APS News

Physics Departments Urged to Preserve Their Histories

The APS Forum on the History of Physics (FHP) is encouraging department chairs and colleagues to help preserve the history of their department and its accomplishments by updating an existing history or preparing a new one and by depositing it with the Niels Bohr Library and registering it with the Forum's new Register of Departmental Histories and Records.

Preparing a history is a big job, but it’s an important job, said David Jackson, a member of the Executive Committee of FHP.

If starting from scratch on a history, it may help to sample some existing ones, the Forum suggests.  Several can be found in the Niels Bohr library catalog, which can be searched online.  In the “general” box, enter “physics departments” and highlight “institutional histories held at AIP” in the Limits box.

If an up-to-date historical record is not already on file at the Niels Bohr Library, the Forum urges a department to prepare or update a history of the department and/or research laboratories, and send a copy to the Library, in care of Spencer Weart, AIP Center for History of Physics, One Physics Ellipse, College Park MD 20740-3843 (sweart@aip.org). 

Separately, the Forum is establishing a Register of Departmental Histories and Records to be published periodically in the FHP Newsletter and on the Forum's web site. Register entries should be standard bibliographic citations with indications of availability in institutional or departmental libraries, through web links, and/or the Niels Bohr Library.

The register will provide another tool for finding information about past activities in physics research and education as a starting point for more focused searches.

Register entries for histories and other materials should be sent to:
J.D. Jackson, 50A5104, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley CA 94720 (jdjackson@lbl.gov).The materials themselves should be sent to the Niels Bohr Library.

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Alan Chodos
Contributing Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff