# Early Years of the Physical Review

## 100 Years of the American Physical Society

To Advance and Diffuse the Knowledge of Physics will be on exhibit in its entirety at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD through the end of 1999. Visitors are welcome.

## Early Years of the Physical Review

The founding of the Physical Review predates that of the American Physical Society, although both arose out of the same ferment. In the 1890s, American physicists had no real niche for publishing their research. Editors of the American Journal of Science and Journal of the Franklin Institute cared little for physics. To rectify the problem, three Cornell University scientists established the Physical Review in 1893.

For the first few years, a disproportionate number of papers came from Cornell faculty. Authorship broadened with the journal's takeover by APS in late 1912. Improving standards for research in U.S. laboratories led to a surge in quality. By the 1930s, the Physical Review was unarguably the most important physics journal in the world. Citations to its articles exceeded those to Zeitschrift fur Physik.

 Edward L. Nichols, Ernest Merritt, and Frederick Bedell

## Founding Editors:

Three Cornell physicists worked as a team to manage the Physical Review for two decades. Nichols was chief among them. As first secretary of APS, Merritt was instrumental in merging the activities of Phys. Rev. and APS.

## What Did We Publish?

Applied science dominated early issues of Phys. Rev., but theoretical discussions were not shunned.

 Letter from a 'typical' contributor: Harry W. Fisher complained to Merritt of the pounding steam hammers close by his lab in 1895.

 Curator: Sara Schechner Genuth Gnomon Research Exhibit Director: Barrett Ripin APS History: Harry Lustig Journals History: R. Mark Wilson Researchers: George Trigg Ruth Kastner Steven Norton Amy Halsted Exhibit Design: Puches Design Inc. Fabrication: Malone Displays

©1995 - 2022, AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY
APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Barrett H. Ripin
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette