheelock Succession could be seen as both a reflection of the times and a tribute to the quality of Dartmouth's faculty. A member of the physics department and its chair at the time of his appointment, Nichols' pioneering work in the measurement of radiation expanded the frontiers of knowledge at the end of the 19th century. He was the first Dartmouth president since John Wheelock who was not a member of the clergy, yet his deep appreciation of the importance of broad-based scholarship to the moral and spiritual growth of students was internationally recognized.

Many of the College's most cherished institutions and traditions took shape during the Nichols administration, including the Dartmouth Outing Club and Winter Carnival. In addition, to improve communications between Dartmouth and its growing body of graduates, President Nichols established the Dartmouth Council of Alumni.

Ernest Fox Nichols stepped down in 1916 to become a professor of physics at Yale University and subsequently became president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Posted with Permission from Dartmouth College

See also


Academic offices
Preceded by
William Jewett Tucker
President of Dartmouth College
1909 – 1916
Succeeded by
Ernest Martin Hopkins
Preceded by
Richard Cockburn Maclaurin
President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1921 – 1922
Succeeded by
Samuel Wesley Stratton
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