APS News

Open Letter to APS Members on Openness of Scientific Exchange From Jerry Friedman

Jerome Friedman
Jerome Friedman

The American Physical Society has as its core mission the advancement and diffusion of physics. We have long championed the principle that science is universal and that open exchange among scientists is essential for advancing science. As physicists, we all speak the same language and have the same objective - to understand the physical world. The laws of nature that we uncover transcend national borders. The remarkable achievements of physics are the product of the world community, and we owe an immense debt of gratitude to physicists from many nations.

The APS Council resolution adopted on 21 May 1999 states that "Any negative characterization of scientists on the basis of ethnic or national origins is destructive to science and American values." As a deeply held general principle, the APS deplores actions by government or any other institution that target individuals on the basis of ethnicity or national origins. Over the course of many years, the contributions of immigrant scientists, foreign students, and visitors from many nations have enriched our knowledge and culture and improved the quality of our lives.

We are also deeply concerned about actions that impede the free communication of unclassified work in the international community. Especially distressing to us are restrictions on international scientific exchanges. Science can only flourish in an atmosphere of openness.

The American Physical Society takes pride in and derives strength from its internationally diverse membership. I want to reaffirm the Society's commitment to the universality of science and express anew our immense appreciation for the invaluable contributions of our colleagues from around the world.

With my best wishes,
Jerome Friedman
1999 President, APS

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette