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International News

New US-China Young Physicists Forum: Opportunity for Graduate Students at 2015 March Meeting

By Amy Flatten

The International News columns usually provide guest authors the opportunity to inform APS members of events at the intersection of international affairs and physics. Here, however, I want to inform APS members of an exciting new initiative, led by the APS Office of International Affairs: the “U.S.-China Young Physicists Forum” (YPF), to be held February 28 and March 1, 2015, in San Antonio, Texas (the weekend before the 2015 APS March Meeting). The event is cosponsored by APS and the Chinese Physical Society (CPS), as part of a larger effort to strengthen communication and collaboration between the US and Chinese physics communities. We hope you will encourage your graduate students to participate, and to visit www.aps.org/international for application details.

Leaders of both APS and CPS have underscored the importance of building connections among younger scientists, and have been enthusiastic about creating joint programs for graduate students from their respective countries. The APS March Meeting, which attracts 9,000-10,000 physicists worldwide, provides an ideal venue for bringing together graduate students from the United States and China for a combination of science-focused sessions with career development and networking opportunities. Because many graduate students from China will already plan to attend the 2015 March Meeting in San Antonio, APS and CPS will hold the U.S.-China YPF the weekend before the March Meeting begins. The program will especially encourage participation by US graduate students who have had little or no experience in China.

The U.S.-China YPF will span a day and a half, with approximately 30 graduate students from each country. It will be modeled after the biennial Canadian-American-Mexican Physics Graduate Student Conferences (CAM) that APS has co-sponsored since 2003, with the help of funding from the National Science Foundation. The YPF’s scientific sessions will focus upon two of the major physics sub-disciplines addressed at the March Meeting: condensed matter physics and materials physics. Through special topical and technical sessions, the forum will provide graduate students from the United States and China with:
  • plenary physics sessions with US & Chinese senior scientists
  • research presentations by participating US and Chinese students during parallel and poster sessions
  • networking and social events with leaders in condensed matter physics, materials physics, and VIP’s from APS and CPS
  • career-development discussions on publishing in peer-reviewed journals and on careers outside of academia

Much like the CAM conferences, senior physicists will present their research in condensed matter physics and materials physics, followed by parallel sessions with the graduate students themselves presenting to each other.

Perhaps most exciting, a poster-session/networking-reception will allow students to discuss their research with not only their international peers, but also with leaders in condensed matter physics and materials physics, and with dignitaries from APS and CPS. During this session, graduate students can discuss their work and connect with potential partners or mentors in a smaller, more intimate setting than the much larger March Meeting. Dignitaries from APS and CPS will award an “Outstanding Poster” prize. All graduate students will be expected to participate in a scientific session, either through presenting their research during a parallel session, or presenting a poster during the poster-session/networking-event.

Newly elected APS 2015 Vice President Laura Greene will provide a session on “Publishing in Peer-Reviewed Journals,” a session that she has given to international audiences of young scientists around the globe. In addition to the scientific presentations and poster session, two panel discussions focused upon professional development and career-building will be tailored to both US and Chinese graduate student interests. These include: “Careers Outside of Academia in the U.S. and China,” and “Life as a Graduate Student in the U.S. and China.”

The plenary and parallel scientific sessions will provide the YPF participants with an expanded view of physics beyond their own classrooms, laboratories, and nation. The panel discussions and networking opportunities will broaden their perspectives on career opportunities outside of academia, and will allow deeper insights into each country’s scientific culture and approaches toward scientific research and international partnerships.

Likewise, the relationships formed at this conference have the potential to last throughout the participants’ professional lives. As the YPF participants are likely to continue attending the annual APS March Meeting, or other international conferences in condensed matter physics and materials physics, they can maintain connections and continue sharing their research over the years. Consequently, the YPF has the potential to lead to many fruitful interdisciplinary and/or international networks and collaborations throughout the participants’ careers.

Through this combination of scientific, career development, and networking opportunities, the U.S.-China Young Physicists Forum will allow students to connect with peers and network with eminent scientists in condensed matter physics and materials physics from the United States and China. Moreover, it will foster an appreciation for international scientific collaboration among young physics researchers, and promote long-term connections among graduate students from the two countries. These early insights will prepare both U.S. and Chinese physics students for future scientific leadership and international scientific partnerships.

More information regarding application submission, registration, and the program will be available at the Office of International Affairs web page. In the meantime, I ask APS members to share news of the U.S.-China Young Physicists Forum with their colleagues in condensed matter physics and materials physics, and to please encourage graduate students in condensed matter and in materials physics to participate. Please feel free to contact me at Flatten@aps.org with any additional questions.

The author is Director of International Affairs for the American Physical Society.


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