Initial Conditions

Initial Conditions - A Physics History Podcast

Initial conditions provide the context in which physics happens. Likewise, in Initial Conditions: a Physics History Podcast, we provide the context in which physical discoveries happened. We dive into the collections of the Niels Bohr Library & Archives at the American Institute of Physics to uncover the unexpected stories behind the physics we know. Through these stories, we hope to challenge the conventional history of what it means to be a physicist.

This Week's Episode

Keck Telescope on Maunakea

Steelworkers hoist a piece of the Keck Telescope into the dome for installation at the observatory site on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, Circa 1989. 

Credit: California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), courtesy of AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection

Featuring a discussion with experts Samantha Thompson and Kalewa Correa from the Smithsonian Institution, this episode is about the history of Hawai’i and the controversy surrounding the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)...

Transcripts, Show Notes, and Suggested Reading

About the Podcast Team

About the Niels Bohr Library & Archives

The Niels Bohr Library & Archives is a repository for information in the history of physics, astronomy, geophysics and allied fields. The Library’s mission is to preserve and make known the history of the physical sciences. NBLA specializes in the preservation of archival and library collections, providing research assistance and open access to collections through best practices in metadata and digitization.

In-house holdings include an outstanding library collection of rare books, textbooks, monographs and related publications; over 30,000 photographs and other images; over 1,500 oral histories with many of the outstanding figures in the fields that we cover; and archival records of AIP and its Member Societies along with other archival records and personal papers of a select number of scientists.

In our International Catalog of Sources (ICOS) we have over 10,000 collections from over 900 repositories worldwide.

About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Founded in 1934 by industrialist Alfred P. Sloan Jr., the Foundation is a not-for-profit grantmaking institution that supports high quality, impartial scientific research; fosters a robust, diverse scientific workforce; strengthens public understanding and engagement with science; and promotes the health of the institutions of scientific endeavor.