APS/AIP Relationship

(Adopted by Council on November 12, 1989)

The American Physical Society (APS), founded in l899, is the oldest and largest society of professional physicists in the United States. It currently has over 40,000 members, who are engaged in basic and applied physics research and in the teaching of physics.

The objective of the APS is the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics. To achieve this objective, the APS engages in various activities, including the publication of scientific journals, the sponsorship of professional meetings, and numerous functions relating to issues of importance to physics and society; these functions are carried out by the officers, the Council, standing committees, task forces, and other groups of members.

As a result of its large professional membership and its activities in the physics community and in the general society, the APS is the preeminent and the recognized voice of physics in such matters as:

  • present and future opportunities in physics,
  • physics planning activities,
  • past, present, and future circumstances of physicists,
  • issues relating to physics and society.

The voice of the APS extends to professional members of the physics community, to students of physics at all levels, to the general public, and to scientific policy makers. In order to maintain its preeminent position, the APS hereby affirms its commitment to its prominent activities in education, outreach, and the study of issues of public importance.

To aid the APS in its functions, the APS relies upon the American Institute of Physics (AIP) for such services as:

  • activities relating to the publication and distribution of some of the APS journals,
  • compilation of education and employment statistics,
  • maintenance of the archives of the history of physics,
  • career placement services at APS meetings.

The AIP has broader objectives which were published in the June l989 issue of Physics Today. Those stated objectives include i) To identify and address problems in the public understanding of physics; ii) To promote full communication of ideas and opinions among members of the national and international physics community; and iii) To develop full and reliable information on the past, present, and projected future circumstances of physics, physicists, and their environment, and provide this information to the physics community and to science policy makers and others in the public whose actions are likely to affect the physics community. A number of these objectives now coincide with those of the APS. Because of its active professional membership and its ongoing activities both internal and external to the profession, the APS believes that it is the natural body to act for physics in these areas.