Guide to the Stanford University, Dept. of Physics, Oral Exam Questions

Annie Wiederhold
Stanford University Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections & University Archives.
Stanford, California
August 2013
Copyright © 2013 The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved.


Call Number: SC1167
Title: Stanford University, Dept. of Physics, oral exam questions
Dates: 1947-1958
Physical Description: 0.25 Linear feet (1 volume)
Summary: 1 bound volume of handwritten physics oral exam questions.
Language(s): The materials are in English.
Repository: Dept. of Special Collections & University Archives.
Stanford University Libraries.
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6064
Phone: (650) 725-1022

Administrative Information


This collection given by Perry Wilson to Stanford University, Special Collections in 2009.

Information about Access

The materials are open for research use. Audio-visual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy.

Ownership & Copyright

All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94305-6064. Consent is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns. See:
Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

Cite As

[identification of item], Stanford University, Dept. of Physics, oral exam questions (SC1167). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Scope and Contents

Referred to as the “Black Book” or “Doomsday Book,” the materials consist of a bound volume of handwritten notes by various Stanford Physics Ph.D. students from 1947-1958. Immediately after completing their oral exams, graduate students would detail their exam questions and experiences (excluding the answers) in the notebook. The volume was passed along to serve as a study guide to other students preparing for their own oral exams who would in turn record their wisdom in the “Doomsday Book.”
The first entry was created by Emory H. Rogers on October 20, 1947, and according to Perry B. Wilson (Professor Emeritus, SLAC, and Ph.D. Physics 1958), Rogers may be the one who wrote “Doomsday Book” in the notebook’s inside cover. On December 5, 1958, BJ Bjorken wrote the final entry on the book’s last page. Approximately 100 students wrote in the book, and there are about 300 pages in the volume.

Access Terms

Wilson, Perry B.
Stanford University--Faculty.
Stanford University. Dept. of Physics--Curricula.
Universities and colleges--Alumni
Universities and colleges--Faculty.

Collection Contents

Box 1

Oral exam questions ("Black Book") 1947-1958