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Physics Heritage & Promise Campaign

About the Collection


The main shelves of the collection.  Click for larger image.

The Story

In 1982 David Wenner began to assemble a collection of unique and rare books in the physical sciences, which soon began to outgrow his home library.  As Wenner relates:

“I figure that a collection of this size should be made accessible to others. My collection has outgrown my house and now also occupies two climate controlled storage rooms, and I have neither the means nor the energy to make it accessible to historians of science or the public.

AIP is the ideal organization to do that: It is a prestigious physics institution with an important library and the aspiration to increase its outreach and impact on the history of physics.” 

Physics Today: The history of physics, in 4000 manuscripts

Physics World article, February 2018

An Extraordinary Collection

Mr. Wenner did not set out to create the world's most complete collection of the history of physics.  He started by gathering the Nobel Prize winning physicists' works and gradually built his library to include the formative works of physical science.

Topics in the collection include classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, condensed matter physics, astrophysics, cosmology and particle physics.

“ The Wenner Collection is a comprehensive and coherent whole that tells the story of the history of physics through primary sources that is unprecedented in its breadth and depth...walking through Wenner's library, one gets the sense that one is walking through history. ”

Michael E. DiRuggiero
The Manhattan Rare Book Company

How you can help

For more information on how you can contribute to the Physics Heritage & Promise Campaign please contact:

Mariann Salisbury, Director of Development
American Institute of Physics
One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 20740
(301) 209-3098
msalisbury [at]

Ready to Donate?

Let's make history together!

Image credits

LIGO image: Karan Jani and Christopher Evans, Georgia Tech / All historical images courtesy of the AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives.