For nearly a century, The American Institute of Physics (AIP) has worked to advance, promote and serve the physical sciences community for the benefit of humanity. AIP was founded in 1931 to address research funding shortfalls brought on by the Great Depression. At the urging of the Chemical Foundation, which provided initial funding, leaders of American physics formed a corporation for the “advancement and diffusion of knowledge of the science of physics and its application to human welfare,” especially by achieving economies in the publishing of journals and the maintenance of membership lists.
Broader concerns also argued for cooperation. With the advent of esoteric theories in quantum, nuclear, and relativity physics, the worlds of academic and industrial physics seemed to be drifting apart. Moreover, because the public found physics hard to comprehend, some blamed science-based technology for the perils of modern warfare and economic collapse. Thus, from the outset the Institute also worked to foster cooperation within the physics community and to improve public understanding of science.