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Physics History Network

Over 850 biographies of physicists and histories of institutions with information pertaining to their lives, careers, and research.

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Physics History Network

The Physics History Network is a resource produced by the History Programs of the American Institute of Physics. At present it contains information on over 800 physicists and associated scientists, and the institutions that support the work of the physicists covered. This information is interlinked, so that users can explore how different scientists are connected through institutions and by the intellectual content of their work. Links and references are provided to archival and published resources using the information available from the Niels Bohr Library & Archives’ International Catalog of Sources (ICOS) and book catalog.


Disclaimer: This resource is an unprecedented effort to bring together and organize available knowledge about physicists and the institutions they worked for, and we believe the resource to be as authoritative as any. Details have been checked across multiple biographical sources. Nevertheless, it is possible that there is some information that is wrong. We welcome corrections, please use the available feedback form. Also, please keep in mind that some sources contradict each other, especially on the internet. We always attempt to use what we feel are the most credible sources, and generally prefer to leave information out rather than rely on suspect sources.

Array of Contemporary American Physicists (ACAP)

This resource began as the Array of Contemporary American Physicists supported by U.S. National Science Foundation Award 0823235. The original concept, design, research, and JSP programming was done by William Thomas with research and data-entry assistance by Christopher Donohue and web design by Ada Uzoma. The original inclusion criteria included physicists and associated scientists who worked in the United States of America for extended periods between 1945 and the present. Most people included in ACAP had won a major prize (such as Nobel Prize, various awards from the American Physical Society (APS), and National Medal of Science), or had been elected members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Others directed major research institutions, have been president of the APS, or have been high-level government advisors. There were a number of people in ACAP who worked on the edges of physical sciences or more in fields such as electrical engineering or physical chemistry. This was done with the idea of a “frayed edges” policy. These people were intentionally included for the figures to serve as a bridge between the history central to ACAP and the history of other areas.

Sources

We have assembled the data in Physics History Network from a wide variety of sources, but have tried to avoid information with uncertain provenance, such as much of what is found at Wikipedia. We began by migrating the information from the Array of Contemporary American Physicists into our new format. Beyond that the best information often comes from CVs that physicists have made available on their websites, or that we have solicited from them. American Men and Women of Science has been a crucial source of information, though in some cases we have found it necessary to correct or clarify some information found there. Obituaries and NAS Biographical Memoirs have provided important supplemental information. In addition, we have made use of unpublished biographical information kept on file at the AIP Niels Bohr Library & Archives. We have not included any information that has not been previously made available to the public, except in a few cases where that information has been obtained directly from the physicists themselves. We believe that the information in Physics History Network is as reliable as that found in any other resource; nevertheless, we cannot vouch that the information is absolutely reliable, and welcome any documented corrections.

Photographs

Most photographs used in Physics History Network are taken from the AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives. Where the image has not come to our archives as a gift of the owner, such as by way of our Physics Today collection, and where original ownership of the image has been discernable (as marked on the backs of photographs), we have sought permission of the copyright holder to use the image. If you are the photographer or owner of an image contained here, and are not properly credited or otherwise feel the photograph is being used improperly, please contact us and we will alter the image credit, or remove the image from Physics History Network. We have tried to use images that convey personality or action, and therefore have not always used the most straightforward portraits in our collection; in some cases, we simply do not have high quality images in our possession, or we do not have permission to use them free of charge. If you would like to donate an image to our collection, please visit our photo donation page. Our visual archives makes images available on a not-for-profit basis, and for many of the images we make no claim to ownership. For further information, please see our various policies on our website.