APS News

APS Role in the Federation of Materials Societies

The APS joined the Federation of Materials Societies (FMS) in 1995. The FMS is an umbrella organization of societies and affiliates which are involved with materials science, engineering, and technology. Its purpose is to aid the materials community to obtain and exchang information with policies makers.

The APS is officially represented in the FMS by the Divisions of Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Physics. Donald Gubser, Naval Research Laboratory, is an APS liaison to the FMS as well as Sectretary-Treasurer of the Division of Condensed Matter Physics. He reported on APS environmental activities at the last FMS workshop such as APS statements on enviornmental issues (which can be found on the APS home page under the Public Affairs and POPA buttons) and meeting symposia. An example of the latter was the Waste is a Terrible Thing to Mind session at the March Meeting.

According to Gubser, the strength of materials research and engineering lies in their interdisciplinarity and in the fact that there is a continuity of activities from fundamental science through engineering, applications, processes and commercial products. The result, however, is that segments of the materials community often find it difficult to discuss common problems, priorities and policies.

The FMS, founded more than 20 years ago, represents 17 member professional societies and three affiliate and two liaison members. These organizations, in turn, have more than 700,000 members. The FMS has been a leader in crystallizing policies in subjects ranging from: materials and resource conservation, materials processing and synthesis, materials and national competitiveness, and delineation of unique features of materials science and engineering.

The FMS sponsors periodic workshops, a biennial meeting on matters of materials policy, and issues reports, white papers, and recommendations for actions. Recently completed reports include "Impact of the new Congress on Materials Policy" (March 1995), "Technology Policy Recommendations from the FMS" (January 1995), and "Materials Agenda for the 21st Century: Policies, Priorities, Payoffs" (June 1996).

Most recently FMS held a workshop to document the current activities underway in FMS member societies and to provide an insight into innovative approaches to the environmental improvement field.

The FMS does several other things for the materials community. FMS members participated in a "Science and Technology Congressional Visits Day" where meetings with decision makers in congress and their staff took place. Similarly, the FMS joined with 45 other scientific societies (including the APS) in calling on the Federal government to reverse the decline in U.S. investment in science.

For more information on the FMS, contact Betsy Houston at betsyhou@ix.netcom.com or Donald Gubser at gubser@anvil.nrl.navy.mil.

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin