The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia recently appointed a committee to review the state's public undergraduate and graduate physics programs. The review was prompted by the serious challenges and changing opportunities being faced by physics departments in enrollment, curriculum and funding, and by physics graduates in employment and career choices. A task force consisting of in-state and outside physicists from academia, government and industry - including APS Executive Officer Judy Franz and APS consultant Brian Schwartz- issued a report in July, in which they developed a series of five major recommendations to preserve and strengthen the physics program, as well as to create strategies to identify and take advantage of new opportunities. Copies of the report, including an executive summary and a list of recommendations with background and other supporting materials, are available on the World Wide Web.
In July, President Clinton selected three physicists among the eight scientists and engineers nominated to serve on the prestigious National Science Board (NSB), an advisory body to the National Science Foundation. The physicists nominated are: John Armstrong, former vice president of science and technology at IBM and a fellow of the APS; Mary K. Gaillard, Professor of Physics, UC Berkeley who is also an APS fellow; and Vera Rubin, a research astronomer with the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institution of Washington who received the President's National Medal of Science in 1993. The Board was established in 1950 and has 24 members serving six-year rotating terms. They are selected for their distinguished service in research, education, or public service.
The other five new NSB nominees are: M.R.C. Greenwood, former associate director for science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (see Back Page, October 1994 APS News); Stanley Vincent Jaskolski, chief technical officer and vice president of technical management for the Eaton Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio, who will become president of the Industrial Research Institute in May 1997; Eamon M. Kelly; Bob H. Suzuki, president of California Polytechnic University; and Dr. Richard Tapia. In their capacity as NSB members, these candidates will recommend overall national policies for promoting basic research and education in the sciences to the NSF. Their terms will expire in May, 2002.
The recipient of the 1996 Doctoral Thesis Award for Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics was chosen in May. Aephraim M. Steinberg, University of Toronto, will receive $1000 for his thesis, entitled "The Single-Photon Tunneling Time and its Sub-Femtosecond Measurement via Quantum Interference." Chaired by Philip Cosby of SRI International, the selection committee chose Steinberg from among five finalists who presented their work orally in a special invited paper session at the 1996 APS Spring Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. The award was established in 1992 by the Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics to recognize doctoral thesis research of outstanding quality and achievement in atomic, molecular or optical physics, and to encourage effective written and oral presentation of research results.
In July, President Clinton announced a research contract to build the world's fastest and largest supercomputer at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The new supercomputer will be 300 times more powerful than any in the world. Built in partnership with the DOE and IBM at a cost of about $93 million, the supercomputer is expected to go online in 1998.
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