Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 13, No.1, 2003. Copyright © 2003 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Used by permission.


Though not among the most influential American physicists of the late 19th century, DeWitt Bristol Brace (1859-1905) played significant roles in creating the Department of Physics at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and in developing extremely sensitive instrumentation attempting to measure the motion of the hypothetical ether relative to the Earth (more commonly called "ether drift"). As the book's title suggests, another of its major themes is the transmission of scientific knowledge, physics in particular, from German and East Coast American universities to the remoteness of the Great Plains. It is within this contextual framework that Science at the American Frontier traces the story of Brace's life, education, research, and contributions to American physics.