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Tate Lab Dedicated Historic Site for Physics

Plaque unveiling
Ron Poling, Keith Nier, Janet Marx
Alex Schumann

Al Nier's family, friends and colleagues unveiled a plaque on October 24, 2012 which designated Tate Laboratory as a historic site for Physics. The plaque, provided by the American Physical Society, cited the pioneering work of the late Regents Professor Alfred O. C. Nier and his colleagues in the development and application of mass spectrometry, including the first-ever separation of the Uranium-235 isotope. Nier's children, Janet Marx and Keith Nier, unveiled the plaque and shared reminiscences about their father.

Michael Turner, President of the American Physical Society spoke about the significance of Nier's work and its impact on physics, chemistry and geophysics. Colleague Robert Robert Pepin, who studied under Nier, uses mass spectrometry to analyze materials from space, reminded the crowd at the ceremony of Nier's influence is still being felt in the School of Physics and Astronomy. "We left a hot spectrometer to come here, today," Pepin remarked, "something that I think would have pleased Al, very much."

Ron Poling, Head, School of Physics and Astronomy acted as master of ceremony for speakers including Laura Brod, Regent of University of Minnesota; Steven Crouch, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering; Michael Turner, University of Chicago and President of the American Physical Society; Ben Bederson, New York University, Editor-in Chief Emeritus, American Physical Society and Editor, APS Forum on the History of Physics Newsletter.

More photos from the plaque unveiling event can be seen here.