The American Physical Society and the American Institute of Physics have established a major new award, the Abraham Pais Award for the History of Physics, which will recognize outstanding scholarly achievements in the history of physics. A renowned theoretical particle physicist and historian of physics, Pais died in July 2000. Among historians, he is best known for his book Subtle is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein, which won the 1983 American Book Award in Science.
The award will be given annually and consists of $5000, a certificate citing the recipient’s contributions to the history of physics, and funds to travel to an APS meeting to receive the award and deliver an invited talk on the history of physics. The award is the first to be established specifically for the history of physics.
The first selection committee will be chaired by Roger H. Stuewer (University of Minnesota) and other members are Allan D. Franklin (University of Colorado), Lillian Hoddeson (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), Anne J. Kox (University of Amsterdam), and Spencer R. Weart (AIP). The first award will be conferred in 2005. Nominations are due by May 1, 2004, and should be sent to Stuewer. For further information, see the website of the APS Forum on History of Physics http://www.aps.org/units/fhp/pais/index.html
The Pais Award will usually be given to a single person but in any case to no more than three individuals and is open to scholars of all nationalities.
For the past two years, an award establishment committee has been working on the concept and then the fundraising. The initial goal of $100,000 to establish an endowment has been reached. A major contribution came from John and Elizabeth Armstrong, who gave $30,000 outright and provided another $30,000 in matching funds to challenge other donors. Fundraising to cover travel expenses and to raise the amount of the award is continuing, according to Benjamin Bederson (New York University), who chairs the award establishment committee. Other members are Stephen G. Brush (University of Maryland), Gloria B. Lubkin (AIP), Harry Lustig (APS treasurer emeritus), Michael Riordan (Stanford University and University of California, Santa Cruz), Stuewer, and Weart.