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When the University of Texas opened in September 1883, John W. Mallet, professor of physics and chemistry, served as Chairman of the Faculty, which consisted of just 8 members. The office of the University President was not created until 1895.

In 1884, the university created a department of chemistry and a department of physics.

In 1894, George W. Pierce, a pioneer of radiotelephony, earned the university's first Masters degree in physics.

In 1933, the new Physics and Astronomy Building (later renamed Painter Hall), which contained a miniature astronomical observatory, was completed.

In 1942, the first Bachelor of Science degree in physics was offered.

In 1970, the College of Natural Sciences was formed from several departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, including the Department of Physics.

In 1972, the Department of Physics moved to the new Physics, Math and Astronomy Building (which was renamed R.L. Moore Hall in 1973, then renamed with its original moniker in 2020)

For an in-depth look at an unofficial history, see University of Texas at Austin Physics Department History. Professor Emeritus Mel Oakes has been working on this website to provide us with many fabulous pictures and details not commonly known.