APS News

Meeting Briefs

The weekend of October 19‑20 was a busy one for APS regional sections, five of which held their annual fall meetings during that time. To wit:

The APS Texas Section held its annual fall meeting at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Harvard University’s Dudley Herschbach kicked off the meeting with a talk on Einstein’s theory of specific heats, followed by Stanford University’s Douglas Osheroff, who discussed how advances in science are made. Other invited topics included the physics of diving (in both English and Spanish), industrial physics, new prospects in high energy and nuclear physics, and film absorption on carbon nanotube bundles. Fred Jerome and Roger Taylor were the after‑dinner banquet speakers, with a presentation on Eintsein’s views on race and racism. The talk was followed by a trip out to the Texas A&M Observatory so attendees could participate in some night sky observations.

The APS Ohio Section held its annual fall meeting at Miami University of Ohio in Oxford, Ohio, organized around the theme of doing front‑line research with undergraduate students. Invited speakers included Elizabeth McCormack of Bryn Mawr, who discussed student learning and development in photo‑physics research, while MU’s William Rauckhorst talked about how he is creating a research–rich curriculum at that institution. Rainer Grobe discussed undergraduate physics research at Illinois State University, and Bethel University’s Richard Peterson rounded out the invited talks by discussing student and faculty perspectives on advanced laboratory experiences. Following Friday evening’s banquet, Susan Marie Frontczak performed her one‑woman drama, “A Living History of Marie Curie.”

The APS Northeastern Section held its annual fall meeting at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut. The technical program focused on the theme of carbon in the 21st century and featured invited talks on carbon nanotubes, fullernes and graphene, as well as presentations on the physics of music and global warming.  

Friday evening’s banquet speaker was Harold Kroto of Florida State University, who spoke about architecture in nano‑space. The meeting was held in conjunction with the UC‑Storrs Institute of Science Bio‑Nanotechnology Conference, which was held just prior to the kickoff of the NES meeting, and featured talks on carbon nanotube FET‑based biosenors, CNT interactions with biological systems, and using CNTs to better amplify cancer biomarkers for ultra‑sensitive immunodetection.

The APS Four Corners Section held its annual fall meeting at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. In addition to plenary talks on such topics as quantum key distribution, the history of Lowell Observatory, and quantum mechanics and the equivalence principle, there were numerous invited talks on subjects ranging from gravitational waves, path integral simulations for nanoelectronics, and helium in metals, to meteors, single molecule electronics, and polar oxide interfaces. Friday evening’s keynote banquet speaker was William Stoeger of the Vatican Observatory, who discussed the mutually beneficial interaction of science and religion in contemporary society. The meeting also featured a tour of the historic Lowell Observatory.

Finally, the APS New York State Section held its annual fall meeting at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, organized around the theme of geographical and astrophysical perspectives on the structure and formation of planets. Speakers addressed such topics as impact craters on Venus and Mars, shock waves in protoplanetary disks, terrestrial and planetary radio emissions, and meteorites as evidence for solar system formation. Friday evening’s banquet was followed by a public lecture featuring Robert Zubrin of Pioneer Astronautics, author of The Case for Mars, who spoke on the prospects for human travel to the “Red Planet” within the next 10 years.

Daring to be different, the APS California Section held its annual fall meeting the following weekend, October 26‑27, at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Invited speakers included Steve Chu and George Smoot, both Nobel laureates and both affiliated with LBNL, who spoke about the promises and challenges of biofuels and cosmology, respectively. Donald Glaser of University of California, Berkeley, discussed how noise helps vision, while UC Santa Barbara’s Walter Kohn spoke on solar power, and Hope Ishii of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory gave a talk on comet dust.