From the time Slater was called to MIT as Head of the Physics department by MIT's new president Karl T. Compton in 1930 the department changed in its culture so that, at the end of WWII, the division of the department into General Physics and Applied Physics was no longer relevant, so it became plain physics with various professional flavors, such as high energy particles, radioactivity, etc. From 1945 through 1952 Freshman physics, 8.01 and 8.02, had 2 hours of laboratory exercises a week, and the Sophomore physics, 8.03 and 8.04 had 1 hour of laboratory exercise. These first two years were required of all MIT students, though there were varieties of presentation of the material provided. Starting in the 1952-53 school year the freshman year laboratory was reduced to 1 hour. By then the number of students in the physics department had risen to 500, 300 undergraduates and 200 graduate students,
By 1951 physics had become the third largest department in the Institute. In 1951-52 1400 students took elementary laboratory instruction. Sanborn Brown took on responsibility for laboratory modernization and improvement. The 1951 President's Report says that the Freshman and Sophomore year physics courses were being reorganized. Committees were appointed to carry out renovation of the curriculum. Professors Zacharias, Strandberg, Harvey, and Francis Friedman investigated the whole undergraduate curriculum. They evolved an excellent forward looking revision, the 1953 President's Report states, for approval next year. The plan enabled more elective freedom, and variable pace. It added an undergraduate course in quantum mechanics. The 1954 Report states that the first and second year teaching effort made progress, especially in laboratory instruction. The long range program of improvement made progress. Better teaching methods in the laboratory produced high teaching assistant morale. The revision of the undergraduate curriculum was accepted. The 1955 Report noted the introduction of new courses at the Junior year level for non physics majors, such as electrical engineers. The 1956 Report states that the overhaul of Junior year laboratory courses was a four or five year effort. The 1957 Report says that the fraction of students choosing physics increased in the entering class to a high of 1 in 4. There were that year 700 students in the physics department counting all levels. Edwin H. Land's Arthur D. Little lecture was mentioned. It had generated discussion not only with regard to the freshman year, but the pattern of all our teaching. It is noteworthy the F.W. Sears resigned to accept a faculty position at Dartmouth College. His books and lectures were the instrument the department had used to deliver palatable physics to the first two years required courses. Also noted was the fact that junior Laboratory was bursting at the seams. But Professors Strandberg and Kraushaar were making good progress coping with the numbers. A fourth year course that combined laboratory and thesis was created. The 1958 Report noted that Professor Zacharias' Physical Sciences Study Committee was beginning to take shape. After the work of the committee to revise the physics curriculum, Professor Zacharias was of the opinion that improvement in the education of our students depended on the introduction to physics that they received in high school. I remember a Visiting Committee meeting after the Curriculum committee had submitted a plan for adoption. We discussed the plan. After the presentation Professor Zacharias discussed the need for better prepared students coming from secondary schools. After he finished Mervin Kelley supported the ideas Professor Zacharias had for teaching secondary school science. He urged him to pursue the project, saying something like, ``This could be the best thing you have ever done.'' So by about 1956 Professor Zacharias had begun activities to get PSSC started. The 1959 Report stated that there was a total of 850 physics majors. More Freshmen elected physics for their major field than any other professional course. And again the first year laboratory was strengthened and the second year laboratory was gaining stature. The fourth year laboratory was moved to building 20 to replace the space taken for third year laboratory. To minister to MIT's own needs, the PSSC staff and space were being transformed into a Science Teaching Center. There was a significant addition to the list of physics courses, 8.12 Special Problems in Undergraduate Physics. This course offered undergraduates an opportunity to join professional research groups. The intention was to give undergraduates an opportunity to sense the flavor of current research and to measure the student's interest in a particular field of current research. The introduction of this course could have been causally related to Edwin Land's Arthur D. Little lecture. Finally William Whitney and Robert Marcley were awarded a prize by the American Physical Society for excellence in first year laboratory equipment. Marcley accepted an offer from the APS to join their staff to help disseminate information on experimental apparatus. By 1961 the Science Teaching Center was in full functioning state. By 1963 8.13 was added. It offered Special Problems in Reading and both 8.12 and 8.13 were under Professor Buechner, who was then the Head of the Physics Department. That year, laboratory in the freshman year physics courses was dropped. The following year, 1964, laboratory was dropped from the sophomore year physics courses. Professors King and Perry began elective first and second year physics laboratory for 150 students. By 1967 Professor Hill, then the Associate head of the Physics department, had taken charge of the special problems in undergraduate research course, 8.12 and 8.13. Professor King' course for laboratory for the first two years of physics, 8.14, was mentioned the President's Report. By 1968 laboratory courses for all years were revised and renumbered. The special problems in undergraduate research became 8.18 and 8.19. It was still supervised by Professor Hill. In 1970 Professor Hill moved to Draper Laboratory and the courses were taken over by Professor French, who also took over the position of Associate Head of the Physics Department. The 1970-71 President's Report has the statement by the Head of the physics department, Professor Weisskopf, that the department had 100 students enrolled in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program that year.