The Physicists are Coming! The Physicists are Coming!
A special feature of the March Meeting will be a symposium on "Emergent Physics at the Mesoscale" sponsored by the Kavli Foundation, taking place on Wednesday afternoon, February 29. The symposium aims to initiate a dialogue to define scientific opportunities at the Mesoscale for the next decade. Among the speakers will be two Nobel laureates, Robert Laughlin and William Phillips.
Special Session Looks at Sexual and Gender Diversity Issues
In addition to the scientific sessions, the 2012 March Meeting will feature for the first time an entire session devoted to addressing issues of sexual orientation and gender identity issues in physics. Historically LGBT physicists and educators have had few resources for information on the representation of gender minorities in their fields. Organizers of the session hope to draw attention to this lack of resources and highlight other issues important to the LGBT community.
Currently there is no committee in APS devoted to LGBT-related issues, so the APS committees on minorities and the status of women in physics both contributed time to make Tuesday’s special session happen. According to the session’s organizers, issues to be addressed include employment protections against discrimination, further research on the subject, and advocacy of gender minorities in physics. Previous meetings have had smaller forums on the subject, usually held as informal evening discussions organized by Elena Long of Kent State University.
Speakers at the session include Sue Rankin from Penn State University, who is co-author of the 2010 survey “State of Higher Education for LGBT People”; Michael Ramsey-Musolf of the University of Wisconsin; Janice Hicks of NSF, who helped found the American Chemical Society’s Gay and Transgender Chemists and Allies professional subdivision; and doctoral student Elena Long who also founded the website LGBT+ Physicists.
The session will conclude with an open panel discussion on empowering gender minority people in physics and research. Ted Hodapp, APS’s director of education and diversity, will join in the discussion. Later in the meeting there will be a networking reception for people interested in the issues.
On the Saturday before the start of the meeting, DPOLY will host a short course on the applications of polymers in industry. The NSF-sponsored Professional Skills Development Workshop, a day-long seminar for women physicists to better develop communication and negotiation skills, will be held on Sunday. Also on Sunday, pre-meeting tutorials will take place all day on subjects ranging from topological insulators and spintronics to graphene and the physics of cancer.
At Monday afternoon’s Ceremonial Session, the APS President will present prizes and awards recognizing the achievements of physicists who have made important contributions to their field. The award session segues into the meeting’s welcome reception where attendees can mingle and enjoy refreshments.
The DCMP/DMP/DCOMP/DCP New Fellows and Award Winners Reception will be held on Tuesday night at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. There, APS’s newest Fellows will be honored, and award recipients recognized by the divisions of Chemical Physics, Computational Physics, Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Physics.
APS is joining forces with the Society of Physics Students for Future of Physics Days on Monday and Tuesday. The days include a graduate school fair, special research sessions just for undergraduates, awards, and panels about careers and graduate schools in physics. Registration for the March Meeting is free for undergraduate students. Travel grants of up to $1,000 are available to students presenting contributed papers at the meeting.
For graduate students interested in getting to know a subject straight from an expert, Wednesday’s Lunch with the Experts can be a good opportunity to connect with professors and other authorities. Students can enjoy a boxed lunch while having an informal, freewheeling discussion with an expert on a subject of interest.
Nearly 130 organizations and companies have registered for this year’s exhibit hall, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Los Alamos National Labs and Wolfram Research. The hall will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Special wine and cheese receptions will be held in the exhibit hall on Monday and Tuesday at 4 p.m.
As always, at APS’s Contact Congress booth, attendees are invited at any time to send a letter to their members of Congress about the importance of federal research funding.
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Editor: Alan Chodos