AIP’s History Programs Receives $3 Million Gift; Establishes Endowment Fund for Directorship of the Niels Bohr Library & Archives

The American Institute of Physics (AIP) has received a $3 million donation from the Avenir Foundation to establish the Endowment Fund for the R. Joseph Anderson Directorship of the Niels Bohr Library and Archives. This endowment will honor Anderson’s two decades of service to AIP’s history programs and provide vital resources to support AIP’s leadership in preserving the heritage of modern physics. This marks the Foundation’s third endowment to AIP, in support of its history programs.

“The Foundation is deeply interested in preserving and making known the history of physics and allied fields,” said AIP Executive Director and CEO H. Frederick Dylla. “AIP is grateful for their generous support.” The Foundation’s first gift in May 2005 created an oral history endowment. In 2008, the Foundation endowed the Spencer R. Weart Directorship of the Center for History of Physics.

Joe Anderson, for whom the newest endowment is named, is current director of AIP’s Niels Bohr Library and Archives and associate director of the Center for History of Physics. During the past 20 years, he has dedicated himself to the preservation, documentation, and study of the history of physics. Anderson served previously as director of the Library and Archives at the Balch Institute in Philadelphia and as an archivist at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. He has published on a variety of archival topics and was elected a fellow of the Society of American Archivists in 2007.

In 1962, J. Robert Oppenheimer dedicated AIP’s Niels Bohr Library and Archives, and over the past 50 years, AIP’s history programs have become a significant resource for science historians around the world. In addition to preserving the history of modern physics, the library houses exemplary book, oral history, and photograph collections, and preserves the historical records of AIP and its Member Societies. The library also works to preserve the papers of physicists at their home institution archives and serves as a clearinghouse for information on collections worldwide. In addition, The Center for History of Physics presents lectures, symposia, and workshops, and creates popular web exhibitions that receive millions of visits each year. (See

Anderson remarked, “Major gifts from the Avenir Foundation and other donors are helping to build an endowment to ensure that the rich history of physics can be preserved and made available to the public and the physics community as an enduring resource.”


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