A Century of Physics

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Photos of the Month - January 2019

Audrey Lengel, Photo Archivist

1919 was a pretty great year in physics history. The American Meteorological Society was founded by Charles Franklin Brooks. Arthur Eddington and others confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity during a total solar eclipse. Johannes Stark won the Nobel Prize in Physics for “his discovery of the Doppler effect in canal rays and the splitting of spectral lines in electric fields.”

What new professional organizations, discoveries, and Nobel Laureates will emerge in 2019? We’ll find out as the year unfolds! But we all know that physics isn’t only the big moments that make up the “highlight reel” of any year. It’s also the moments in between – the nights spent studying for an undergraduate course, the days spent exploring the outdoors with your coworkers during a much-needed work break, and the annual meetings where you can catch up with old colleagues.

In this, the first Photos of the Month series of 2019, we’re looking back at photos captured during these moments a century ago. You’ll see some group shots of physics departments and meeting attendees, portraits of physicists taken at various points of their careers, and one very young physicist-to-be and their family. I hope you enjoy this month’s photos and have a happy and healthy new year!

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Physics Department, June 1919.

Left to right: F.R. Watson, W.F. Schulz, E.C. Fritz, B.R. Stephenson, E. Frances Seiler, Margaret K. Dawson, W.H. Hyslop, Della M. Rogers, E.N. Turnquist, A.P. Carman (Head), E.H. Williams, W.W. Werrymon, Jakob Kunz, C.J. Lapp, J.B. Hayes, C.T. Knipp, Andrew Tornquist, H.T. Wyninger, and Sebastian Karrer. Absent from the photo were C.F. Hill and Beryl Love.

Credit line: Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Members of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and their families pose for a group picture at the 23rd meeting held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, September 1919.

Credit line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

Portrait of Charlotte Moore Sitterly, taken in 1919 when she was still an undergraduate mathematics student at Swarthmore College.

Credit line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Gift of Michael A. Duncan

Egon Lorenz; Standing in front, L-R: Elizabeth Benedict, Martin Rusch, Hedwig Kohn on an annual excursion of the University of Breslau (now Wrocław) to Zobten (Sobotka) in present-day Poland.

Credit line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Kohn Photo Collection

Norman Ramsey, at approximately 4 years old, with his brother, John Ramsey, father, Norman Ramsey, and mother, Minna Bauer Ramsey, in Topeka, Kansas

Credit line: AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Ramsey Collection

Fred E. Wright served as the second president of OSA from 1918 through 1919 – OSA was founded in 1916.

Credit line: Chase Limited, Washington, courtesy of AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives