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APS and Yale Honor J. Willard Gibbs

APS and Yale honor J. Willard Gibbs
Photo by Michael Marsland/Yale University Office of Public Affairs

J. Willard Gibbs served as Professor of Mathematical Physics at Yale from 1871 until his death in 1903, during which time he made fundamental contributions to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. To honor Gibbs, Yale was among the original set of physics historic sites chosen by the APS Historic Sites Committee in 2005. For scheduling reasons, however, the plaque presentation ceremony was not held until this year. On April 20, members of the Yale Physics department and guests gathered in Sloane Physics Laboratory to celebrate the occasion. Standing, left to right, are Yale Physics Chair R. Shankar, APS Editor-in-Chief Gene Sprouse, and Yale Provost Andrew D. Hamilton, who is explaining the impact that Gibbs had on Yale and on science. Listening intently are the Chair of the APS Historic Sites Committee, John Rigden (seated at left) and J. Willard Gibbs himself (perched on the easel). After the ceremony, the audience was treated to a lecture on Gibbs by Yale historian of science emeritus Martin J. Klein, the first recipient of the APS Pais Prize for history of physics.

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