Historic Sites Initiative

Recognizing Historic Physics Sites and Events

Every year, the American Physical Society recognizes a select number of sites 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 Historic Sites Committee. Awardees receive a plaque commemorating the site's significance to physics, and a listing in the Historic Sites online directory.

Historic Site Nominations and Sites

Congratulations 2023 Historic Site Awardees

Congratulations to our newest historic sites, Chicago Pile “Site A” and Stagg Field!

Chicago Pile “Site A”

University of Chicago

The Chicago Pile Site “Site A” is recognized for its transformational and impactful role in the development of nuclear energy, nuclear applications such as radioisotope production for medicine and research and research employing neutron scattering.

Plot M nuclear burial marker
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Stagg Field

University of Chicago, Metallurgical Laboratory

On 2 December 1942, a pivotal moment occurred at CP-1. Enrico Fermi led the world's first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, a remarkable achievement. The reactor's construction took place under Stagg Field's west viewing stands by the talented team from the University of Chicago's Metallurgical Laboratory.

Historic Sites Stagg Field photo

Green Bank Observatory

Green Bank, West Virginia

Green Bank Observatory has been a leading radio astronomy facility since its founding in 1957. Discoveries made here include the radio source at the center of the Milky Way, interstellar molecules, and the first pulsar in a supernova remnant, which confirmed the origin of these objects. It was also the site of the first systematic search for evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations.

Green Bank Observatory disk