I would like to know the specific meaning of Samuel C. Collins Professor in the above screenshot. It is a title for MIT faculties or the award with the same name (Samuel C. Collins)? Or something else?

  • It looks like a title to me because of the name on the line above. However, Google is your friend.
    – Bob Brown
    Commented Dec 23, 2017 at 18:51

2 Answers 2


It's a named professorship, which means a couple things. Generally, endowed chairs are better paid and have some extra funds associated with them. These are typically funded by a gift to the Institute. In this case, somebody presumably gave a gift in honor of Prof. Collins, who was a pioneer in low-temperature work.

Dr. Samuel C. Collins, Professor Emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, internationally known as the father of practical helium liquefiers and founder of the MIT Cryogenic Engineering Laboratory, died on June 19, 1984 in George Washington University Hospital, Washington, DC.

In 1946, Dr. Collins and his colleagues at MIT built what became know as the Collins Helium Cryostat. The device provided for the first time reliable, relatively in expensive and adequate supplies of liquid helium. His invention was of great interest to physicists because it opened the door to extensive experimental low-temperature physics

The existence of the endowed professorship is a honor to the memory of the eponymous Samuel Collins, and it is an honor for the current faculty member who holds it.

  • It is worth noting that the named person may have funded the endowed chair themselves, i.e. Samuel Collins donated or bequeathed money. This is definitely the case where an endowed chair is named after a company ("Qualcomm Professor in XYZ").
    – user71659
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 17:11

The speaker, Professor Leonard, holds a named or endowed chair, which is quite an honor in academia. His chair is named for Samuel C. Collins, an MIT professor "known as the father of practical helium liquifiers and the founder of the MIT Cryogenic Engineering Laboratory".

  • Would you mind fixing the typo in Collins's name please? Thank you!
    – mkennedy
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 20:51

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