Stonework, Symbols, and Science

Eckhart, finished in 1930, was the last gothic building constructed on the main quadrangle. Designed in the English perpendicular style, the building is notable for its exterior stonework. As part of the planning a Committee on Symbolism was convened to choose appropriate carved etchings related to the building’s purpose. They included reliefs of Newton and Gauss above the front entrance and a sketch of the Pythagorean Theorem over a rear arch. Below the sketch were the crests of universities with the most notable mathematics programs at the time: Gottingen, Paris (Sorbonne) and Cambridge. Around the building were groups of etchings of names of mathematicians, physicists and astronomers arranged more or less chronologically and each placed near the part of the building where the department was originally housed.

Eckhart Hall in 1930

University of Chicago Photographic Archive. Identifier: apf2-02145

Sketch of Pythagorean Theorem

Photo credit: David Adams

Inscription of astronomers' names

Photo credit: David Adams

Carvings of Newton and Gauss

Photo credit: David Adams