Browse Exhibits (3 total)

“Throop’s Superlative Opportunity”: The Story of the Gates Laboratory of Chemistry


The Gates Laboratory of Chemistry, constructed in 1917 in part to persuade chemist Arthur A. Noyes to join the faculty, is Caltech’s oldest building and the first to cross the hundred-year threshold. Today, the building is the home of the Institute’s administrative offices and is called the Parsons-Gates Hall of Administration.

Building a Chemistry Division

Noyes at breakfast_1.44-6_600.jpg

Over the century since the Gates Laboratory of Chemistry was built, Caltech’s Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering has grown exponentially. Here are some of the stories from that history.

Becoming Caltech: Building A Research Community, 1910–1930


In 1891, Pasadena minister and politician Amos Throop founded Throop University. Soon renamed Throop Polytechnic Institute, the school offered a wide range of courses, from elementary school to “manual arts” such as carpentry and sewing.

In the 1910s and 1920s, Throop dramatically reinvented itself, first focusing its curriculum on engineering, then expanding into a research institute. The school began building its current campus, recruited renowned faculty, constructed sophisticated laboratories, trained students to become leading researchers, and established new relationships with industry and government.

On February 10, 1920, Throop’s trustees acknowledged this transformation by changing the institution’s name once again. Throop became the California Institute of Technology.

This exhibition opened in the Beckman Room at Caltech a century later on February 10, 2021. This online version of the exhibition is a work-in-progress and will be expanding to mirror the physical exhibition over the coming weeks.