APS News

December 2006 (Volume 15, Number 11)

APS Establishes New Committee On Informing the Public

In June, the APS Executive Board approved the establishment of an ad hoc Committee on Informing the Public, intended to provide oversight of the Society’s public outreach and media relations activities. Committee members will also suggest possible future activities, approaches, and outreach opportunities, as well as possible external funding sources.

For the last decade, the APS has been involved in physics outreach activities designed to bring the excitement of physics to the general public, such as the Physics Central website. However, with last year’s World Year of Physics celebration, the Society’s efforts in this arena have increased substantially. For example, a new ongoing project targeting middle schools, called Physics Quest, has continued beyond the official World Year of Physics.

“A public well-informed about physics and related science is essential for the well-being both of the physics profession and society at large,” said APS Associate Officer Alan Chodos of the rationale for having such a committee. “A scientifically well-informed and appreciative public reflects itself in policy choices in Washington, and in a clear understanding of what should and should not be taught in the science classroom. Better motivated and better educated students will also go on to contribute significantly to the economic health and security of the nation.”

Chaired by Philip “Bo” Hammer, Vice President of The Franklin Institute Science Museum, the Committee on Informing the Public will review and assess the current portfolio of APS outreach activities and recommend which to expand or contract, and suggest new directions as appropriate. Since it is a new committee, the members will also draft a mission statement summing up the Society’s goals in its efforts to inform the public.

“The future of physics depends on two things: our ability to inspire the next generation of researchers, and on the generous support of tax-paying public who enable our great work,” said Hammer. “APS has a wide array of successful activities that inform children and adults about the great physics we do, but in a world of YouTube, MySpace, and i-this and i-that, we need to be much more savvy about how we compete for people's time, interest, and good favor. We hope our committee will help APS do an even better job.”

The other members of the committee include Sean Carroll (California Institute of Technology); Paul Chaikin (Princeton University); Dan Dahlberg (University of Minnesota); Lawrence Gladney (University of Pennsylvania); Laura Greene (University of Illinois); Ivan Schuller (University of California, San Diego), and Gian Franco Vidali (Syracuse University).

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
Contributing Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff

December 2006 (Volume 15, Number 11)

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Articles in this Issue
Mile-High City Will Host 2007 March Meeting
APS Kicks Off Campaign to Support Education and Outreach Initiatives
New Management Tackles Difficult Problems at Los Alamos
Apker Award Honors Three Undergrads.
Council Passes Statements on Linear Collider, Careers in Physics
Kadanoff Wins Lorentz Medal
DPP Meeting Features Latest Advances in Plasma Physics Research
APS Establishes New Committee On Informing the Public
Clarification Eases Visa Procedure
MuCap Results, Nucleon Spin Structure Highlight 2006 DNP Meeting
Meeting Briefs
Decker Finds the Physics in Building Graphite Guitars
Members in the Media
This Month in Physics History
Washington Dispatch
Zero Gravity
International News
The Back Page