DePaul's University Archives has unveiled a fresh exhibit to celebrate the opening of the new College of Science and Health
. From Halley's Comet to the Bottom of the World
highlights the fun, the strange, and the remarkable events and people in DePaul's scientific past.
Did you know that the first women to spend an entire winter in Antarctica were from DePaul? DePaul alumna and faculty member Mary Alice McWhinnie was internationally renowned for her work with krill
, a tiny
crustacean that flourishes in the Antarctic waters. She and her research assistant, Sister Mary Odile Cahoon, spent much of 1974 at an isolated research station on McMurdo Sound, studying the life cycle of krill. Professor McWhinnie left behind a rich record of her experience there, beyond her scientific publications, in the lengthy letters she wrote to friends and family during that 1974 trip.
The new exhibit features excerpts from these detailed and often humorous letters, as well as photos of McWhinnie's time in Antarctica. You'll also see a scientific paper she co-authored with some of her DePaul colleagues, including one who would attain his own distinction as DePaul's 8th president. The Very Reverend John T. Cortelyou C.M
. was a member of the faculty and chair of the Biology Department before taking the top office. Father Cortelyou remains the only DePaul president to have received an advanced degree in the sciences, although he is not the only notable priest-scientist in DePaul history.
The Reverend Daniel McHugh, C.M.
, who taught astronomy and other sciences at DePaul, gained national attention for claiming to be the first person in Chicago to observe Halley's Comet in November of 1909. The sighting, made from the observatory atop Byrne Hall, incited controversy, and Fr. McHugh received many letters disputing the possibility of his claim. Despite the controversy, Fr. McHugh spoke widely on the Comet in Chicago, in part to put people at ease about the strange and infrequent sight in the sky.
See letters from some of Fr. McHugh's doubters alongside artifacts documenting Father Cortleyou's and Dr. McWhinnie's contributions to science at DePaul, and don't miss the exhibit's timeline of milestones and quirky mom
ents in science at DePaul.
Where and When: See the exhibit on the 1st floor of Richardson Library; on display during Winter and Spring Quarters 2012.
For more information about the science or scientists featured in the exhibit: Email us
or stop by Richardson 314. Browse McWhinnie and Cortelyou's scientific papers, and see the original letters challenging Fr. McHugh's claim to the Halley's Comet sighting.
Can't make the exhibit? Watch this Two-Minute Tour
and see other unique resources in the Special Collections and Archives Department