Historic Sites Initiative

The APS Historic Sites Initiative was created by the APS Executive Board in October 2004 with this mission:

"The purpose of the Historic Sites initiative is to raise public awareness of physics. Unexpected encounters with an attractive plaque that identifies an important and interesting event in the history of physics will be an effective way of getting physics before the general public. The initiative will also benefit physicists by increasing their own awareness of important past scientific advances, hence of their membership in the historic evolution of their profession."

In pursuit of this mission, the Society has established the Historic Sites Selection Committee to evaluate potential historic physics sites in the United States. When a site is chosen, a ceremony is arranged at which a plaque is presented, often by a member of the APS presidential line (the Vice President, President-Elect, President, and Past President).

Historic Site Nominations Closed

Nominations are no longer being accepted for APS Historic Sites for 2019. Selected historic sites will be announced later this year.

Alfred O. C. Nier
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson
Bell Labs, Holmdel, NJ

Arthur Compton
Washington University, St. Louis, MO

Benjamin Franklin
The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA

Bronx High School of Science
Bronx, NY

Brookhaven National Lab
Upton, NY

C.J. Davisson and L.H. Germer
Bell Labs, West Village, New York City, NY

Carl Anderson
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA

Carnegie Institution, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism
Washington, DC

Charles David Keeling
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA

Clyde Cowan and Frederick Reines
Savannah River Site

E.F. Nichols and G.F. Hull
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

Echo Lake, Colorado
Mt. Evans, CO

Einsteinhaus Bern
Bern, Switzerland

Ernest Lawrence and M. Stanley Livingston
University of California, Berkeley

Ernest Rutherford and Frederick Soddy
McGill University, Montréal, Québec

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Batavia, Illinois

Founding of JILA - CU-Boulder and NIST
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

Founding of the Physical Review
Cornell University, Ithaca New York

George Stranahan, Michael Cohen, and Robert Craig
Aspen Center for Physics, Aspen, CO

Henry Augustus Rowland
The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, 1960 - 2013
Yorktown Heights, NY

Institute for Advanced Study
Princeton, NJ

Isidor Isaac Rabi
Columbia University, New York, NY

J. Willard Gibbs
Yale University, New Haven, CT

Jefferson Laboratory
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

John Bardeen, Leon Cooper and J. Robert Schrieffer
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL

John Bardeen, William Shockley, Walter Brattain
Bell Laboratories, New York, NY

Joseph Henry
The Albany Academy, Albany, NY

LIGO Laboratories
Livingston, LA and Hanford, WA

Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, NM

Maria Goeppert Mayer
Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, IL

Michelson and Morley
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

MIT Radiation Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Mount Washington Observatory
Mount Washington, NH

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, TN

Robert Millikan
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Shelter Island Conference
Shelter Island, NY

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Menlo Park, CA

Stanford University
Stanford, CA

Summer Symposium in Theoretical Physics
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

The Synchrotron Radiation Center
The University of Wisconsin-Madison

Theodore Maiman
Hughes Research Laboratories, Malibu, CA

Shoreham, NY

Wu, Ambler, Hayward, Hoppes, Hudson and the National Bureau of Standards
Washington, D.C.

Yale Old Laboratory Site
New Haven, CT

Eligibility Requirements

C1 Sites: Sites with national or international significance to physics

  • Those associated with an event or body of work, by one or more individuals, that changed the basic structure of the physics discipline in ways recognized internationally by the community of physicists
  • Those associated with the life of an individual who significantly impacted physics and altered its historical development
  • Those associated with the design of instruments and/or apparatus that set new standards internationally

C2 Sites: Sites with more local significance to physics

  • Those associated with an event, individual, group or institution that, by means of physics, had a significant impact on the locality (C2 site)
  • Those associated with a new design of a physics research and/or instructional building that influenced the designs of future physics-related structures (C2 site)