APS News

Meeting Briefs

Four Corners Section, October 4-5 2002.
The APS Four Corners Section held its annual fall meeting at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Friday afternoon's speakers gave presentations on compact soft x-ray lasers, manipulating single electrons at the surface of silicon dioxide, and thermodynamics of URu2Si2. The banquet on Friday evening featured a keynote address by Nagin Cox of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the Galileo mission to Jupiter. Saturday afternoon featured two sessions on physics research in the Four Corners region, which encompasses Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Topics included the use of SQUID sensors in both biological and non-biological applications, challenges in regional physics education, measuring ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, and nanothermodynamics in condensed matter. Also on Saturday was a grad student pizza forum on conducting graduate thesis research at the DOE national laboratories, and a memorial session on the history of cosmic ray research in Utah.

Texas Section, October 10-12 2002.
The APS Texas Section held its annual meeting at the University of Texas at Brownsville and the Texas Southmost College, both in Brownsville, TX. Invited plenary lectures covered a broad range of topics, including QCD, strings and black holes; recent results in solar neutrino physics; charmed baryon spectroscopy at CLEO; photonic crystal nanostructures and left-handed materials; grids for data intensive science; and the search for gravitational waves using LIGO. Friday evening's banquet speaker was Ramon Lopez of the University of Texas at El Paso, and former director of education and outreach for the APS, who spoke about the current state in physics education. Along with the APS program, the AAPT offered several workshops for teachers.

New York Section, October 11-12 2002.
The APS New York Section held its annual fall meeting at Syracuse University on the topic of new horizons in gravity and astrophysics. Experts in the field discussed new developments in gravitational physics and astrophysics in presentations designed to be tutorial in nature and aimed at a general interest level. Topics covered included the search for gravitation waves; particle cosmology; extra dimensions; microquasars; the search for dark matter; detecting the cosmic microwave background radiation; astrochemistry; and matter and radiation in superstrong magnetic fields. Friday evening's banquet speaker was Sean Carroll, a professor of the University of Chicago, who spoke on the possibilities for dark energy, providing an overview of theoretical proposals and a summary of the observation constraints which any model must satisfy.

Ohio Section, October 18-19 2002.
The APS Ohio Section held its annual fall meeting at the Ohio State University in Columbus. The sessions on Friday featured talks on such subjects as recent results from the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search project, surface photovoltage spectroscopy of single crystal zinc oxide, and two talks on the development of detectors for, and Monte Carlo simulation of, Compton cameras, a novel device for medical imaging. Friday evening's banquet speaker, Sydney Meskov, spoke on large gravity wave detectors. One Saturday morning session focused on string theory, including such topics as the production of black holes by cosmic rays; mass, inertia and geometry; and using flat-spacetime estimators to estimate the manifold dimension of causal sets that can be embedded into curved spacetimes.

New England Section, October 25-26 2002.
The APS New England Section held its annual fall meeting at Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, MA, a regional comprehensive public college. Speakers at the invited sessions spoke on such topics as the dynamics of star formation; the scale of the universe before parallax; solar variability and climate change; and the development of tabletop probes for TeV physics. Because the meeting was held jointly with the AAPT, there was an increased number of workshops on physics teaching, as well as a panel discussion for new teachers and a session devoted to favorite labs and classroom demonstrations. There were also two banquets on Friday and Saturday night. The keynote speakers, respectively, were Neil de Grasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, who discussed recent controversy over the classification of Pluto in the solar system; and Paul Hewitt, author of several textbooks and the popular "Hewitt Drewit" column in The Physics Teacher, who gave a talk on teaching physics as a study of nature's rules to make it relevant to general audiences.

Southeastern Section 2002, October 31-November 2 2002.
Finally, the APS Southeastern Section held its annual fall meeting at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. The three-day technical program included invited sessions on plasma physics, materials science, astronomy and astrophysics, atomic physics, nuclear physics and biophysics. Friday afternoon featured a session on teaching and outreach, detailing several educational programs in the region, and the evening banquet featured a keynote address by popular science writer Hans Christian von Baeyer of the College of William and Mary. There were also two sessions on present and future user facilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, including planned upgrades to CEBAF and the Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility, as well as the Spallation Neutron Source currently under construction, and the planned Center for Nanophase Materials Science, which will integrate nanoscale research with neutron science, synthesis science and theory, modeling and simulation. The center will begin construction next year and is slated to begin operating in late 2004.

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette