Letter from the Chair

February, 2016

Dear Fellow APS Member,

The Far West Section is one of the largest units of the American Physical Society. Sections are organized around geographical regions, and the Far West Section encompasses California, Hawaii, and Nevada. As a result, most members of our section are at home in these states. But just because you live in one of these three states does not mean that you are automatically a member of the Far West Section. In fact, our section has members from many other geographical regions; any APS member can be part of our Section. To join the Section please send an email to membership@aps.org and ask to join the Far West Section, or do it online using your APS membership credentials and clicking on the “Membership” tab. There is no fee for membership in the Far West Section.

Being a regional organization of the APS, the focus of the Far West Section is to provide a forum for members to meet and interact locally. Our annual meetings are at venues throughout the region: At Cal State Long Beach in 2015, at the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2014, and this year's meeting will be at the University of California, Davis, in October 2016. Because the meetings are locally organized and held, they are low cost and relatively easy to reach. Yet the science presented at our annual meetings is world-class!

Think of our meetings as a more intimate, smaller version of the APS March meeting. It's a chance to meet fellow physicists from disciplines and institutions very different from your own and to get an update on what's happening across many fields.

The Far West Section has a strong focus on providing an opportunity for students to attend a scientific meeting and present their work. For many students, especially for undergraduate students, it will be the first time that they present their work in a professional, APS-style meeting. The Far West Section encourages participation by offering student presenters free, shared rooms at local venues, subsidized registration and travel, and a chance to network with established physicists, including those who are giving the invited talks. The Far West Section gives out awards to the best presentations by undergraduates, graduates, and postdocs. For a list a past winners click on the “Awards” tab on the left.

Sections also foster communication between the local industrial and academic APS members. We have an increasing presence of local industry at our annual meetings who are looking for candidates wanting to join their company. We very much welcome local physics teachers and members of the AAPT to our meetings. Many retired physicists have discovered our meetings to be a great way to stay in touch with their peers without traveling long distance.

For those of you who want to be even more active in the Section, we offer many ways to do so. If you are interested in serving as one of the officers of the Section, or wish to nominate someone else, please contact me or Vice-Chair Hendrik Ohldag (SLAC); both of us are on this year's Nominating Committee. Very importantly, vote during our elections!

If you wish to make suggestions for invited speakers, contact Chair-Elect Andreas Bill (Cal State Long Beach) and Past Chair Doug Singleton (CSU Fresno) who are part of this year's Program Committee. Contact us also, if you wish to host one of the Section's meetings at your institution. There is no better way to make the meeting even more local!

Your membership strengthens the Far West Section also in another, utterly crucial way. The APS provides funds to the section proportional to its membership level. Thus, even though there is no cost for you to join the Far West Section, your membership enables everything the section does.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you who are contributing to the health of our Section by being a member. See you at one of our meetings or get in touch with us electronically. Our contact information is given in the “Executive Committee” tab on the upper left of this page.

With greetings from the Far West,

Peter Beiersdorfer
Physics Division
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Livermore, CA 94550