AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XL , No. 2, Fall 2008

Friends of the Center for History of Physics

The panel members were (photo bottom left, l to r) Gerald Holton, Charles Weiner, Ron Doel, and John Rigden. Joining the celebration were (top row) Nancy Roman, Virginia Trimble, John Heilbron, Joe Anderson, Naomi Oreskes, (second row). Marc Brodsky, James Stith, and John Rigden. Photo Credit: Hillary Schweb.

Friends Celebrate Weart’s Tenure as Center Director, and a Important Gift

On May 9, 2008, the Friends of the Center for History of Physics and the American Institute of Physics held a symposium on History that Matters: The Life and Heritage of Science, convening many distinguished historians of science and other scholars to celebrate Spencer Weart’s tenure as Director of the AIP Center. For nearly 35 years, Spencer dedicated his professional career to preserving the heritage of our discipline. Under his direction, AIP grew a remarkable library and archive with fundamental references, documentation, oral history interviews, and photographs that provide an accurate account of the people and ideas that changed the world. In Spencer’s own words, “The way we live, our entire society today would be utterly different without the physics discoveries of the past couple of centuries— and much worse off. The physics community has long recognized a need to figure out how all this happened and explain it to the public.”

The symposium program: ( featured leading historians speaking about a variety of topics. In a panel discussion, historians described how the resources within the History Center and the Niels Bohr Library & Archives have positively impacted their research.

At the symposium, the Avenir Foundation announced a three million dollar gift to endow the “Spencer R. Weart Directorship of the Center for History of Physics.” “We are deeply gratified by this very generous gift,” says AIP Executive Director and CEO H. Frederick Dylla. “This endowment will help ensure the Center’s stature and growth into the foreseeable future.” The Avenir Foundation (avenir means “future” in French) has a special interest in the sciences and recognizes that the “principles of physics are basic to human existence, and it is of vital importance that a historical record of the application of these principles be preserved. We are humbled and gratified by this generous gift, and feel our responsibility to the scientific community deeply.”


Kenneth Ford
Richard W. Peterson
Gerald Holton
R. H. Garstang
Rikio Konno
H.William Koch
Michael Sokal
Judy Holoviak
Eri Yagi
Bonnie R. Ludt
Marc Brodsky
Roderick Grant
Judith Braffman-Miller

Return to Newsletter Table of ContentsRETURN to Fall 2008 Newsletter Table of Contents

AIP History CenterCenter for History of Physics
Phone: 301-209-3165
American Institute of Physics Copyright © 2008
American Institute of Physics,
One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740-3843. E-mail:
Phone: 301-209-3100; Fax: 301-209-0843