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Matthews, Charles Philo (1867-1907) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Name: Matthews, Charles Philo (1867-1907)

Historical Note:

Professor Charles Philo Matthews was born in Fort Covington, Vermont September 18, 1867. He attended the St. Johnsbury Academy at St. Johnsbury, Vermont, graduating there in 1887. He then entered Cornell University, graduating from Sibley College with the degree of Mechanical Engineering in 1892. In 1901 he received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from his Alma Mater.

Immediately after graduation he became instructor in Physics and Applied Electricity at Cornell, serving in that capacity four years, until 1906. At that time he was called to Purdue and appointed Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering. From this time until his death he was continuously a member of the Purdue faculty.

As a result of a strenuous investigation involving photometric measurements his eyesight became impaired in 1903, and he was given leave of absence for a year, returning to the University thereafter in greatly improved health. In 1905 he succeeded Professor Goldsborough as head of the School of Electrical Engineering.

During Professor Matthews' connection with the School of Electrical Engineering it grew to be the largest in the country in point of numbers. In this development he had a large share. His instruction was of the highest order, not only on account of his professional ability and training, but quite as much on account of his exceptional personality and gifts.

He made valuable contributions to his science; his chief work being in investigation of photometric standards for arc lamps. This was done in connection with the National Electric Light Association. In this he directed all of the experimental work, aggregating about two hundred pages.

In this connection he devised an patented an integrating photometer. This instrument received a gold medal at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. He was also collaborator in the production of text books in physics and electricity with Professor Nichols and Shearer of Cornell and with Professor Esterline of Purdue, and he published a number of papers on electrical subjects. He was a member of the honor fraternity, Sigma Xi.

Sources: In Memoriam - taken from the program for his memorial service.

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