On June 22, 1945, at the midtown Town Hall, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie "Bird" Parker play a legendary concert later celebrated as the birth of bebop and modern jazz. The photos are from their Town Hall concert a month earlier, on May 16, 1945.
August 14, 1945—The famous “Kiss in Times Square” photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt at the end of World War II, published in Life magazine
1946-1947 Bulletin—The first graduate level courses ever offered in computer science at any university are given by the Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory at Columbia University. They are: “Machine Methods of Scientific Calculation” by Prof. Wallace Eckert (Astronomy 111-112), shown (left) c. 1930; “Numerical Methods (Engineering 281) by Prof. Herb Grosch, shown (right), 1951.
Returning to normalcy after WWII, from the 1947 Columbia Engineer yearbook. The Columbia Engineer yearbook started in 1894, but began to be published regularly only in 1922. It had earlier been the Miner, which had started in 1879.
The March 25, 1947 Spectator editorial terms the separation of the College and Engineering a “separationist policy” (because pre-engineering College students transfer to Engineering before the junior year).
“Once Columbia College men enter the Engineering school the process of isolation from the College begins. The men turn out their own yearbook; have their own Student Council.” …(the Engineering) “School's administration refused to circulate copies of the College's newspaper. The net result of this isolationist, Engineering School First policy has been a weakening of the ties binding Columbia College students to their Alma Mater.
“The college has not helped matters by refusing Engineering students the right to engage in extra-curricular activities (except athletics) for four years (as any "normal" undergraduate).”
A letter to the March 27, 1947 Spectator from Leon Philipson notes: “… While the College student receives his Spectator free …, the School of Engineering was requested to pay for copies of the Spectator. ….” “Engineers remember when, during the war, they were entreated to the Student Association, and support the activities now excluded to them.”
Jackie Robinson plays his first major league baseball game, for the Brooklyn Dodgers in Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947.
Camp Columbia, from the 1947 Columbia Engineer yearbook.
From the 1947 Columbia Engineer yearbook: Stress-strain determinations in the testing lab (upper left); Prof. Ragazzini explains an electric set-up (lower left); Automotive set-up (right).
Cartoons from the 1947 Columbia Engineer yearbook
1947—In his paper (right) Prof. John R. Ragazzini MA’39 PhD‘41 notes a development by student/engineer Loebe Julie that leads to the first modern, differential operational amplifier (op-amp). This op-amp design has two major innovations: (1) the first op-amp design to have two inputs (one inverting, the other non-inverting) and (2) an input stage that uses a long-tailed triode pair with loads matched to reduce output drift. In this paper Prof. Ragazzini is credited with coining the term “operational amplifier.” Shown is the first commercial op-amp, from George A. Philbrick Researches, Incorporated (1953), which is based on Loebe Julie's 1947 design.
The October 1, 1947 Spectator editorial follows up its March 25, 1947 editorial on the perceived separation of Engineering and the College.
“According to the new eligibility regulations for AA books (to attend athletic events, such as football games, for free), undergraduates in the engineering school who did not come from Columbia College are not given the free student tickets for the football games. As far as we are concerned, this is a pure case of discrimination against this minority group of "strangers" in the Engineering school. They are undergraduates, paying the same fees as any one of their fellow students, and we are certain, they are just as much "college men" as any liberal arts student in the college.”
“Participation in College non-athletic extracurricular activities has already been denied to all Engineering School students. What assurance do we have that they will not be denied the right of participation on Columbia's athletic squads next year?”
“AA books have now been denied to Engineering students who have come from other schools. What assurance do we have that next year AA books will be denied to all Engineering School students?
The October 6, 1947 Spectator presents the first official reaction to recent student complaints concerning the distribution of AA books (cartoon from the October 1, 1947 Spectator editorial) by Provost Albert C. Jacobs and Engineering Dean J.K. Finch.
Provost Jacobs: “… The University is faced with a most difficult problem in the distribution of Student Athletic Ticket Books. It is impossible to apply the AA ticket ruling to all undergraduates. … some groups may feel that they have been overlooked. … a special committee is now studying the problem, endeavoring to arrive at a satisfactory ruling which may be applied next year.”
Dean Finch: “… it is … discouraging to find that our students are to be discriminated against in the matter of participation in sports, either as players or spectators. … We understand that this matter is under careful study by a special committee, and that the present inequitable rulings will be revised.”
New York children at play. 1948—‘Boy jumping into the Hudson River’ (left). 1950—Playing in the street in Prospect Place, Brooklyn (Arthur Leipzig's ‘Chalk Games’) (right).
Camp Columbia, from the 1948 (right) and 1949 (left) Columbia Engineer yearbooks.
1949—In the days before computers were generally available, Prof. Mario Salvadori explains numerical methods for performing calculations.
1949—Because engineers are becoming very interested in getting doctorates, there is discussion about establishing an engineering doctorate in the School (which students could pursue instead of the Arts and Sciences PhD). This is debated in the Jan. 1949 issue of the Columbia Engineering Quarterly (by the faculty shown). In 1902 the power to grant PhDs had been moved from the School of Applied Science (renamed from Mines) to the new Faculty of Pure Science.
1950—The EngScD is adopted.
1953—Eliahu I. Jury is awarded the first SEAS EngScD.
Most students still pursue PhDs.
1949—GE advertises in the Columbia Engineering Quarterly to recruit graduates.
The “Golden Age of Television” begins. Many (live) TV shows are broadcast from New York, including: Texaco Star Theater (1948–1955), hosted by Milton Berle (left); Your Show of Shows (1950-1954), featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca (right). This leads to skyrocketing television sales (1949).
From the 1949 Columbia Engineer yearbook.
Summer in the City, Coney Island
1949—The PhD thesis of Elmer Gaden (later professor) is on the large-scale production of penicillin. His groundbreaking dissertation focused on providing the optimal amount of oxygen to allow greater fermentation energy for penicillin mold to grow and multiply more rapidly. This formed the basis for mass production of antibiotics, beginning with penicillin. Prof. Gaden is known as “The Father of Biochemical Engineering”, and later receives many awards (left).
1950—Civil Defense pamphlets during the Cold War frequently portray a mushroom cloud over New York City, to illustrate the impact of nuclear weapons or represent everytown USA; portrayal of New York in this way also occurs in other art forms (lower left by Chesley Bonestell, Colliers, 1948).
Students working in the library; photo from the 1950 Columbia Engineer yearbook.
Fundraiser for a new Engineering Center is held at the Waldorf-Astoria (with Herbert Hoover, below) on Nov. 7, 1951, as reported by Spectator two days earlier. It is expected that with the establishment of this Center at 125th St. and Riverside Drive, the number of Engineering students can be doubled from the current ~300 juniors and seniors total (who had been pre-engineers in the College their first two years), by bringing in more 3-2 students (transfers from other colleges, which actually begins in the 1953-54 academic year). Though parts of this facility are used by chemical, civil and electrical engineering faculty, this project is never fully completed and does not meet expectations.
Electrical testing equipment from the early 1950s (lower image) and earlier (upper image).
The Jan. 10, 1952 Spectator reports that a poll conducted by SEAS Dean Dunning concludes that developments in the production and use of steel are the most significant engineering advance in the past century.
1953—Broadway, Times Square. The Times Square area becomes less than desirable for several decades starting in the 1960s, until its revival that starts in the mid-1990s.
The new “combined” plan 3-2 program will begin in the 1953-54 academic year, with 200 new fourth year students from 38 colleges and universities coming to the School, as reported in the Oct. 22, 1952 Spectator. After three years of general college work (elsewhere) and two years in the Columbia School of Engineering, they will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science degree. This is part of the School expansion, which includes the new Engineering Center at Riverside Drive and 125th St., which is expected to be completed in 1954. Renovations on the first unit of the center, 632 W. 125th St., The Sheffield Building, are almost complete.
The ongoing rivalry between the American League New York Yankees and the National League New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers, particularly in the World Series, rivets New York.
The NYC Subway Token is born in 1953. Nickels (from 1904-1948) and dimes (1948-1953) had been used in turnstiles. The new fare of 15 cents required new technology. Shown: token from 1953 to 1970 (left: obverse side, right, reverse side).
1954—Plans for a new Engineering building to be erected at 120th St. and Amsterdam Ave. are announced by Columbia President Grayson Kirk. The April 20, 1954 Spectator reports “The new building will be used for "educational" purposes in contrast to the projected Engineering Center at 125th St. and Riverside Dr. which is planned to house facilities for research and technical development.” In preparation for this construction, several temporary structures will need to be removed: the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory quonset hut, storehouses for physics equipment and for the geology and geo-physics departments, a statue and five tennis courts. “ … the Trustees are aware of the unsightliness of these buildings…” as reported by the March 27, 1953 Spectator. This building, to be named the S. W. Mudd Building, is built five years later.
1954—Computing advances at Columbia as IBM's Naval Ordnance Research Calculator (NORC), the first supercomputer, begins operation at Columbia University's Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory, 612 West 115th St. It will be most powerful computer on earth from 1954 to about 1963, and operate until 1968, and was built between 1950 and 1954 for $250,000 (1952 dollars). The dedication in the Watson Lab on Dec. 2, 1954 includes IBM Chairman Thomas J. Watson, Wallace Eckert and John von Neumann (lower left). The reception the same day at the Columbia Faculty club includes Wallace Eckert, Robert J. Oppenheimer, Thomas J. Watson, Sr., Columbia Vice President George Pegram (signing guest book), John von Neumann, and I.I. Rabi (lower right, photo: Herb Grosch).
1954—Joseph Papp founds the New York Shakespeare Festival, with the aim of making Shakespeare's works accessible to the public. In 1957, Joseph Papp is granted the use of Central Park for free productions of “Shakespeare in the Park”, which has continued at the open-air Delacorte Theatre every summer in Central Park. Shown (below): Papp amid construction of the Delacorte Theater in Central Park in 1961 and (upper) the June 17, 1964 performance of Hamlet there. He later starts the Public Theater for all-year theater in 1967 with Lafayette Street’s Astor Library.
In the postwar period, the Cold War influences the work and study of engineers, as reported in the Spectator on Oct. 5, 1954 and Oct. 10, 1957, below right.