APS News

In Brief

  • The APS New England Section held its fall meeting 6-7 October at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Friday's program focused on the history of physics, and celebrated the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Xrays and radioactivity. Invited speakers included Erwin N. Hiebert of Harvard's Department of History of Science, and Susan Quinn, author of a recent biography of Marie Curie. On Saturday, the program featured invited talks on the physics of magnetic recording technologies, as well as numerous poster and contributed paper sessions.

  • The APS Ohio Section held its 1995 fall meeting the same weekend as the New England Section on the campus of the University of Dayton, organized along the theme of diode lasers and nonlinear optics. The event was co-hosted by the university's Physics Department and Center for Electro-optics, and the Air Force Institute of Technology's Department of Engineering Physics. Friday's program featured invited talks on blue-green diode lasers and vertical-cavity surface-emitting diode lasers thesis, followed by a banquet and public lecture by Alan Beyerchen of Ohio State University's Department of History of Physics on "Scientists and Social Responsibility Under the Third Reich." Saturday's plenary session featured talks on entangled photons and their applications, and on four-wave mixing spectroscopy.

  • The APS New York State Section held its 73rd semiannual symposium, 13-14 October, at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Organized around the theme of advances in alternative energy, the meeting included a tour of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester. Friday morning featured invited talks on recent progress in fusion research and inertial confinement fusion, as well as an update on the cold fusion controversy. Friday afternoon focused on generation and storage, with talks on such topics as geothermal energy, recent advances in photovoltaics,, recent developments in fuel cell research, and the status of fly wheel energy storage. The banquet on Friday evening featured a public lecture by Harvard University's Richard Wilson entitled, "Chernobyl and the Future of Nuclear Power." The meeting concluded with Saturday morning lectures on advances in wind energy technology, nuclear power in the U.S., and extracting energy from the vacuum. Because the symposium was intended to be tutorial in nature, there were no contributed papers.

  • The joint fall meeting of the Texas Sections of the APS, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the Society of Physics Students was hosted by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, 26-28 October. In addition to invited and contributed papers, the conference featured several special interest sessions and symposia on a wide variety of topics, including such specialty areas as biophysics; insulator, laser and medical physics; molecular dynamics simulations; quantum optics; thin films; and photoconductive switch research. Four "Frontiers of Physics" lectures were also given by Leon Lederman, Edward Teller, T.N. Veziroglu, and Robert Wilson. Other highlights included teacher workshops, a competition for outstanding undergraduate and graduate student papers, and the Physics Circus.

  • The 19th International Conference on Statistical Physics was held in August on the campus of Xiamen University in China. Approximately 700 scientists from all over the world participated in the conference, which was sponsored by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and several other Chinese organizations.

    To the best of our knowledge, every scientist who wished to participate obtained a visa in a timely fashion," said Joseph Birman (City College of CUNY), who has long been active with the APS Committee on the International Freedom of Scientists. Many of the papers presented were dedicated to free speech and support of peaceful pro-democracy movements in all countries. In addition, a petition to the Chinese authorities was circulated during an informal session, specifically asking for the release of three young physics students now imprisoned for their role in the Chinese pro-democracy movement: Lu Yanghua, a former graduate student in physics at Lanzhou University; Zhang Lin, a student in nuclear physics now in the Nanhu Labor Camp; and Zhu Xiang Zhong, formerly a physics graduate student at Xiamen University. About 120 participants from 22 countries signed the petition, according to Birman.
  • An American citizen, Harry Wu, under detention in China was released in September by the Chinese government, as a result of negotiations with representatives of the Clinton Administration. The APS Committee on the International Freedom of Scientists wrote to President Clinton in July on behalf of Mr. Wu, who was charged with "stealing state secrets" by Chinese authorities. Clinton responded the following month with assurances that Secretary of State Warren Christopher had raised the issue in an August 1 meeting with the Chinese foreign minister in Brunei, and in a letter from Clinton to President Jiang. "Let me assure you that we remain committed in our dealings with China to upholding ... the universal declaration of human rights and the growth of respect for the rule of law in all countries," Clinton's letter concluded.