Mineral physics, like its sister disciplines geochemistry, petrology, and crystallography, is a derivative of the old discipline of mineralogy. At the turn of the century, mineralogy was one of the strongest pillars in the European University, but it was weakened by the loss of these branches, which declared their independence as they matured. One of the most important roots of solid state physics also branched off from 19th-century mineralogy.
Yet solid state physics, bound securely in the Physics Department, developed in a way that took it further and further from the interests of geological sciences. In the late 1960s, it became evident that a gap existed in laboratory and theoretical geophysics that was not filled by the then-existing disciplines of solid state physics or mineralogy. To fill this gap, it was required that the principles of solid state physics be applied to minerals of especial interest to geophysics.