APS News

In Brief

At its February meeting, the APS Executive Board issued a special commendation to Daniel Kleppner, Lester Wolfe Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for his years of excellent service as chair of the APS Physics Planning Committee. Kleppner's APS service also includes terms on the APS Council and Executive Board, the Panel on Public Affairs, and the Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, as well as the editorial board of Physical Review A. A past recipient of the APS Davisson-Germer Prize and Julius Lilienfeld Prize, his research interests are in experimental atomic physics, high precision measurements, and quantum optics, including studies of hydrogen at extremely low temperatures and in ultra precise laser spectroscopy. Dan Kleppner was also awarded MIT's James Killian, Jr. Faculty Achievement Award in March.

The APS Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics (FIAP), in conjunction with the Committee on Applications in Physics and APS staff, has produced a compilation of over 115 physicists who are available to speak on industrial and applied physics topics at schools, universities, and in other public forums. More than 200 titles are listed in the booklet, which is called the Industrial and Applied Speakers List. According to Barrett Ripin, associate executive officer, "it is intended to help break down the cultural barriers that exist between academia and industry, students, faculty and industrial physicists, and demonstrate the interesting variety of work done by physicists." About half of the listed speakers are employed in industry, one-quarter in universities, and the remainder in government laboratories and other venues. A copy of the booklet was mailed to all physics and astronomy departments and to each of the approximately 600 Student Physics Society (SPS) chapters in the U.S. Those interested in obtaining a copy of the booklet - or in volunteering for next year's edition - should contact Arlene Modeste, APS, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740-3844.

The speakers list is also posted on the FIAP web page, which is accessible via the APS Home Page [http://www.aps.org]. The web posting of the speakers list will be updated periodically as additional speakers are added.

The APS Ohio Section held its annual spring meeting 12-13 April at Ohio State University in Columbus, organized around the theme of Physics at the Nanoscale. Friday's technical program included talks on nanostructures in semiconductors and nanomachines and nanosensors, as well as lab tours and the annual banquet, featuring keynote speaker Lawrence Krauss (Case Western Reserve University). Saturday's plenary session covered complex dynamics of nanometer-scale magnets and the ultrafast dynamics of semiconductor nanostructures. The meeting also featured two lectures by Nobel Laureates prior to the regular program. On Thursday evening, F. Sherwood Rowland (University of California, Irvine), recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, spoke on the stratospheric ozone depletion by chlorofluorocarbons. Friday morning featured a talk on Bose-Einstein condensation of trapped atoms by SUNY-Stony Brook's Chen-Ning Yang, recipient of the 1957 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Ph.D.s are up, but first-year students are down, suggesting a coming downturn in physics Ph.D.s at U.S. universities, according to a new report by the American Institute of Physics entitled, "Enrollments and Degrees Report." Released in January, the report shows that physics Ph.D. production continues to rise: 1481 were granted in 1994, compared to 1369 the year before. But the number of first-year graduate students is down 22 percent at Ph.D.-granting institutions and undergraduate junior level physics majors are down 13 percent since 1992. For more information contact the report authors, Patrick Mulvey and Elizabeth Dodge at (301) 209-3076.

A recent study of a sampling of active male and female researchers reveals that while women scientists publish slightly fewer papers than their male colleagues, their citation rate per paper is significantly higher. Men published 2.8 papers per year on average, compared with 2.3 for women; but women's papers were cited 24.4 times on average, compared with 14.4 times for men. Gerald Holton (Harvard University), a former chair of the APS Forum on History of Physics, has been working with Harvard sociologist Gerhard Sonnert on Project Access, a study Holton began in 1988 that probes the attitudes of more than 800 scientists - about one-third of them women - who began their careers with prestigious postdoctoral fellowships between 1952 and 1987. Sonnert and Holton's report was summarized in an article in the January/February 1996 issue of American Scientist, pg. 63.

The higher citation rates for women's papers are indicative of "more noteworthy" contents, the report concluded. Based on their findings, the authors also concluded that women scientists are "inclined toward more comprehensive and synthetic work and more likely to try to find a scientific 'niche' rather than compete with colleagues in the same area of expertise." However, this is not due to "a feminine methodology or way of thinking," but that women may pay greater attention to detail and to the formalities of research. The study also found that while 70 percent of the men considered their own scientific ability as being above average, only half of the women did.

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin