AIP History Center Newsletter
Photos and Quotes included in the
Fall 2007 Issue of the CHP Newsletter

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Professor and Mrs. Harlow Shapley Pope Pius XII greets Professor and Mrs. Harlow Shapley following the Pope’s address to the International Union (IAU) assembly at Castel Gandolfo. Shapley had previously won the Pope Pius XI prize, but had not personally appeared to receive it. 1952. AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Shapley Collection.


Now and then scientists are hampered by believing one of the over-simplified models of science that have been proposed by philosophers from Francis Bacon to Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper. The best antidote to the philosophy of science is a knowledge of the history of science.

—Steven Weinberg


A sample of the New “Moments of Discovery: Superconductivity” Web exhibit. Photos of John Bardeen (left) and Leon Cooper (right) accompany a transcript of J. Robert Schrieffer’s description of the office where they worked. A sample of the new "Moments of Discovery: Superconductivity" exhibit.

In science education, the historical approach can no longer be considered just a distraction that takes time away from learning “real science.”

—Stephen Brush


The Sakharovs
Elena Bonner, Sakharov’s wife (left); and Andrei Sakhorov in Moscow. September 1979. Photograph by Jeri Laber, U.S. Helsinki Watch, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection.

Concerned to reconstruct past ideas, historians must approach the generation that held them as the anthropologist approaches an alien culture. They must, that is, be prepared at the start to find that the natives speak a different language and map experience into different categories from those they themselves bring from home.

—Thomas Kuhn


Donald Menzel's drawing
When the astronomer Donald Menzel sat on committees he would keep in front of him on the table a set of colored pens, with which he drew fanciful pictures of “Martians” when the talk failed to engage him. His description of this one reads, “Frustration. This animal-bird…may have derived some of its feeling of frustration from the committee meeting during which I made the sketch.” From Donald H. Menzel, “An Earthling’s view. Meet the Martians,” The Graduate Journal 7, No. 1 (December 1965): 220-233—one of the more unusual treasures of the Niels Bohr Library. Credit: The Royal Society 2004, courtesy of the Niels Bohrs Library and Archives.

In scientific research, where ideas form and dissolve in a state of flux and at any moment present countless potential futures, scientists retain their bearings by contrasting past and present ideas. Awareness of temporal depth in science forms an integral part of scientific research.

—Edward Harrison


Lev Landau
Lev Landau playing tennis. Credit: Ellen Rydian, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection.


Physicists, being in no way different from the rest of the population, have short memories for what is inconvenient.

—Anthony Stunden



Historians, by trade, know “nothing about science.” Thus, although we have learned quite a lot about women and workers, wars, political movements, and other important aspects of ordinary life, science — the muscle of twentieth-century North America — has been understudied and poorly understood.

—Londa Schiebinger



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