AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXX, No. 1, Spring 1998


New Journal Seeks to Place Physics in Perspective

A new journal including history of physics will emerge as Helvetica Physica Acta transforms into Physics in Perspective. The new and expanded mission explicitly recognizes historical and philosophical studies as essential to understanding the foundations of physics, to appreciating the diffusion of physics into all areas of science, and to conveying the cultural influence of physics on the arts and humanities. Physics in Perspective will be published in four issues each year by Birkh„user Verlag.

The editors, John S. Rigden and Roger H. Stuewer, are concerned that misconceptions abound about both the content and pursuit of physics. They believe that the history and philosophy of physics provide the public with access not only to an understanding of the way physics is conducted, but also to its content and applications, constituting a vital means for bridging the intellectual gulf between physicists and non-physicists. Further, teachers of physics at all levels have long known that they can communicate physical concepts and experimental results effectively to their students through historical and philosophical discussions. Physicists themselves recognize that a knowledge of the history and philosophy of physics serves as a counterweight to the fragmentation of physics. The editors believe that the insights into physics that emerge from historical and philosophical studies can be presented in ways that make them accessible and engage the attention of a broad audience, not only professional historians and philosophers of physics. They thus invite manuscripts from historians, philosophers, physicists, and science writers that are written in an engaging, clear, and informative style.

Physics in Perspective will publish manuscripts (including first-person accounts) that explore the theoretical and experimental foundations of physics; the nature and achievements of physics in academic, governmental, and industrial settings; the role of physics as both a source and a product of innovative tools; the use of history and philosophy in physics teaching; and the humanistic and cultural dimensions of physics. Please address inquiries to Prof. Roger H. Stuewer, University of Minnesota, Tate Laboratory of Physics, 116 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455; phone 612-624-7069, fax 612-624-4578, e-mail

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