Physics Anniversaries at Spring APS Meetings
By Michael Scanlan, Manager, APS Meetings Department
Within a month of each other the presentations at the two General APS Meetings will have touched on virtually every discipline currently in the lexicon of physics. There will be almost 6,000 talks covering everything from defects in silicon to accelerator design, from the 100 year anniversary of the discovery of the electron to the 50 year anniversary of the invention of the transistor, from new top quark results to galactic motion, from environmental physics to the possibility of life on Mars. And there will be physicists. Lots and lots and lots of them. Progress in research across the country may be seriously impaired during these events. But only briefly.
It has been observed that the growth of physics has made it impossible to keep current in the whole field. Indeed, it may not be possible to be familiar with even a large fraction of it. If one were to sit through each of these meetings, attending a talk whenever one was available, one would still only see two percent of the programs. This, of course, would leave no time to renew old acquaintances, make new ones, discuss what you've heard, get lunch, call the office, or even present your own talk.
Nobel Prize Winners to Speak at 1997 March Meeting - The March APS Meeting is, in all probability, the largest physics meeting in the world, with an anticipated attendance of 5,000. This year it will be held 17-21 March in the Kansas City Convention Center. Among those scheduled to speak at the meeting are Nobel Prize in Physics winners Robert C. Richardson, Douglas Osheroff, and David Lee, who received the prize in 1996 for their discovery of superfluidity in He3. At this writing, it appears that two (Robert F. Curl, and Richard E. Smalley) of the three winners (Harold W. Kroto being the third) of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry will also be speaking. They were awarded the Nobel for their discovery of fullerenes (C60). The APS had previously awarded the International Prize for New Materials to the trio in 1992, cleverly anticipating the Nobel committee. There will also be a special session on the 50th anniversary of the transistor. The complete program of the 1997 March Meeting is now available on the APS Home Page,under "Meetings". As usual, tutorials and short courses in a variety of subjects are offered just prior to the meeting. The housing and preregistration forms can be downloaded from the home page in a pdf format. The registration deadline is 14 February. The final announcement is in this month's issue of APS Meeting News.
Joint April APS/AAPT Meeting & CAM'97 with DAMOP in DC - The Joint APS/AAPT April Meeting will be truly enhanced this year as the Canadian Association of Physics (CAP), the Sociedad Mexicana de Fmsica (SMF), and the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP) will join the traditional participants as the meeting returns to its former home in the District of Columbia. The meeting had successful road trip to Indianapolis in 1996, and we are looking forward to continued success with its return to Washington in 1997 with an especially unique program. The complete program should be available on the APS Home Page by 14 February. There will be an increased emphasis on programming from our neighbors both to the north and south. An international reception for all meeting attendees will be held at the Smithsonian Institution Saturday evening. DAMOP will be holding its annual meeting in conjunction with the Joint Meeting, so we anticipate a record turnout. The program represents a broad spectrum of physics disciplines and an opportunity to hear physics outside of one's specialty, including nuclear physics, particles and fields, astrophysics, chemical physics, instrument and measurement science, few body systems, computational physics, plasmas, beams, fundamental constants, gravitation, and applied physics. There will be a special Tri-Divisional Colloquia on the apparent fossil evidence of life on Mars. The APS Forums will also be providing programing in the areas of physics and society, education, international physics, and, especially the history of physics, this year being the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the electron (a fairly important particle).
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