Magie, William Francis, 1858-1943

Alternative names
Birth 1858
Death 1943

Biographical notes:

William Francis Magie graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1879. He was a founder of the American Physical Society, and its president from 1910 to 1912. He taught physics at Princeton University for almost half a century, and was one of the group of alumni who nurtured Princeton's development from a college to a university. At the end of his senior year, on Commencement Day, one of his professors, Cyrus Fog Brackett, offered him the job to become his assistant. In 1884 Magie took a leave of absence and went to Germany where he studied at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universita╠łt in Berlin under Hermann von Helmholtz and subsequently earned his Ph.D. A decade later he collaborated with two physicians in publishing the first paper in the USA on the possible use of X-rays in surgery. He was also the author of a highly regarded account of the rise and content of physical theories, PRINCIPLES OF PHYSICS. His greatest work, however, was in teaching and administration. After Brackett retired in 1908 Magie succeeded him as chairman of the physics department, and later as Joseph Henry Professor of Physics. In 1912 he served as dean of the faculty until 1925. He continued to serve as chairman of the physics department until his retirement in 1929, when at Commencement Day he was awarded an honorary Sc.D.

From the description of William Francis Magie papers, 1875-1945 (bulk 1875-1920) (Princeton University Library). WorldCat record id: 84676137


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Mathematics--Study and teaching--19th century
  • Lectures and lecturing--19th century
  • Graduate students--19th century--Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc
  • Physicists--20th century


not available for this record


  • Germany--Berlin (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)