American Institute of Physics

The American Institute of Physics serves a federation of physical science societies in a common mission to promote physics and allied fields.


History of physics, astronomy, geophysics and allied fields


The Niels Bohr Library & Archives and the Center for History of Physics constitute the History Programs of the American Institute of Physics. Our mission is to preserve and make known the history of modern physics and allied sciences. We are a discipline history center, i.e., an organization that works cooperatively with other programs to document and support historical research about a scientific field and provide authoritative information to students and the public. We cultivate the rising generation of historians of physics. Our in-house resources include a primary print collection of monographs, text books, instrument catalogs, and other publications; the archives of the American Institute of Physics and its Member Societies;* select manuscript collections; and large photograph and oral history collections. The photos and oral histories are available online along with some manuscript collections. We maintain the International Catalog of Sources for the History of Physics and Allied Sciences (ICOS), a clearinghouse of information on more than 10,000 primary sources in our fields at over 900 hundred repositories worldwide. Other major programs and resources include active oral history projects, online exhibits on major physicists and topics, early career conferences for historians of science, teachers guides, the Lyne Starling Trimble Science Heritage Lecture Series, grants to researchers and archives, and documentation research projects in industrial physics and “big” science. For information, contact us at 301 209-3177 or

*American Physical Society, Optical Society of America, American Metrological Society, American Association of Physics Teachers, American Association of Physicists in Medicine, Acoustical Society of American, American Astronomical Society, AVS, American Crystallographic Society, and Society of Rheology.


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