The Faculty History Project documents faculty members who have been associated with the University of Michigan since 1837. Key in this effort is to celebrate the intellectual life of the University. This Faculty History Website is intended as a component of the effort to document the extraordinary academic achievements of Michigan’s faculty in building and sustaining one of the world’s great universities. It provides access to a comprehensive database of information concerning the thousands of faculty members who have served the University of Michigan.
Find out more.

The Bentley Historical Library serves as the official archives for the University.

Follows in Father's Footsteps

David M. Dennison
The Michigan Alumnus 360

Follows In Father’s Footsteps As A Michigan Professor

DAVID M. DENNISON. Ph.D., '24, lived in Ann Arbor as a 
small boy when his father, Walter 
Dennison, was Professor of Latin in 
the University. Later, when his father
 was teaching at Swarthmore. The 
young man took his Bachelor's de
gree there. He then came to Michi
gan to study for his Ph.D., and when 
it had been earned he spent three 
years in study abroad on two fellow
ships, one of them from Michigan. 

He began teaching in the Physics De
partment as an Instructor in 1927 
and has been promoted rapidly to
 his present post as Professor of
 Physics. Molecules are his specialty 
and it takes a pretty smart molecule 
to hide its personality from Professor 
Dennison. More seriously, his prin
cipal professional interest is the
 structure of molecules as determined
 from their infrared spectra. Recently 
he has been working on the water
 molecule and hopes eventually to be 
able to give very precise information 
about its form and dimensions as well 
as the forces that hold it together.

problem of many years standing, 
 that he solved was that of the spe
cific heat of hydrogen gas. While
 studying the ammonia molecule he
 was led to believe it should absorb
 radio waves of extremely short
 length. His colleague, Professor Wil
liams, with Dr. Cleeton, tested that 
theory and found it to be correct, 
discovering some valuable facts in
 their own line, but that is another
 story. Professor Dennison is on the 
Editorial Boards of Physical Review
 and The Journal of Chemical Physics. His name has been "starred" in the
 list of American Men of Science.