Skip Navigation

The College of Sciences at San Diego State University was officially established in 1931. Over the years, the technology and tools used for the College’s joint missions of teaching and creating new knowledge have advanced significantly.

A young man looks through a telescope in a domed building, greyscale

1915: A student enrolled in the San Diego Normal School looks through a telescope with a six-inch objective lens. It was donated to be used by professor William Skilling on the Normal School’s campus, before the Department of Astronomy was established. Photo Credit: SDSU Library Archives

A man in a suit looks at an old-school planetarium projector, greyscale

At left, 1950s: Professor Clifford Smith operates a planetarium projector. This is the Spitz dodecahedron model, with flat pentagonal panels that were easier to manufacture compared to spherical panels. Photo Credit: SDSU Library Archives

Jerome Orosz and Bill Welsh stand with spherical planetarium projector

Above, 2013: Professors Jerome Orosz (left) and Bill Welsh stand with the Spitz A3P planetarium projector while promoting their discovery of planets that orbit two suns. The spherical shape is an improvement over the dodecahedron and is capable of projecting between 1500 and 6000 stars, depending on the setup. Photo Credit: Charlie Neuman, San Diego Union Tribune





1903: San Diego Normal School students gather around a human skeleton adorned with a cap, glasses and cloak. Photo Credit: SDSU Library Archives



2022: SDSU biology students identify similarities and differences between skulls of cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises. Several of the skulls are replicas, made of resin, that are less delicate to handle.

Students wearing sweater and sweatshirts work on their laptops and discuss whale skull features
Women dressed in white blouses and men in suit jackets use microscopes

1903: Several students and an instructor use microscopes in the biology laboratory at the Normal School

Photo Credit: SDSU Library Archives



2021: An SDSU student shows a high schooler a pollen sample using an electron microscope.

An SDSU student shows a high schooler a pollen sample using an electron microscope
Maria Montessori, in black, stands with dozens of female students in white dresses

1905: Famed educator Maria Montessori (center in black) visits with Normal School students

Photo Credit: SDSU Library Archives

1965: John D Schopp, astronomy professor, directs high school science teachers in analyzing gas through displacement of lines in a spectroscope. Students measure the emission of neon, argon, and helium gas. Photo Credit: SDSU Library Archives

Three men in science classroom using spectroscopes
Five people gather around an outdoor table under orange umbrellas to eat a meal

2022: Chemistry education researchers eat a meal together during the American Chemical Society spring conference. Photo Credit: Dr. Regis Komperda

More than 20 people sit in individual desks in a classroom with a chalkboard in the back

1898: Physics class in the Normal School temporary location at the Hill Block Building in Downtown San Diego. Teacher Jesse Burks stands in the back. Photo Credit: SDSU Library Archives



2022: Physics assistant professor Rodrigo Navarro Perez assists students in solving a physics problem at the whiteboard

Three physics students stand with professor at whiteboard
A temporary chemistry building

1948: A temporary chemistry building, located at the site of the present Life Sciences North building Photo Credit: SDSU Library Archives



2022: Chemical Sciences Laboratory building on San Diego State University’s mesa campus, housing chemistry and geological sciences labs

Building with orange details

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This