Historic Sites Initiative

Historic Site Nominations Open

Nominations are now being accepted for consideration to become an APS Historic Site in 2019. Please refer to the eligibility criteria on this page. Nominations Deadline is January 31, 2019.

Gray Arrow Submit a Nomination

Historic Sites Mission

The APS Historic Sites Initiative was created by the APS Executive Board in October 2004 with the following 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).

Commemorated Historic Sites

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
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

Hughes Lab

Unveiling the plaque commemorating the operation of the world’s first working laser.

Hughes Research Laboratories
Malibu, California

Eligibility Requirements

Categories of Eligible Sites  

  • C1 Sites: Sites with national or international significance to physics and its history
  • C2 Sites: Sites with more local significance

Eligible Sites Include:

  • 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 (C1 site)
  • Those associated with the life of an individual who significantly impacted physics and altered its historical development (C1 site)
  • Those associated with the design of instruments and/or apparatus that set new standards internationally (C1 site)
  • 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)