University of Chicago

University of Chicago information

Location
Chicago , USA
Address
5801 S Ellis Ave
Getting there
Metro: Metra to 55th-56th-57th
Bus: 6
More information
www.uchicago.edu
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Faculty and students have racked up more than 80 Nobel prizes within U of C's hallowed halls. The campus is well worth a stroll, offering grand Gothic architecture and good free museums.

The economics and physics departments lay claim to most of the awards. Merton Miller, a U of C economics faculty member and a Nobel winner himself, explained the string of wins to the Sun-Times : ‘It must be the water; it certainly can’t be the coffee.’

The university’s classes first met on October 1, 1892. John D Rockefeller was a major contributor to the institution, donating more than $35 million, calling it ‘the best investment I ever made in my life.’ The original campus was constructed in an English Gothic style.

Highlights of a walkabout include the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel , the exterior of which will send sculpture lovers into paroxysms of joy – the facade bears 24 life-sized religious figures and 53 smaller ones, with even more inside. Check the website for carillon and tower tours, and yoga and meditation classes. The William Rainey Harper Memorial Library is another must-see. The long row of arched, two-story windows bathes the 3rd-floor reading room with light and an almost medieval sense of calm. The Bond Chapel is equally serene. Built in 1926, the exquisite 300-seat chapel is the harmonious creation of the architects, sculptors, woodcarvers and glassmakers who worked together on the project.

The university is also where the nuclear age began: Enrico Fermi and his Manhattan Project cronies built a reactor and carried out the world's first controlled atomic reaction on December 2, 1942. The Nuclear Energy sculpture , by Henry Moore, marks the spot where it blew its stack.