Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Willibald Weniger Papers, 1880-1955

Biographical Note

Willibald Weniger was born on 20 June 1884 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He spoke German at home and in the Milwaukee public schools he attended. Weniger received B.A. (1905), M.S. (1906), and Ph.D. (1908) degrees from the University of Wisconsin. In 1908, he came to Oregon Agricultural College to organize and head the Physics Department. Weniger left the College in 1914 to work as a physicist in the Nela Research Laboratories of General Electric in Cleveland. During World War I he studied the relative merits of monocular and binocular field glasses for all except field artillery purposes.

Weniger returned to OAC in 1920 as Physics Department head. During a 1929/1930 sabbatical at the Smithsonian Institution, including 5 months at Table Mountain Solar Observatory, he measured energy from the sun to correlate changes in the sun's emission of energy with the earth's weather. In 1933 he became Assistant Dean of the Graduate Division and later served as Associate Dean and Dean before his return to the Physics Department in 1949. During a 1938 summer sabbatical he visited universities, physical laboratories, and factories in Europe with other American physicists. After retiring from Oregon State College, he spent 4 years (1951-1955) as head of the Physics and Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Alaska.

Weniger married Myrtle Elizabeth Knepper, a librarian, in 1918; their son, George Edward, was born in 1919. Weniger invented a transluscent blackboard and a typewriter attachment for typing Greek letters and mathematical symnbols. He died 14 March 1959 in Corvallis, Oregon. The Physics Building, completed that same year was named Weniger Hall in his honor.


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