Michael Thoennessen Appointed New APS Editor in Chief

EAST LANSING, MI, June 22, 2017 – Michigan State University (MSU) Distinguished Professor Michael Thoennessen has been named Editor in Chief of the American Physical Society (APS). The APS Editor in Chief is responsible for the editorial stewardship of all APS peer-reviewed research journals. Thoennessen assumes the position on September 1, 2017.

“Michael Thoennessen has a broad knowledge of physics, extensive leadership experience, and the ability to work well with others. He is forward-thinking, especially regarding the future of our journals,” said Caltech professor of physics and 2011 APS President Barry Barish, who chaired the search committee. “We are very fortunate to have attracted him to become our next Editor in Chief."

At MSU, Thoennessen is the Associate Director for user relations at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), and University Distinguished Professor of physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Additionally, he has been deputy executive director of the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium since 2015, and served as supervisory editor of Nuclear Physics A from 2004 to 2016. An APS Fellow, he received the Physical Review Outstanding Referee Award in 2013.

Thoennessen earned his doctorate in experimental nuclear physics in 1988 from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He served as a research associate at the Joint Institute for Heavy Ion Research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 1988 to 1990, before joining MSU in 1990 as an assistant professor.

“It is a tremendous accomplishment for Michael to be selected for this prestigious position, and speaks to the outstanding physicist and researcher he is,” said Thomas Glasmacher, FRIB laboratory director. “I am delighted Michael was chosen and confident he will do an outstanding job in this new role.”

Thoennessen’s research focuses on the study of extremely neutron-rich nuclides. While normal neutron-rich nuclei decay by converting a neutron into a proton in milliseconds or longer, these nuclides contain so many neutrons that they decay by emitting one or two of the excess neutrons in a zeptosecond, or one sextillionth of a second. The exploration of these very exotic nuclides help to explain the nature of the nuclear force that binds protons and neutrons into stable nuclei and rare isotopes. His group performs their experiments as part of the MoNA collaboration at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, one of the few facilities in the world where these nuclei can be explored.

He has recently published a book entitled The Discovery of Isotopes: A Complete Compilation where he describes the discovery of every isotope observed on Earth to date.

“It is a great honor to be appointed as the APS Editor in Chief,” Thoennessen said. “I am looking forward to working with the excellent editors and staff at the APS Offices in Ridge, New York, and the APS leadership team.”

"I am delighted that Michael has accepted this position and the Board's vote was unanimous," said 2017 APS President Laura Greene. "I know the challenges, especially in this rapidly changing publishing landscape, having personally spent more than a decade as Editor in Chief of Reports on Progress in Physics," she said. "Michael has had a great deal of experience in this area, and in working with professional publishers."

“Michael has an outstanding pedigree as a scientist and administrator, in addition to his experience in journal publishing,” added APS Publisher Matthew Salter. “I look forward to partnering with him to ensure that the journals in the Physical Review series continue serve the research community, and are fit to meet the future demands of scientific publishing."

Thoennessen will succeed Pierre Meystre as Editor in Chief. Meystre announced his resignation earlier this year, and will continue as Editor in Chief until the end of August, when Thoennessen steps in.

"I'm very pleased that Michael Thoennessen will become our next Editor in Chief and will be joining the APS Senior Management Team," said APS CEO Kate Kirby. "His past leadership experience in publishing, his engagement with APS programs in education and diversity, and his service in many capacities, including as Chair of the APS Division of Nuclear Physics, provide him with valuable perspectives and a deep understanding of APS."

Contact: James Riordon, APS, riordon@aps.org, (301) 209-3238

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About MSU

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The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents over 54,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, D.C.