APS News

In Brief

Hans Frauenfelder (Los Alamos National Laboratory), chair of the U.S. Liaison Committee of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (USLC-IUPAP), wrote to Presidential Science Adviser Jack Gibbons in May expressing appreciation for his leadership in supporting the OECD Megascience Forum, but expressing concern within the international physics community about insufficient participation of the scientific community in the proposed structure for follow-up arrangements. The forum was established in 1992 as an experimental, interim mechanism for member governments to explore international collaboration in selected areas of large science, identifying obstacles and understanding the scope of these areas. Now that the forum is approaching the end of its three-year term, new arrangements must be implemented to allow governments to plan and implement joint programs.

While recognizing that the forum "is a deliberative and not a decision-making body, [w]e are troubled... by the weak links with the scientific community which may deprive the discussants at critical times of crucial technical or scientific information," Frauenfelder said in his letter. "There is a very real danger that intergovernmental consultations will not be informed of rapidly evolving new scientific developments which could have a major impact on decisions." He also criticized the lack of involvement of academies, learned societies, scientific unions, and existing international scientific organizations in the proposed working group structure. "The academies and unions were designed to focus the creative energies of science on its self-defined problems and on the needs of society. They can provide the necessary scientific participation," Frauenfelder concluded. "To ignore these structures now is to say that the scientific community has no role in preparing for the future."

At its April meeting, the APS Council approved a request from the Committee on Oversight of Membership Publications (COMP) that the committee be disbanded and its responsibilities and members be transferred to the Committees on Membership and Meetings, as appropriate. "Over the past year, COMP members began to feel that the important tasks have been discharged, and that the committee's reduced agenda does not justify its continuance past the spring of 1995," said COMP Past Chair William Frazer (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) of the rationale behind the request. COMP was created in 1992 to oversee all publications received by APS members upon payment of their membership dues: namely, APS NEWS and, until it became a subscription publication, the Bulletin of the American Physical Society. Its recommendations resulted in the conversion of APS NEWS from a glossy to a tabloid newspaper in January 1994, as well as the creation of an electronic version of the newsletter, which currently boasts about 600 subscribers. "Not only is the new format easier and more interesting to read, it is less expensive to produce and to mail," said Frazer of the changes.

The APS New England Section held its annual spring meeting at the University of Connecticut 7-8 April, in conjunction with the corresponding regional section of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). The Friday afternoon session focused on the structure of the nucleon, and featured talks on the role of symmetry, spin and nonperturbative structure of the nucleon, and studies on nucleonic structure currently underway at the Continuous Electron Beam Facility and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. Robert Eisenstein, head of the Physics Division at the National Science Foundation, was the keynote speaker at Friday evening's banquet. Saturday morning's session on atomic manipulation and nanoscience featured talks on interferometers for atoms and molecules, manipulating matter with light, and nanofabrication by laser manipulation of atoms. In addition, two AAPT sessions were devoted to contributed papers and favorite demonstrations or laboratory modules, with the latter being restricted to the topic of electricity and magnetism.

The APS New York State Section held its 72nd topical symposium on the theme of physics in medicine, 7-8 April at GE's Corporate Research and Development Center in Schenectady, New York. The 12 invited lectures covered such topics as the physical principles of magnetic resonance imaging; ultrasonic imaging in medicine; using synchrotron radiation for medical imaging, as well as for applications in structural biology; advances in time-resolved optical imaging; computer-aided analysis of radiographic images; applications of two-photon microscopy to cell biology; patient simulators for medical training; and what x-ray diffraction techniques can reveal about muscle physiology. Friday evening's banquet was followed by a public lecture by George Wise on GE's research in medical imaging, spanning a long history of developments from Coolidge tubes to virtual reality.

The APS Ohio Section held its 1995 spring meeting 12-13 May on the campus of Youngstown State University. Friday afternoon featured a plenary session on atomic physics featuring talks on Creating and Probing Dynamic States in Atoms by Robert Jones and the Physics of Ultracold Trapped Atoms by Daniel Heinzer. That evening's banquet was followed by a planetarium show. Saturday featured a session of contributed papers as well as a plenary session on astrophysics, with invited lectures on Carbon in Interstellar Space by Adolf Witt and Planetary Nebulae and the Deaths of Stars by James Kaler

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin