AIP History Center Newsletter
Photos and Quotes included in the
Spring 2005 Issue of the CHP Newsletter

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Hans Bethe The Friends of the Center for History of Physics have received a generous bequest from the estate of the late Hans Bethe. We regret the passing of this great physicist and policy advocate, who did many services for the Center. To read more about him, visit Here we see Bethe, (1906-2005) in 1978 at Dalhousie University. Photograph by Roy Bishop, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives.

History of science celebrates the human element.... Knowing something about the very people who gave us science—about their lives, their struggles and sometimes even the persecutions they suffered—will add a warm, even heroic, human quality to an otherwise dry and mechanical discipline.
                                                                            —Pangratios Papacosta

Illustration of glass pouring in Germany, turn of the century Pouring optical glass in Germany at the turn of the 20th century, an illustration by Erich Kuithan in Die Glasindustrie in Jena (Jena, 1909). This book turned up during final processing of the papers of spectroscopist W. F. Meggers for the archives of the Niels Bohr Library. The Jena glassworks, created by the physicists Carl Zeiss and Ernst Abbe along with chemist Otto Schott, was a leading supplier of material for spectroscopes, telescopes, and many other instruments.

Mystery Photo Identified!

Thank you to Shelley Erwin at the California Institute of Technology for identifying this mystery photo. At right we see Walther Mayer (Einstein's mathematical assistant) riding a bike. Photo donated by Ben Snavely.

mystery photo

Historical materials can be useful in clarifying scientific concepts for students, in two ways: First, the originators of these concepts often supplied excellent expositions of their new ideas, which may be very helpful... Second, in the assimilation of scientific concepts... it may be helpful for the student to go through the same stages in the development of his or her understanding that the scientific community went through in the historical develoment of the concept.
                                                                                         — Daniel M. Siegel

Nancy Greenspan in the center, Joe Anderson at left, Spencer Weart at right
Nancy Greenspan donating a copy of her new book, The End of the Certain World: The Life and Science of Max Born, to Joe Anderson and Spencer Weart for the Niels Bohr Library. The book was researched in part at the Library. Photo courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives.
Niels Bohr Library, American Institute of Physics
Busy reading room, Niels Bohr Library. Photo courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives.

[John Maynard Keynes] tried to convey how new ideas were born. Never did they arrive, he said, with the hard edges that later critics came to attribute to them when trying to define their terms. Ideas were apt to be like fluffy balls of wool with no fixed outline, and the relationship between concepts when first perceived was likely to be equally woolly.
                                                                                       — Alec Cairncross

Luis Alvarez
Luis Alvarez with personally built electronics and BF-3 ionization chamber, 1938. Donated by Peter Trower. University of California Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives.
Ernst Abbe
Ernst Abbe from Jena Glasindustrie book. Photo courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives.

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