# History

The United States Naval Academy was founded 1845. The Mathematics Department has offered a B.S. degree in Mathematics since the 1960's. There are currently about sixty faculty members of whom about 45 are civilian professors (all with doctorates) and about 15 are active duty Naval or Marine Corps officers (all with master's degrees). We graduate about 35 Midshipmen mathematics majors each year.

The School of Mathematics and Science of the U.S. Naval Academy is located in the twin buildings Michelson and Chauvenet, which overlook the Severn River near its mouth on the Chesapeake Bay. Albert Michelson was a midshipman and later an officer instructor at USNA. Michelson's early experiments on the speed of light were conducted along the edge of the Severn River just outside the building that now bears his name. The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Albert Michelson in 1907 for his "optical precision instruments and the spectroscopic and metrological investigations carried out with their aid." Michelson was the first American Scientist awarded the Nobel Prize. William Chauvenet was one of America's premier mathematicians in the mid-1800's. He was a founder and one of the first faculty members of the Naval Academy. In 1925, the Mathematical Association of America, in order to honor the best expository mathematics paper of the year, established the annual Chauvenet Prize.

A more complete history has been written by Professor Theodore J. Benac, USNA Professor of Mathematics from 1941 until his death during the fall semester of 1997 (pdf file).

For the history of some of the awards won by the Mathematics Department faculty, see the Faculty Awards page.

History of Chauvenet prepared by Professor M. D. Meyerson (mdm@usna.edu) and Professor T. S. Michael (tsm@usna.edu).

Chauvenet Hall

Michelson Hall