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FIAP Celebrates Its First Anniversary

By Frederick Dylla and Leonard Brillson

view On behalf of the APS Committee on Applications of Physics (CAP) and the Executive Committee of the Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics (FIAP), we have the pleasure of reporting on the state of the FIAP as it passes its first year of operation. During this period, FIAP has grown from zero to nearly 5,000 members, reflecting a latent desire by a significant portion of the APS membership for attention to applied physics. FIAP is now the largest forum and the second largest single unit within the APS. During its first year, FIAP served the APS industrial and applied community in an array of activities, including symposia at APS meetings, fellowship and prize recognition, jobs and career development, community awareness and communication, and collaboration with other APS units.

Symposium Programs - FIAP developed an outstanding set of symposia for the 1996 APS March and Joint Meetings as well as for other meetings. These well-attended symposia provided insights into the physics and engineering underlying a diverse array of technologies, ranging from physicists at work on Wall Street to the "physics of garbage." A unique set of symposia were developed for next spring's meetings that emphasize applied science. Included are tutorials aimed at educating attendees on industrial environments and the opportunities for collaborative research arrangements.

Fellowship and Prize Recognition - Council approved FIAP's first slate of APS Fellows last November - the first time in APS history that physicists will be formally recognized specifically for industrial and applied achievements. The FIAP Fellowship Committee and a panel of widely respected senior physicists with industrial backgrounds developed a set of selection criteria that, retain the standards of excellence required for APS Fellowship while recognizing accomplishments of industrial and applied physicists. There are few APS prizes recognizing industrial and applied achievements. FIAP is exploring the possiblily of developing new APS prizes in these areas to supplement the existing APS George Pake Prize, which recognizes leadership of industrial research and development at a senior level.

Jobs and Career Development - FIAP has introduced several initiatives aimed at better serving our membership's needs for jobs and career development. It is a participant in the recently formed APS Task Force on Career and Professional Development (see APS News, December 1996). At the 1996 APS March Meeting in St. Louis, FIAP collaborated on a series of informal gatherings called "Meeting Industrial Physicists," where more than 250 attendees heard how physicists work in industry and what skills companies look for in potential employees. That program attracted so many participants that demand for informal groups exceeded the supply of speakers to staff them. The FIAP home page (/FIAP/index.cfm) now provides additional job and career information. This page contains a schedule of upcoming FIAP events, links to major R&D career sites, FIAP's latest newsletter, as well as a speakers list featuring more than 150 industrial and applied physicists. The speakers list is intended to serve as a resource for high schools and universities that desire to hear about industrial research. The FIAP newsletter includes articles on industrial R&D, new career paths for industrial physicists, tips on employment opportunities, and information on APS career workshops. Shortly, FIAP will launch a prototype Web site, that will allow confidential resume circulation and allow employers to advertise new jobs to members efficiently.

Community Awareness and Communication - FIAP is exploring new approaches to build community awareness and communication in the industrial and applied membership of APS. Several hundred members responded to a call for volunteers for specific activities. A database file has been developed by the APS of volunteers by activity, geographical location, and professional background. This will make it possible, for example, to provide locally-based volunteers for specific events related to jobs workshops, counseling, or technical symposia. This volunteer base will help provide opportunities for job and mentor contacts, as well as providing FIAP leaders with needed support for new initiatives.

Collaboration with Other APS Units - FIAP has joint activities planned with other APS units. Most notable thus far is a planned joint meeting of FIAP and the Division of Computational Physics (DCOMP), to be held August 25-28, 1997, at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

What's Next - As FIAP passes its first anniversary, it is poised for many new initiatives. We especially want to enlist the participation of a wider group of members in such activities as: organizing and participating in FIAP symposia and short courses, becoming mentors or counselors in our career workshops or "Meet Industrial Physicists" programs at meetings, helping develop FIAP web pages; becoming part of our employment network, becoming a lecturer in the APS Industrial Speakers list, or running for FIAP office. Overall, FIAP provides a forum for APS members to participate in addressing employment, career development, and professional recognition issues in the tough new R&D environment physicists are all facing.

H. Frederick Dylla is a scientist at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, and was 1996 chair of the APS Committee on Applications of Physics. Leonard J. Brillson is a professor at Ohio State University, former research manager at Xerox Corporation and is chair of the APS Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics. The authors thank a number of their colleaques who were instrumental in making the new Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics possible: Andrew Sessler, Abbas Ourmazd, Charles Duke, Arlene Modeste, Barrie Ripin and Judy Franz.


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