2019 Ernest Fox Nichols Distinguished Alumni Lecture

Joanna Behrman

Bridging Physics and the Household: Madalyn Avery's Career at KSU

March 25

4:15 pm

103 Cardwell Hall


This talk concerns the largely forgotten history of Madalyn Avery and the field of household physics. Avery, a graduate of K-State and professor in the physics department for many decades, earned her BS in General Science in 1924 and her MS in Physics in 1932, when K-State was the Kansas College of Agriculture and Applied Science. Avery built her career working at the border of applied physics and home economics. Like many women of her generation who were trained in science, she found greater acceptance and respectable employment by concentrating on scientific problems
traditionally associated with women. Although Avery is not well known today, she was the author of the highly influential textbook Household Physics which was used in over a hundred colleges and universities around the world. This talk will detail how Madalyn Avery taught generations of K-State students to apply their physics knowledge to problems of the household.

Lecture Poster