APS News

George Trilling Elected APS Vice-President

Turner elected as chair-elect of the APS Nominating Committee; Bucksbaum, Davis, and Trefil elected as new general councillors; minor APS Constitution amendments approved.

Members of The American Physical Society have elected George H. Trilling, a professor emeritus at University of California, Berkeley and senior faculty physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to be the Society's next vice-president. Trilling's term begins on 1 January 1999, when he will succeed James Langer (University of California, Santa Barbara), who will become president-elect. Trilling will become APS president in 2001. The 1999 president is Jerome Friedman (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). [Look for our annual interview with the incoming APS president in the January 1999 APS News.]

In other election results, Michael S. Turner of the University of Chicago and Fermilab was elected chair-elect of the APS Nominating Committee, which will be chaired by Daniel Kleppner of MIT in 1999. The Nominating Committee selects the slate of candidates for vice president, general councillors, and its own chair-elect. Its choices are then voted on by the APS membership. Elected as new general councillors were Philip H. Bucksbaum of the University of Michigan; L. Craig Davis of the Ford Research Laboratory; Leon Lederman of the Illinois Institute of Technology and Fermilab; and James Trefil of George Mason University.

Several minor amendments to the APS Constitution were also approved by the membership in order to permit electronic ballots in future membership-wide elections and proposed Constitutional amendments. The Society hopes that electronic balloting will increase voter participation, lower expenses, and reduce the environmental impact generated by the mailing of paper ballots to each APS member. Confidentiality and accuracy of electronic ballots would be assured, although members preferring to vote on a paper ballot would retain that option for the foreseeable future.

Born in Poland, Trilling received his PhD in 1955 from the California Institute of Technology, joining the University of Michigan in 1957 as assistant professor of physics. Three years later he moved to the University of California at Berkeley, serving as Department Chair in 1968-72, and as Director of the Physics Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1984-87. His research is in experimental particle physics, and has included studies of hadron interactions and resonances, electron-positron annihilation at high energy, and colliding beam experiments and detectors. Within the APS, Trilling served on the Physics Planning Committee and as Chair of the Division of Particles and Fields. He is presently a DPF Divisional Councillor.

In his candidate's statement, Trilling identified the Society's general meetings, education and outreach, and communication with the membership as priorities for the APS. He supports emphasizing presentations by outstanding speakers on topics of general interest to help maintain interest in general meetings. Finding ways to make undergraduate physics education more valuable and attractive could help combat the reduced numbers of physics majors in many universities. With regard to outreach and research support, Trilling advocates working with other professional societies to play a leading role in informing the government and general public about the importance of R&D over a broad range of scientific fields, particularly emphasizing the need to recruit the active support of industrial leaders.

Finally, Trilling noted that there is too little awareness on the part of most APS members of many of the Society's activities, and improving awareness through APS News, divisional newsletters and electronic mailings could even increase membership in the Society. In summary, he praised the quality of the Society's present leadership, concluding, "It is moving effectively in response to financial, managerial, political and technical challenges, and it will be incumbent upon its future officers to maintain that momentum."

Chair-Elect of the Nominating Committee
Turner is the Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor and Chair of the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. He also holds appointments in the Department of Physics at Enrico Fermi Institute at Chicago, and on the scientific staff at Fermilab. Turner received his PhD in Physics from Stanford University in 1978, and he joined the University of Chicago that same year. He has been honored with the APS Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize. His current research interests include inflationary cosmology, big-bang nucleosynthesis, dark matter and structure formation, and the cosmic microwave background radiation. Within the APS, Turner has served on the APS Council and Executive Board, the Publications Oversight Committee, the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics, and the Committee on Committees.

In his candidate's statement, Turner emphasized the importance of maintaining the Society's leadership role on behalf of the physics community, through its research journals, education and outreach programs, and meetings. "The engine of the APS is its membership," he said. "Physicists working in a variety of settings... on exciting forefront problems in dozens of subdisciplines."

General Councillors
Bucksbaum is the Otto LaPorte Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan, and Associate Director of the NSF Center for Ultrafast Optical Science. His research is in experimental atomic physics with emphasis on the behavior of atoms and molecules in intense laser fields, and on measurements of fundamental forces and symmetries in atoms. He received his PhD degree in physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1980, joining the technical staff at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ in 1982, where he remained until moving to the University of Michigan in 1990. He has served the APS on numerous committees, and is also a Distinguished Traveling Lecturer for the Division of Laser Science.

Davis is the Manager of the Physics Department, Ford Research Laboratory. His personal research has been in electro/magnetorheological fluids, composite materials, applications of superconductivity, magnetic levitation of high-speed ground transportation, electron tunneling, atomic spectra, electron spectroscopy, resonant photoemission, and the theory of alloy semiconductors. He received his PhD in physics from Iowa State University in 1966, and joined the Ford Motor Company in 1969. Davis served APS as Chair of the Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics (FIAP) in 1997-98.

Lederman served as Fermilab Director from 1979-1989. Before that he taught and did research in particle physics at Columbia University, where he also did his graduate work. While at Columbia, he did research at the 400 MeV Synchrocyclotron, at Brookhaven National Laboratory, at CERN's Intersecting Storage Rings, at the Berkeley Bevatron and the Rutherford Lab in the UK. He is the 1965 recipient of the National Medal of Science and the 1993 Fermi Prize. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988 for his work with Mel Schwartz and Jack Steinberger on neutrinos. He has co-authored Quarks to the Cosmos with David Schramm, and The God Particle with Dick Teresi.

Trefil received his PhD in theoretical physics from Stanford University. After postdocs at CERN and MIT and a junior faculty appointment at Illinois, he joined the faculty at the University of Virginia. He assumed his current position at George Mason in 1985. His current research, carried on in collaboration with the paleontology group at the University of Chicago, involves constructing mathematical models to interpret the fossil record. His main interest is in promoting scientific literacy both inside the university and among the general public. His writing has won numerous awards, including the AAAS Science Journalism Award. He is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum and a member of the AAAS Committee on Public Understanding of Science.

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin