APS News

In Brief

The APS Texas Section held its annual fall meeting 9-11 October 1997 at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. It was held jointly with the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and Zone 13 of the Society of Physics Students. Friday and Saturday morning featured plenary talks by distinguished speakers on such topics as the application of small accelerators for industrial problems, nonlinear dynamics, industry and physics, quantum optics, atomic physics, novel semiconducting materials, and a status report on materials science in metroplex. This year the meeting was preceded on October 9 by a joint colloquium on ion beam and surface interactions co-sponsored by the Texas Section and the Greater Southwest Implant Users Group. The program was designed to explore several issues in the applied physics of ions at and on semiconductor surfaces, an area of interest for many industrial and academic members of these two groups. The colloquium featured invited talks by representatives from Sandia National Labs, Texas Instruments, Advanced Micro Devices, and Applied Materials.

The APS Ohio Section held its fall meeting that same weekend at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, organized around the theme, "Curriculum Development: Beyond the Introductory Course." The meeting was held in conjunction with AAPT's Southern Ohio Section. Invited presentations on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning were featured, covering such topics as using computer simulation to visualize physics concepts; a look at advanced undergraduate laboratories at Miami University; contemporary laboratory experiences in astronomy; and the A-O modulator in undergraduate optical measurements. Friday evening featured an after-dinner lecture by Eugene Hecht of Adelphi University entitled, "Physical Optics in the Everyday World."

Later in the month, the APS New York State Section held its annual fall meeting, 17-18 October, at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. On Friday afternoon, participants heard lectures on general relativity and particle physics, focusing on such issues as quantum gravity and the unity of physics, the discovery of the electron, and the discovery of the top quark. Friday evening's banquet featured an after-dinner lecture by Mary Crone of Skidmore College on "The Scientific Takeover of Cosmology." Saturday morning began with a session on xrays and superconductivity, including such topics as the development of computed tomography, modern use of xrays in diagnostic imaging, and superconductivity in molecular conductors. The meeting closed with an overview of physics at the end of the 20th century by Sam Schweber of Brandeis University, as well as a presentation by MIT's Jed Buchwald on "The Death of the Ether and the Birth of the Microworld."

Finally, the APS New England Section held its annual fall meeting 24-25 October at Air Force Phillips and Rome Laboratories in Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts. Friday afternoon's session focused on research in the US, opening with an overview on current trends in science policy by Mildred Dresselhaus of MIT, currently president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Other topics included geophysics research at the Phillips Laboratory, electromagnetics and condensed matter research at the Rome Laboratory, as well as at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and topical information storage, processing and display.

Saturday morning featured a workshop on physics in industry, with representatives from American Superconductor Corp., Raytheon Co., and Vectron Technologies, among others, presenting an overview of what their companies do and what they look for when hiring new graduates. The meeting closed with a session on marketing high technology, with talks on the development of miniature microphones and new venture start-ups and managing broad research applications. Friday evening's banquet was followed by three special presentations on creativity in physics and technology transfer, the discovery of SAW minimum diffraction cuts, and the discovery of the diode laser.

The APS is entering into a collaborative effort with the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Research to electronically deliver the full text of scientific and technical information found in journals to the desktop computer in DOE headquarters. "This initiative seeks to establish a new paradigm to ensure that the scientific and technical information intended for and contained within journal articles is available to DOE researchers in a more timely and cost-efficient manner," a formal press release announced. Traditionally, the DOE has provided such journals to its researchers in paper format. The first step in this no-cost effort is for the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) to make the DOE Electronic Journals Pilot available to DOE Germantown from 1 October of this year through 1 March 1998. The pilot is expected to serve as a mechanism to ascertain the level of interdisciplinary interest in physics based electronic journals beyond the traditional users and subscribers of paper journals. It will also determine what issues and problems exist in the delivery of this information.

Congress voted to keep the high flux beam reactor at Brookhaven closed for one year. Any restart would be delayed until after 30 September 1998. The DOE is also directed to undertake an environmental impact statement of the HFBR. It can not be predicted at this time whether the reactor will be restarted. (See report on Bromley's letter to Congress on page 1.)

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin