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.


IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center
Ossining, New York

Institute for Advanced Study
Princeton, New Jersey

Jefferson Physical Laboratory, Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

JILA, CU Boulder & NIST
Boulder, Colorado

Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland

LIGO Laboratories
Livingston, Louisiana & Richland, Washington

Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, New Mexico

MIT Radiation Laboratory
Lexington, Massachusetts

Mount Evans and Echo Lake, Colorado
Idaho Springs, Colorado

Mount Washington Observatory
North Conway, New Hampshire

National Bureau of Standards (NIST)
Washington, District of Columbia

Old Laboratory, Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut

Old Physics Buidling, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, Illinois

Pupin Hall, Columbia University
New York, New York

Ram's Head Inn, Shelter Island
Shelter Island Heights, New York

Savannah River Site
Aiken, South Carolina

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)