The International Nature of Physics and International Cooperation

(Adopted by Council on November 12, 1989)

In consideration of the international dimensions of science and the need of scientists of all nations to maintain professional contact with colleagues at home and abroad, the American Physical Society has adopted the following statement on The International Nature of Physics and International Physics Cooperation:

Science belongs to all humanity and transcends natural boundaries. As in the past, science can serve as a bridge for mutual understanding across political and ideological divisions and as a vehicle for the enhancement of peace. In particular, APS believes that it is important at this time to strive for more open dialogue among scientists to enhance international cooperation.

To achieve its full potential and to benefit all mankind, science requires that governments respect basic human rights, allow open communication, and avoid interference with the rights of scientists as they carry out their professional work.

The APS expects that any action by any government restricting the freedom of inquiry by physicists or the normal performance of their scholarly work be the result of accepted judicial procedures in which the rights of individuals to defend themselves against accusations are not curtailed.


  1. The APS deplores actions of any government that deprive physicists of their rights as individuals, their rights as professionals, or their opportunities to meet openly with colleagues at home or abroad.
  2. The APS deplores the arbitrary closure of universities, research laboratories or conference centers as well as the unjustified physical exclusion of physicists from their place of work.
  3. The APS deplores the politically based restrictions on the travel of physicists. In particular, the APS urges all governments to furnish exit visas in a timely fashion to physicists of their countries that have been invited to international scientific conferences or other international scientific activities. It similarly urges that host governments provide entrance visas in a timely fashion to foreign physicists who have been invited to participate in scientific conferences and other scientific enterprises.
  4. The APS objects strongly to the substitution of uninvited participants for invited participants at international physics conferences without explicit approval of conference organizers.
  5. The APS notes that actions by governments that are inconsistent with the principles stated above erode seriously the willingness of many US physicists to participate in conferences and other cooperative scientific endeavors that involve the offending country.

The APS will continue to take action in support of the human and professional rights of physicists in all countries. It continues to encourage individual physicists and groups of physicists to take conscientious and responsible action to protect those rights and to further international scientific cooperation.