Charles William Berry (1872-1968)

Photo of Berry

Charles William Berry, who was, for many years, in charge of thermodynamics instruction, was born in Charleston, Massachusetts in 1872. He attended public schools in Somerville and graduated from the Institute Electrical Engineering Course in 1895. He was awarded the Swett Fellowship and studied for two years at Gottingen under Walter Nernst, the physical chemist, and Felix Klein, the mathematician.

Returning to the Institute, Berry taught mathematics for some time, but in 1899, came to the Mechanical Engineering Department where he taught thermodynamics for the next forty years. He directed the Refrigeration Laboratory from 1916 until his retirement in 1940.

Professor Berry introduced new subjects in Refrigeration, Heat Transmission, and Thermodynamics of Gas Mixtures. He was the author of a text on graphical thermodynamics, "The Temperature Entropy Diagram," and the inventor of the temperature-entropy indicator, a device which draws a chart showing the heat exchanges between the hot gases and the walls of an engine or cylinder. The indicator quickly produced results which would have taken hours of calculation by other methods. Berry also authored a book on "Problems of Heat Engineering".

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Source: MIT Museum records
Author: J. Lienhard, from biographical texts in the MIT Museum
Photograph: Courtesy of the MIT Museum

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