Physics Department, 1903-1924
b. March 1, 1870, Libertyville, N.Y.
d. July 19, 1924, Amherst, Mass.
Born in Libertyville, NY, on March 1, 1870, Philip Hasbrouck was the key figure in establishing physical sciences education at the Massachusetts Agricultural College.
After graduating with a BSc from Rutgers College in 1893, Hasbrouck worked for two years with the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station before joining the faculty in mathematics at the Massachusetts Agricultural College. In 1903, he added the title Adjunct Professor of Physics, becoming the first member of the faculty to bear that title. At the time, every MAC student was required to take one semester of general physics during his or her sophomore year, and Hasbrouck was known – and appreciated – for being stern in his demeanor and demanding. During the course of the next several years, Hasbrouck helped expand course offerings and by 1911, he negotiated the formation of the new Department of Physics, becoming its first chair.
Through his tenure at MAC, Hasbrouck played a prominent role in the life of the college outside the lecture hall. A popular choice as a student advisor, Hasbrouck also began serving as registrar in 1905, succeeding William Swan Lull, who went on the a career as an important paleontologist at Yale, filling that position for nearly twenty years on top of his teaching load.
On July 19, 1924, Hasbrouck died suddenly of heart failure at the age of 54. Hasbrouck Hall was named in his honor.