APS News

In Brief

The APS Lars Onsager Prize will be awarded annually beginning in 1997. Originally endowed by Russell and Marian Donnelly as a biennial $10,000 award, the couple has decided to make additional yearly donations to fund the award until the principal grows to full endowment of the yearly prize. Until now, only the Lilienfeld and Schawlow Prizes have been annual $10,000 awards. The purpose of the Onsager Prize is to recognize outstanding research in theoretical statistical physics, including the quantum fluids.

Physicist and human rights activist Liu Gang fled the People's Republic of China and arrived in the United States on Wednesday, May 1st, 1996. After serving a very hard six-year prison sentence, which began shortly after the massacre of non-violent protesters at Tiananmen Square on June 4th 1989, Liu was released in June of 1995. He had been third on the list of "most wanted" students involved with the democracy movement. Since his release, Liu was deprived of any chance of employment and constantly harassed by police, thus robbed of his basic human right of survival. The APS' Committee on the International Freedom of Scientists wrote numerous letters to the PRC Government concerning Liu's treatment while he was imprisoned and following his release, much of which was in violation of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the United Nations' Declaration on Human Rights. Liu Gang intends to start a new life in a the U.S.

The APS New England Section held its annual spring meeting 26-27 April at MIT, organized jointly with the New England regional sections of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the Society of Physics Students. Friday afternoon's plenary session featured lectures on such topics as magnetic resonance imaging of lungs with laser polarized gases, imaging two-dimensional electrons with scanning tunneling microscopes, and the global positioning system. Saturday morning's plenary session on relativity in astrophysics featured talks on the discovery of the binary pulsar, the search for gravitational waves using laser interferometry, and detecting dark matter with gravitational lenses. Friday evening's banquet featured a keynote address by MIT's Philip Morrison, entitled "Solar Systems: Plural at Last."

The APS New York State Section held its annual spring meeting 11-12 April at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center, organized as a topical symposium on "21st Century Computing: Physical Basis to Classroom Applications." Friday morning featured lectures on such topics as quantum constraints on information processing, ballistic computation, and quantum computation. Friday afternoon focused on new ways of computing, such as the use of cellular automata, adiabatic design of CMOS logic, and massively parallel computing using DNA. The Friday evening banquet featured a public lecture by IBM's Rolf Landauer on 50 years of physics computation. The symposium closed with a Saturday morning plenary session on new computing environments for the classroom, covering such topics as Web technologies and high-speed communication networks, the Internet as a K-12 teaching tool, and the use of virtual reality in graduate education.

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin