Sheffield Scientific School

Sheffield Scientific School

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Sheffield Scientific School

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Sheffield Scientific School was founded in 1847 as a school of Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut for instruction in science and engineering. Originally named the Yale Scientific School, it was renamed in 1861 in honor of Joseph E. Sheffield, the railroad executive. The school was incorporated in 1871. The Sheffield Scientific School helped establish the model for the transition of U.S. higher education from a classical model to one which incorporated both the sciences and the liberal arts. Following World War I, however, its curriculum gradually became completely integrated with Yale College. The Sheff ceased to function as a separate entity in 1956.


After technological developments in the early nineteenth century such as the electric telegraph, an interest was fostered in teaching applied science at universities. Harvard established the Lawrence Scientific School in 1846 and Dartmouth began the Chandler Scientific School in 1852. The stage was set at Yale for the transition in education beginning in 1846, when professorships of agricultural chemistry (John Pitkin Norton) and practical chemistry (Benjamin Silliman Jr.) were established. In 1847, the School of Applied Chemistry became part of a newly created Department of Philosophy and the Arts (later, the Yale Graduate School). John Norton retired in 1852 and was replaced by John Addison Porter. Applied chemistry was followed in 1852 by a professorship of civil engineering (William Augustus Norton)...
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