APS News

In Brief

The APS Council approved two minor changes to the APS Bylaws regarding service of APS Congressional Fellows on the Physics Planning Committee (PPC) and the Panel on Public Affairs (POPA). Congressional Fellows are currently required to serve on POPA in the first year following their fellowship tenure. Under the new provisions, Fellows will serve as members of the PPC in the first year after their tenure, and in the second year serve as members of POPA. "The PPC and POPA feel that they can both benefit from the knowledge and experience the Fellows gain by having them serve as members," said Charles Falco (University of Arizona), chair of the Committee on Constitution and Bylaws, which proposed the revision. Members are invited to comment on these proposed changes before the changes are resubmitted to the APS Council for ratification at its Spring 1996 meeting. Comments should be sent to the Executive Office of the APS, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740-3844; or by e-mail to halsted@aps.org.

Six APS representatives traveled to Tokyo in September to attend the Second International Conference on Research and Communications in Physics. They were joined by representatives from physics organizations around the world, including UNESCO, the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, the Balkan Physical Union, the European Physical Society, the Eotvos Physical Society, and the physical societies of Russia, Poland, Uzbekistan, China, Sweden, Asia Pacific, Germany, Korea, Latvia, Malaysia, and Mexico. A joint declaration was issued following the conference, re-asserting the participants' commitment to basic and applied science as a global endeavor. APS President C. Kumar N. Patel gave a plenary lecture on physics in the 21st century, while APS Past President Donald Langenberg reported on activities of UNESCO's Physics Action Council. APS Executive Officer Judy Franz participated in a panel discussion on regional physical societies and later described physics education initiatives in the U.S. Other session topics included communications in physics, physics in industry, and the crisis in society journals brought on by electronic publishing. Former APS President Ernest Henley (University of Washington) and APS Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Bederson also spoke at the conference.

U.S. Representative and physicist Vernon J. Ehlers (R-MI) was elected to APS fellowship. His citation reads, "For contributions to atomic physics research, physics education, and dynamic leadership in the pursuit of bettering the health and welfare of science in the United States." Ehlers received his Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1960 and then spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow, one at Berkeley and one at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Following his tenure as a research physicist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, he joined the faculty of Calvin College in 1966, leaving in 1983 to pursue his political career. A long-standing APS member, Ehlers was involved with the fledgling Forum on Physics and Society in the early 1970s and also served on the Panel on Public Affairs. He first entered public politics in 1975, when he was elected as a county commissioner, and was sworn into the 103rd U.S. Congress in January 1994. The APS Council elected a total of 180 APS members to Fellowship in November. Their names and citations will be published in the March issue of APS NEWS. A complete list is also available on the Fellowship section under the Prizes, Awards & Fellowship button of the APS Home Page.

The APS Division of Biological Physics is sponsoring a workshop on physical techniques in biological sciences on Sunday, March 17, just prior to the 1996 APS March Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri. The course is intended for researchers who are unfamiliar with the types of information about biological systems that can be obtained using modern physical techniques, and are interested in a series of overview lectures on the subject. "Significant advances in the understanding of biological systems can be made by applying a variety of physical techniques to their study," said Denis Rousseau of AT&T Bell Laboratories, who organized the workshop. "Some are particularly powerful for the study of the active site of enzymes, whereas others yield information of a more global nature." The four techniques covered in the course are electron paramagnetic resonance, raman scattering, atomic force microscopy, scanning tunneling microscopy, and x-ray absorption fine structure.

A new study, "1994 Salaries: Society Membership Survey," released by the American Institute of Physics shows that the median annual salary for a full-time physicist in the U.S. is $60,000. Among the different employment sectors, physicists (actually, some of the society members surveyed were non-physicists, such as engineers) in a medical/ hospital setting make the most, $77,000, and those at four-year colleges the least, $45,000. Geographically, the Pacific states pay the most, $66,000, and the West North Central states the least, $50,000. Adjusting for the cost of living, Houston has the highest physicist salaries among selected cities and San Diego and Boston the lowest. Comparing the salaries of male and female physics Ph.D.s is complicated by the fact that median female age is invariably lower. Factoring in the lower earning power that comes with fewer years of experience, females still earn less than their male counterparts in all categories. The adjusted male/female salaries (in thousands of dollars) in selected job areas are as follows: 78.1/68.4 for those working in industry; 67.6/59.4 in government; 67.9/61.5 for full professors (9-10 month salaries), 48.5/46.2 for associate professors, and 42.6/42.0 for assistant professors. [Item courtesy of Philip F. Schewe of the American Institute of Physics.]

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin