Although in 1919 I was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, my parents properly felt that it would be a salutary experience for me to spend a summer on another campus. At that time, the University of Chicago had the preeminent graduate summer school in physics; so I went there at the end of my junior year, and took as part of my program a course in optics under Professor Michelson. Although he was 67 years old, he was vigorous both mentally and physically, even playing tennis at the Quadrangle Club. He had a pedagogical system of his own. There was no final written examination; instead, every week he would interrupt his lectures to send some quivering student to the blackboard to explain a topic that he, Michelson, had previously presented. This system has much to be said in its favor. It insures that the students keep abreast of the lecture material and are clear in their exposition. I can remember that when Michelson felt the presentation was not lucid, he made some such remark as, “How would you expect a beginner to understand what you are saying?”
J. H. Van Vleck, Hollis professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Harvard University, was honored by Case Institute of Technology on December 11, 1963, when he became the first recipient of the new Albert A. Michelson Award. Professor Van Vleck, whose address on that occasion appears below, was cited for his pioneering contributions “to theories of magnetism which provide the essential understanding of solids and have led to important scientific and engineering developments”.