Recent Additions to the Niels Bohr Library & Archives

The Niels Bohr Library & Archives and the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives acquire historically relevant and valuable materials through donations of archival records each year. As the official repository of the American Institute of Physics and its ten member societies, we welcome donations from these sources and again this year we have had many intriguing additions to our collections. We have also received additions to existing personal manuscript collections, new manuscript biographies and institutional histories, collections of photographs and books that are within our realm of collecting and add value to our holdings. While we often try to find homes for personal collections at repositories with stronger ties to particular individuals or subjects, the collections that remain in our care help round out the sources available when researching the history of physics, and these collections continue to grow.

ESVA and Audiovisual Materials

In addition to a new Photo Librarian, Lindsey Gumb, the Emilio Segré Visual Archives (ESVA) was fortunate to welcome many donations this past year, bringing the total number of images cataloged and available online to over 24,200. What are you waiting for? Start searching at

Previous donor Jeff Hecht donated 60 black and white prints of various sizes, largely used in his books ‘City of Light’ and ‘Beam.’ Christine Erb gave 13 images of her aunt, American physicist, Mildred Allen, spanning from childhood to her later years. A high school physics teacher, Ernest Kuehl, Jr. donated 4 prints of American physicist and science educator, Melba Phillips, during her later years. Michael A. Duncan donated 20 family photographs of his wife’s aunt, American astronomer Charlotte Emma Moore Sitterly. ESVA recently scanned several AAS meeting photographs spanning back to the early 20th century, and Jay M. Pasachoff soon after offered us a more formal shot of the 19th AAS meeting held in Swarthmore, PA in August 1916. Nicole Cranberg, daughter of nuclear physicist Lawrence Cranberg, recently made a visit and donated an image of her and her brother with their father. Ms. Cranberg is in the process of gathering more images of her father to donate. Malcolm Longair, British physicist, donated 3 images of himself in July. Optical scientist Jim Breckinridge, donated three images of Aden Meinel, an American astronomer who during his career was involved in the design and construction of several large telescopes. Photographer Anil Kapahi donated his image of Norbert Untersteiner, a pioneer in polar geophysics who passed away in March. Rob and Jeroen Gerritsen donated 5 photographs found tucked away in one of their father’s (physicist A.N. Gerrtisen) books, including one of Paul Ehrenfest and Hendrik Kramers.

Photographs of 2011 Nobel Prize winners Brian Schmidt, Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess were all donated to ESVA and will be placed proudly among our gallery of Nobel Laureates.

ESVA would like to remind its followers that donating images is as easy as sending files via email; however, we encourage images to be scanned or created at a resolution of at least 300 dpi with a target size of 8 x 10 inches for the best reproduction and digital preservation standards!

As always we collect audio and video collections that document the history of physics, especially from the physicists themselves. This year includes presentations sponsored by the American Physical Society (APS)’s Forum on the History of Physics (FHP) from the APS March and April 2012 meetings and acceptance speeches from the American Crystallographic Association’s (ACA) 2006 B. Warren Award by Charles Majkrzak, 2009 M. J. Buerger Award by Shih-Lin Chang, and the 2010 Fankuchen Award by David Watkin. We also received an audio recording of Leo Szilard’s “Inventor of the Atomic Bomb” where Szilard recollects his great discovery using the words “chain reaction” and “critical mass” for the first time, video recordings of an interview with Reginald C. Augustine by his daughter and background video for the Transistorized! program done in association with the Center for History of Physics.

Manuscript Collections

As in the past, this year we have received many collections from the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and its ten member societies. These include the records of the American College of Medical Physics (ACMP) that is now part of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), a small donation from the American Association of Physics Teachers’ (AAPT) Center for the Teaching of Physics, in addition to updating our collections of back issues of newsletters for each of the member societies and AIP divisions that are part of our Miscellaneous Publications collections that each have their own online finding aid (http://www. browse.html). One of our largest accessions from the last few years, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) records are now processed and have a finding aid online ( available for researchers. Furthermore, we received an addition to the Hugh Everett papers from Ronald Mickens, his collection on African- American physicists, and the 2011 and 2012 addition to the Gravity Research Foundation (GRF) essay contest collection.

In addition to these larger collections, we continue to collect unpublished manuscript biographies, institutional histories and single or few item collections of “miscellaneous physics.” These smaller collections make up a majority of our holdings and offer new ways of looking at historical events and people important to the physical sciences. This year, these include biographies of Joseph P. Levinger, John P. Schiffer and Frank Elmore Ross. In our institutional histories, information is now available on the early history of AIP’s Physics Today Division, the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA), the background of the Gaseous Electronics Conference (GEC), and the Landau school and AIP translation program. Along with these manuscript biographies and institutional histories, the additions to our “miscellaneous physics” collection include a bibliography on quantum mechanics compiled by Alfred M. Bork, course notes of Victor Weisskopf’s course on quantum mechanics by Isaac Halpern, diplomas of Edson Wolcott, a draft of a possible textbook written by George Gamow titled “Basic Theories of Modern Physics” and a CD-ROM and installation guide for the first version of Applied Physics Letters (APL) online.


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