APS News

In Brief

A tentative program for the centenary celebration of the APS, to be held 20-26 March 1999 in Atlanta, Georgia, was presented to the APS Council at its April meeting. Plans currently include a symposium on the global impact of 20th century physics, two plenary sessions on the contributions and future of physics, and as many as 30 centennial symposia organized by individual APS units. Special events contemplated for the centennial include a Nobel Prize exhibit and dinner at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History honoring Nobel Laureates in attendance, a ceremonial dinner with a keynote address on the cultural impact of physics in the 20th century, physics exhibits and other events for students, teachers and the public throughout the week.

A number of special projects are also under development to commemorate the event. For example, the APS is developing a centennial speakers booklet containing a list of individuals willing to give interesting colloquia with an emphasis on the historical, social, cultural and political impacts of physics. The list will cover a broad range of topics and include speakers from around the country and from academia, government, and industry. The booklet will be distributed to all physics departments and other interested institutions in the spring of 1998. A wall chart is being designed to point out highlights of physics advances of the past century. The wall chart, which will be quite large, four feet by twenty-seven feet, will be given to all high schools in the U.S. as a gift. In addition, the APS and AIP are jointly working to produce a coffee table book intended to capture the essence of 20th century physics, designed for the general public and distributed through commercial bookstores. Anyone with wonderful pictures of physics related activities should contact APS Executive Officer, Judy Franz.

At its April meeting, the APS Executive Board approved a request by the APS Committee on Minorities (COM) to provide $5,000 to support an on-line archive of minority physicists, similar to the archive under development on contributions of 20th century women to physics. The site will be implemented at Hampton University. According to Cynthia Keppel, a COM member and professor at Hampton University who will be responsible for the archive, the APS funds will go toward purchasing a computer to house the website and providing a small stipend for a part-time student to help maintain the site, adding links, upgrades and managing any paperwork required to back up research reports. Hampton will hire a consultant at no cost to the APS to design the site, and will send out an initial call for submissions. The university's local Society of Physics Students club and its advisor (Keppel) will help research the submissions.

In 1993, APS Council approved a motion to include the presidents or designees of certain foreign physical societies at Council meetings as international advisors. The original group included the Canadian Association of Physics (CAP), the European Physical Society, The Physical Society of Japan (JPS) and the Sociedad Mexicana de Fisica (SMF). This policy was revised last year. CAP and SMF, neighboring societies, will have permanent advisor status. But beginning this year, the president of the APS designates additional international advisors on an annual basis for his or her term of office. In addition to the presidents of CAP and SMF, APS President D. Allan Bromley invited the current president of the Chinese Physical Society (CPS), Dr. Chen Jia-er, and the president of JPS, Dr. Fumiko Yonezawa, to participate at Council at both the April and November 1997 sessions.

The median physicist is 46 years old and makes $65,000 a year, according to a report issued in April by the AIP Education and Employment Statistics Division, entitled, "Society Membership Survey: Salaries 1996." Those who work at federal labs made the most (median $78,500), even more than in industry (median $77,000); those at 4-year colleges made the least, with a median of $49,200. Geographically, median salaries ranged from $70,000 (Pacific states) to $56,200 (East South Central). New PhD's earn $31,000 at universities and $39,600 at federal labs. Salaries for female physicists who have earned their PhD in the past 10 years are comparable to salaries for male physicists with similar experience. A copy of the report can be obtained from the AIP Education and Employment Statistics Division, 301-209-3069.

The American Institute of Physics has signed an agreement with Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. under which Springer will publish and distribute AIP Press books worldwide. Springer will build upon its physics book publishing programs by this new addition. Under this agreement, Springer acquired the AIP Press current and backlist titles and will distribute them internationally under the dual logos of Springer and AIP Press.

Nine new members of the National Science Board (NSB) were confirmed by the Senate in May, and were sworn in by Jack Gibbons, President Clinton's science advisor. The newly confirmed members include: John A. Armstrong; Mary K. Gaillard; M.R.C. Greenwood; Stanley V. Jaskolski; Eamon M. Kelly; Jane Lubchenco; Vera C. Rubin; Bob Suzuki; and Richard Tapia. The National Science Board was established by Congress in 1950 to serve both as an independent national science policy body and to oversee and guide activities of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The board consists of 24 members and the NSF director, who is an ex-officio member. Members serve six-year terms.

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin