The APS Committee on the Status of Women in Physics and the Forum on History of Physics are co-sponsoring the creation of an historical archive, compiling an electronic collection of citations of women who have made original and important contributions to physics in the 20th century. The project is part of plans for the celebration of the 1999 Centenary of the APS. Nina Byers, UCLA, is directing the project. The APS Council's Executive Board has allocated funds to help pay for the project. UCLA, where the web-site is located, has also provided funds. There turned out to be far more contributions than even the originators of the project realized. So far 167 scientific biographies have been collected and 29 are ready for viewing on the project's Website. Citations include brief descriptions of the contributions documented with references to published papers, as well as some biographical information.
The recent energy study conducted by the APS Panel on Public Affairs, which provided the background materials for the APS Council statement on energy ("Energy: the Forgotten Crisis"), is now available on the World Wide Web. Included are text of background papers written by individual members of the POPA Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. At this point, they reflect the views and perspectives of the authors and not necessarily those of POPA or the APS. Topics include a summary of the current energy situation; a look at kinds of energy supplies, such as fossil energy, nuclear fission energy and renewable energy; an overview of energy use trends, and transportation and energy issues; and other considerations, including climate change, DOE's R&D priorities, pedagogic energy modeling, and energy units. The summary of the energy study is available at the same site.
The National Science Foundation is instituting new merit review criteria for all grant proposals beginning October 1, 1997. The new criteria were drafted by a special task force formed by the NSF and the National Science Board to suggest changes to the review criteria, which have not been revised since 1981. The task force presented draft criteria to the scientific and engineering community for public comment in November 1996, and the subsequent revised version was approved by the National Science Board in March. Specifically, the task force reduced the number of criteria reviewers must consider from four to two: the intellectual merit of the proposed activity, and its broader impacts. Each of the criteria has a set of related questions to help reviewers evaluate the proposals. Reviewers are asked to provide separate comments for each criterion, a single composite rating of the proposal, and a summary recommendation that addresses both criteria. The task force believes that "adoption of the new criteria will facilitate, clarify, and simplify the proposal evaluation process."
Two APS fellows were among seven winners of the 1996 E.O. Lawrence Award, established in 1959 to honor the memory of the late Dr. Ernest Orlando Lawrence, who invented the cyclotron and after whom two major DOE laboratories are named. The award is given in seven categories for outstanding contributions in the field of atomic energy. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Washington, DC, this spring; winners will each receive a god medal and $15,000. APS member Thomas H. Dunning, Jr., a theoretical chemist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is being honored in the Chemistry category for his electronic structure calculations on molecules, which has been applied in laser technology, combustion chemistry and environmental chemistry. Sunil K. Sinha, an engineer at Argonne National Laboratory, will receive the award in the Materials Research category for developing new techniques for using x rays and neutron scattering to learn new details about the structure of many materials.