APS FHP 2015 Abraham Pais Prize - Spencer Weart

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By Joe Anderson, Director

Spencer Weart, former director of the Center for History of Physics.Spencer Weart, former director of AIP’s Center for History of Physics, has received the 2015 Abraham Pais Prize for History of Physics.  The prize is awarded annually and was established in 2005 by the APS through its Forum on the History of Physics and by AIP to recognize outstanding scholarly achievements in the history of physics. Weart is being recognized “For foundational contributions to the intellectual progress, institutional underpinnings, and public impact of the history of physics, from nuclear physics to condensed matter to climate change."  He will present the Pais Prize Lecture, Understanding the Impacts of Global Warming: a History,” at the March APS meeting.


Spencer Weart was trained as a physicist (B.A. Cornell University, PhD. University of Colorado, Boulder) and worked as a Fellow of the Mt. Wilson and Palomar Observatories, publishing papers in leading scientific journals. He then went to the University of California, Berkeley to study history of science. From 1974 until his retirement in 2009 he served as Director of the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics; the Center and its affiliated Niels Bohr Library & Archives is dedicated to preserving and making known the history of physics and related disciplines through oral history interviews, safeguarding of archives, and educational work. Among his numerous published works are a history of the rise of nuclear science and technology in France; a collection of essays on the history of solid-state physics; The Rise of Nuclear Fear, and The Discovery of Global Warming with its complementary, regularly updated, website (http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm). He has served as Treasurer and other offices in the History of Science Society and is a Fellow of the AAAS.