What sites best represent the history of physics in America? The APS Forum on the History of Physics (FHP) says it wants to know, and moreover it is interested in participating in a program to place commemorative plaques at the chosen sites.
APS News would like to help the process along by asking its readers for suggestions on what sites ought to be included.
Some locations, such as the Trinity site in New Mexico where the first atomic bomb was tested, and the football field at the University of Chicago where the first sustained nuclear chain reaction was achieved, are already adequately commemorated. But many others have been totally ignored.
Suitable sites could range from laboratories, (whether at national labs, at universities or in industry) where important discoveries were made, to the childhood homes where well-known physicists grew up.
The resolution passed by the FHP reads, in part, "The Executive Committee of the Forum on History of Physics supports the proposal to place plaques at sites in the United States that have played major roles in the development of physics and physics-related projects, thereby honoring these sites and the physicists associated with them, while at the same time making these events part of the permanent record of major events in American history."
The resolution also notes that this project will tie in well with the projected World Year of Physics in 2005 (see IUPAP story).
Key components of the project will be determination of the sites (in which FHP intends to participate), raising some funds for the plaques, and obtaining the permission of the current owners and/or occupants of the sites to install them.
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Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette