Encouraging New Projects in History of Physical Science

AIP’s Grants-in-Aid support research in the history of the physical sciences. Most recipients are PhD candidates in history of science, but recipients also include economists, educators, and science writers. Grantees’ projects bring them to the manuscripts and other sources in the Niels Bohr Library & Archives or to other resources in history of physical science. Grants-in-aid also support the conducting of new oral history interviews.

Recent supported projects include studies of nuclear fallout, Van de Graff generators, and climate change. Researchers have interviewed astronomers, physics, and Earth scientists. Special topics of interest to AIP include women and underrepresented minorities and their careers.

Recipients of Grants-in-Aid often present lectures about their results at the American Center for Physics.

Dr. Gabriel Henderson recently spoke at AIP on “Shaping a Middle Ground: Emergence of the AGU Committee on Environmental Quality, 1970-1974,” a project supported by a Grant-in-Aid.

Jaco de Swart, How We Lost 25% of the Universe, or the History of Dark Matter
(Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and the Department of Astrophysics, Princeton University)

Robynne Mellor, The History of Uranium Mining (Ph.D. student, Georgetown University)

To apply

Grants are given to individual researchers, up to $2,500 USD each. Grant funds may only be used to reimburse:

  • Expenses for travel and subsistence to use the resources of the Niels Bohr Library & Archives in College Park, Maryland (easily accessible from Washington, DC)
  • Expenses for travel and subsistence to either record oral history interviews or microfilm archival materials, with a copy for deposit in the Library. Applicants should list the persons they would interview, papers they would copy or the collections at the Library they need to see; consult the online catalog, or contact us to inquire about the Library's holdings. Note that the Center also offers free transcription of interviews on a selected basis.

Instructions for applying

Applicants should either be working toward a graduate degree in the history of science or be publishing in the field.

To apply, send the following materials by mail or email:

  • A vitae
  • A letter or reference from your thesis adviser (if you working towards a graduate degree) OR a record of publication in the field
  • A letter of no more than two pages describing your research project
  • A brief budget showing the expenses for which support is requested. (N.B. Expenses will only be reimbursed after travel has been completed and all receipts have been submitted to the Center for History of Physics)

Application materials should be addressed to:

Greg Good
Center for History of Physics
American Institute of Physics
One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 20740
Phone: 301-209-3174
E-mail: ggood [at]

Deadlines for receipt of applications: April 15 and November 15 of each year.