Sites Committee Designates Five Key Physics Sites
the Historic Physics Site Plaque at the Franklin Institute. L
to R: John Rigden, Bo Hammer, Alan Chodos.
on photo to see a larger image.
by John S. Rigden
Sites Committee of the American Physical
Society (see this Newsletter,
Fall 2004) has
selected the first five sites to be entered into to the APS Register
of Historic Sites. These sites are the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia
in recognition of Benjamin Franklin's pioneering work in electricity,
The Johns Hopkins University where Henry Rowland revolutionized
spectroscopy with his ruled gratings, Case-Western Reserve, the
site of the Michelson-Morley experiment, Washington University
in St. Louis where Arthur Compton did his famous X-ray scattering
experiment, and Yale University where J. Willard Gibbs
made fundamental contributions to thermodynamics. A plaque will be presented
to each of these institutions. It will contain a brief citation followed
by these words: "Historic Physics Site, Register of Historic Sites
American Physical Society." The first plaque was presented to the
Franklin Institute on July 13, 2005.
The members of the Historic
Sites Committee are Gordon Baym, University of Illinois; Mildred Dresselhaus,
MIT; Sidney Drell, Stanford; Gerald Holton, Harvard; and John Rigden,
Washington University in St. Louis. The committee expects to name additional
sites later in 2005. A Web site is being developed which will give instructions
for nominating sites for the APS Register and will feature those sites
named to the register. The purpose of this APS initiative is to bring
physics to the general public and raise awareness of the importance
of physics in the general culture.