Historic Sites Initiative

APS Historic Sites

Every year, the American Physical Society (APS) recognizes a select number of sites in the United States where important events in the history of physics took place.

With your nomination, you are helping to raise public awareness about noteworthy events and illuminate the impact of scientific advancements on everyday life.

New sites are selected by the APS Historic Sites Committee. Awardees receive a plaque commemorating the site's significance to physics, and a listing in the APS Historic Sites online directory.

Nominations Closed

Historic Site nominations are now closed and will reopen next January. Review the nomination process.


Congratulations, 2019 Awardees

Congratulations to our newest historic sites, the Mount Wilson Observatory and the Adler Planetarium!

Mount WilsonMount Wilson Observatory
Los Angeles, CA
At this site, the innovative 100-inch telescope, realized by George Ellery Hale in 1917, empowered astronomers to discover aspects and mysteries of our Cosmos. Edwin Hubble ascertained the distance to Andromeda, proving the existence of galaxies beyond ours. Hubble and Milton Humason amassed evidence that the universe is expanding. Walter Baade identified distinct stellar populations from which to obtain better estimates of the size and age of the universe. (Photo credit: Mount Wilson Observatory)
Adler SquareAdler Planetarium
Chicago, IL
Since its opening in 1930, the Adler Planetarium has contributed immeasurably to the dissemination of exciting discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics. It is the oldest public planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. The museum houses one of the greatest collections of historic astronomical instruments in the world, spanning nine centuries of human efforts to understand the universe. Millions of visitors have enjoyed vivid sky shows, presentations on space science and interplanetary exploration, hands-on activities, and inspiring educational programs. (Photo credit: Adler Planetarium)

Historic Sites in the United States

Each of these sites has been formally recognized for historical significance to the field of physics. New nominations for historic sites opens on November 15, 2019. If you would like to nominate a new historic site, please review the guidelines.