Historic Sites Initiative

Recognizing Historic Physics Sites and Events

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.

Historic Site Nominations and Past Awardees

2021 Historic Site Awardees

Congratulations to our newest historic sites, The Bevatron, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Mayer Hall, University of California, San Diego, CA!

Bevatron

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

On this site in 1955, a year after completion of the Bevatron, Chamberlain, Segrè, Wiegand, and Ypsilantis reported the discovery of the anti-proton. In the 1960s bubble chambers here revealed many new particles, evidence for SU(3) symmetry, now known to be the sign of the three lightest quarks. Later, Ghiorso conceived and Grunder built the Bevalac by merging the Bevatron and the SuperHILAC into the world’s first relativistic heavy-ion accelerator. It accelerated ions from protons to uranium, launching high-energy heavy-ion physics and clinical radiotherapy with heavy-ion beams.
 

Berkeley physicists Edward McMillan and Edward Lofgren, shown here on the shielding of the Bevatron

Mayer Hall

University of California, San Diego, CA

Here Walter Kohn and Lu Jeu Sham reduced to practice the method of Density Functional Theory (DFT), whose premises had been laid by Kohn and Pierre Hohenberg. DFT allows calculation of all the properties of quantum many-body systems from the ground state density of particles, a much simpler quantity than the wave function. Today, it is the most used technique for calculating the properties of nuclei, molecules, polymers, macromolecules, surfaces and bulk materials in the chemical, biological and physical sciences. For this achievement, Kohn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Mayer Hall, University of California, San Diego