AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXVI, No. 2, Fall 1994

 

AIP HISTORY CENTER DIRECTOR RECEIVES GEMANT AWARD


The 1994 Andrew Gemant Award has been given to Spencer Weart, Director of the Center for History of Physics, "for his success in interpreting physics to the public as well as enlightening the community of physicists and other scholars regarding the cultural aspects of science." The award is given to individuals who have linked physics to the arts and humanities. Previous winners include Philip Morrison, Freeman T. Dyson, Gerald Holton, Jeremy Bernstein, Cyril Stanley Smith, Martin Aitken, and Abraham Pais.

Weart began explaining science to the public with the publication of two children's science books, Light: Key to the Universe and How to Build a Sun (Coward-McCann) while he was a graduate student in the Department of Physics & Astrophysics at the University of Colorado and a postdoctoral fellow at Mt. Wilson & Palomar Observatories - CalTech. His subsequent graduate studies in the History Department at the University of California, Berkeley, led to the publication of Scientists in Power (Harvard University Press, 1979) on the origins of the French nuclear energy and weapons program. As Director of the Center for History of Physics since 1974, Weart continued to work on public educational materials, such as a widely-seen Einstein Centennial Exhibit (jointly with Center Associate Director Joan Warnow-Blewett) and the book Nuclear Fear: A History of Images (Harvard University Press, 1988).

The decision on the award for this year was made by a committee comprising Dyson (chair), Holton, Morrison, James Krumhansl and Melba Phillips. The award, made possible by a bequest of Andrew Gemant to the American Institute of Physics, consists of a citation, $5,000, and a contribution of $3,000 to a U.S. academic physics department chosen by the recipient. The University of Maryland Department of Physics has agreed to accept this to fund a series of lectures for the general public.


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