APS News

APS Launches New Web Site for the Public

Clark
Jessica Clark and the homepage of PhysicsCentral.com. (Kim Quigley/APS)

Check It Out and Tell Your Friends

APS members are urged to visit PhysicsCentral.com, and to offer their comments and suggestions. This can be done either by using the "Contact Us" button on the site, or by emailing Jessica Clark directly at clark@aps.org.

They are also urged to spread the word by inviting relatives, friends, students and anyone else with access to the web and curiosity about the physical world to visit the site.
This month APS is launching PhysicsCentral.com, a brand new web site targeted at the general public. "The site is designed to bring the importance and excitement of physics to everyone," said Jessica Clark, APS outreach specialist who is in charge of its overall management. "While the site highlights the research and activities of many APS members, PhysicsCentral is intended to reach beyond the physics community. We need our members to encourage non-physicists to visit the site as well," Clark adds.

Appearing in a magazine-like format, the site has several features that will be updated regularly. Among them is "Physics in Action," which presents a nugget of basic physics at the high-school level, and then relates it to current research. Another is "People in Physics," that highlights individual physicists, describing what they do both professionally and in their everyday lives. The site will also feature a "Picture of the Week," illustrating natural phenomena and the physicists who investigate them.

There is a news section that presents breaking news as well as features prepared by the Inside Science News Service of AIP. Those who want to know how things work can consult a weekly "Dear Lou" column contributed by University of Virginia physicist Louis A. Bloomfield, and they can ask Lou their own questions as well. A "Writers' Gallery" on the site contains short pieces by physicists who are also award-winning writers.

An annotated list of the best physics links is also available on the site, organized by audience with the help of the exclusive PhysicsCentral Buckyball user guide.

The content for the site is the responsibility of Clark, Ed Lee of the APS education and outreach department, senior media coordinator Randy Atkins, intern Richard M. Todaro, and associate executive officer Alan Chodos. The site was designed by Kimberley Quigley of the special publications department, and constructed by Joanne Fincham of APS Information Technology.

The idea for PhysicsCentral.com grew out of a report last year by a special APS task force on communicating with the public, chaired by Leon Lederman. Based on a detailed proposal presented by Michael Barnett of the University of California, Berkeley, the task force urged the APS to implement a web site for the public, pointing out that it could have a powerful impact on how the public views physics.

Clark was hired specifically to develop and maintain the site. She obtained her undergraduate degree, and is finishing her PhD in experimental nuclear physics, at the College of William and Mary. Before college, she enjoyed the peripatetic existence of a child of a US Parks Service employee, living in such varied locations as the Virgin Islands, Alaska, and the American Southwest.


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