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Photos of the Month - April 2019

Audrey Lengel, Photo Archivist

Have you ever experienced the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon? It’s an illusion that occurs when you’ve recently learned about something new and then can’t stop seeing it everywhere. When I first started working at the American Institute of Physics, I suddenly became aware of the fact that physics is all around us in the media; I just hadn’t recognized it before. I noticed how many Jeopardy! questions are about the physical sciences. I started to hear more stories about NASA on the radio during my commute. I saw books about physics front and center in the display at my local library. A commercial featuring Millie Dresselhaus was on my television! It hit me that even though I didn’t immediately recognize it, I was exposed to physicists and their work – and I have been my whole life.

Physicists have been in the media spotlight for generations; some scientists mastered the art of being both a scientist and a public figure. Others were consulted for their expertise or knowledge of an event, and others yet were the news themselves! This month, I gathered a handful of photos from our archives of physicists who were in the media, either as the feature or behind-the-scenes. Enjoy a new selection of Photos of the Month throughout April – and don’t be surprised if you start seeing physics everywhere around you…

John Bardeen (right) talking to the television production crew from SUN-TV based in Kobe, Japan. He was interviewed by SUN-TV in April of 1983 as they toured the Midwest and filmed several renowned scientists for a special series.

Credit: University of Illinois Alumni Association Archives, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Gerardus ‘t Hooft being interviewed by a Newsweek correspondent at the APS/AAPT meeting in New York City, January 1979. He was awarded the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics at this meeting.

Credit: Photograph by Fred Bucheit, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Dozens of people, including members of the news media and families of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory employees, stand on the upper balcony of Scyllac, a thermonuclear research effort, during the dedication ceremonies, circa 1974.

Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory, courtesy of AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection

Arno Penzias and Robert W. Wilson stand in between the Bell Labs horn antenna used in their research and a crowd of reporters after winning one half of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Credit: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection

Leonard (last name unknown) of Time Magazine interviewing Robert Oppenheimer at the Seventh International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP, or Rochester conference) 1957. Oppenheimer served as the chairman of the Strange Particles and Weak Interactions section of this conference.

Credit: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Marshak Collection

Walter Zinn (right) being interviewed by George Lindholm from the Argonne Motion Picture Unit, circa 1967. The interview was used in the film “The Day Tomorrow Began,” about the construction of CP-1, the first nuclear reactor.

Credit: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, George Tressel Collection