AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXXVII , No. 2, Fall 2005


Presenting the Historic Physics Site Plaque at the Franklin Institute. L to R: John Rigden, Bo Hammer, Alan Chodos.

Click on photo to see a larger image.

APS Historic Sites Committee Designates Five Key Physics Sites
by John S. Rigden

The Historic 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.

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