APS News

Outreach and Community Service I

To Advance & Diffuse the Knowledge of Physics

100 Years of the American Physical Society

Herman Feshbach with Elena Bonner, Andrei Sakharov, and Alexi Semenov, Moscow, 1987.
Herman Feshbach with Elena Bonner, Andrei Sakharov, and Alexi Semenov, Moscow, 1987.
The ferment of the Viet Nam era and the concomitant rise in social consciousness propelled APS into community service. New programs reflected contemporary issues:
  • human rights
  • diversity
  • employment
  • education
  • government relations

These programs for physicists and the public augmented the Society's ongoing work of advancing the knowledge of physics.

Human Rights

In the last thirty years, many members of the Society have decried violations of the human rights of dissident scientists in the Soviet Union, China, and elsewhere. Today, the APS Committee on International Freedom of Scientists fights injustice wherever found.


Two new committees improved the climate for women and under-represented minorities in physics. The Committee on the Status of Women in Physics helped to triple the fraction of those entering physics that were women. The Committee on Minorities established a scholarship and mentoring program that has enabled dozens of students to pursue physics training.


Rumors of physicists driving taxis or bartending were rampant during the job crisis of the late 1960s and 1970s. This led to a precipitous drop in physics PhDs. In response, the APS offered career counseling and improved placement services.

With the creation of the Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics in 1995, APS recognized the increasing fraction of physicists employed outside of academe.

Curator: Sara Schechner Genuth, Gnomon Research
Exhibit Director: Barrett Ripin
APS History: Harry Lustig
Journals History: R. Mark Wilson
Researchers: George Trigg, Ruth Kastner, Steven Norton, Amy Halsted
Exhibit Design: Puches Design Inc.
Fabrication: Malone Displays

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Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette