December 2008 Newsletter
Inside this Issue:
- FROM THE CHAIR
- DAMOP 2009: INFORMATION FROM LOCAL COMMITTEE
- DAMOP 2009: ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
- PRECISION MEASUREMENT GRANTS DEADLINE
- IUPAP YOUNG SCIENTIST PRIZE DEADLINE
- CONGRATULATIONS TO APS PRIZE AND AWARD WINNERS
- NEW APS FELLOWS
- STEVEN CHU IN THE NEWS
- CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS
- JOB OPENINGS
- DAMOP IMPROVEMENT COMMITTEE REPORT
- DAMOP 2010
Pierre Meystre, Chair
Louis F. DiMauro, Chair-Elect
Christopher Monroe, Vice Chair
William C. Stwalley, Past Chair
Carol E. Tanner, Secretary/Treasurer
Paul Julienne, Councillor
From: Pierre Meystre, The University of Arizona
A few days ago, I traveled from balmy Tucson to freezing Charlottesville to take a first look at the site of the 2009 DAMOP annual meeting. The preparations for the meeting are already in full swing, and there is no doubt that DAMOP2009 will be another great success. The conference website is already up, and will display useful information as it becomes available at http://www.damop2009.org/. In particular, it lists the most important forthcoming deadlines, including Thesis Prize nominations December 7th, applications to participate in the Special Undergraduate Session January 16th, and contributed abstracts deadline January 23rd.
In parallel to the work by the local organizers, the program committee is busy putting together an exciting series of invited and focus sessions from your proposals. These sessions will showcase the remarkable breadth of AMO science, and there will be something for everybody, from collision physics to precision measurements, from quantum information to ultracold physics, from quantum optics to high intensity and strong field science, and more.
Later in this newsletter, David Schultz discusses the changes in the DAMOP annual meeting that have been proposed by his ad hoc committee, and that have now been approved unanimously by the Executive Committee. One important change, which will become effective with the 2011 meeting, is that the conference management will be taken over by APS, so that the meeting will typically no longer be anchored to a University campus. This step is largely forced upon us by the spectacular and continued success of our field, and the concomitant growth and increased complexity of the annual meeting. Moving away from campuses is a development that has de facto already begun, for example in the recent meetings in Knoxville and Calgary. This will also be the case at the 2010 meeting in Houston, which will take place in a large hotel/conference center rather than on the Rice University campus. Many of the old timers amongst us will miss the more cozy meetings that we had been used to, and moving away form campuses is a difficult step to take, but it seems that there is no good alternative at this point.
The ad hoc committee has made a series of additional recommendations to improve and streamline the educational component of the annual meeting and to increase the role of the Executive Committee, and we will now start working toward the implementation of these steps. As many of you know, good deeds never go unpunished, so I have asked David to serve as pro tempore liaison with APS to get things started, most urgently in securing the site of the 2011 Annual Meeting. As former Secretary Treasurer, local organizer of the Knoxville DAMOP meeting, and chair of the ad hoc committee, he is uniquely qualified to take over this additional task.
Please join me in thanking David, as well as the members of the ad hoc committee, for their excellent and selfless work on behalf of the AMO community.
With my best wishes for the Holiday Season!
Annual Meeting (Charlottesville, VA, May 19-23, 2009)
The 40th meeting of the Division of Atomic Molecualr and Optical Physics (DAMOP) of the American Physical Society will be held from May 19 through May 23 in Charlottesville Virginia. The conference will be on the University of Virginia campus.
On site check-in and registration will open on Tuesday May 19, 2009 in Newcomb Hall. Some committee meetings will be held on Tuesday and the Welcome Reception will take place on Tuesday evening at 6:00 PM in Newcomb Hall.
The regular scientific sessions will begin at 8:00 AM Wednesday May 20, 2009 and extend until about 3 PM Saturday May 23, 2009. Poster sessions will take place on Wednesday through Saturday. On Thursday evening May 21, 2009, a public lecture will be given by Diandra Leslie-Pelecky of the University of Texas Dallas. The conference banquet will begin at 6:30 PM Friday May 22, 2009.
The conference web site contains further information relating to the conference.
The DEADLINE for contributed abstracts is Friday January 23, 2009. The website for contributed abstract submission is now open at: http://abs.aps.org
The sorting categories can be viewed on the web site: http://www.aps.org/meetings/unit/damop/categories.cfm
Travel to Charlottesville
It is possible to fly directly to Charlottesville on US Air, United Delta, and Northwest. However, there are far more flights to Washington Dulles and Richmond, which are 90 and 70 miles away, respectively. The organizers anticipate that buses will run from Washington Dulles to Charlottesville at the beginning of the meeting and return at the end of the meeting. Charlottesville is also served by Amtrak and the Greyhound bus.
Student Travel Support
The level of student participation at DAMOP meetings has always been a pride and joy of this division. Student travel support from NIST has been one of the most consistent driving forces that make this level of student participation possible. Student travel funds assist those who might not otherwise be able to attend. Last year over 100 students applied for support. Last year NIST granted a total of $5,000 that, combined with DAMOP resources, allowed 50 students to receive up to $500 each in travel support. Only students who submit an abstract and attend the conference can receive support. To apply for student travel support you must submit your abstract through the APS web page, then make an email request for Student Travel Support by following the instructions on the following web page: http://www.aps.org/units/damop/meetings/student-support.cfm
CALL FOR PAPERS: Special Undergraduate Session at DAMOP 2009 Meeting
There will again be a special session featuring research performed by undergraduate students. The Education Committee of DAMOP would like to encourage undergraduate students to apply for participation in this special session. From the applications received, the Committee will select up to five students to present the results of their work. Travel assistance will be available to those students selected. We welcome submissions in a wide range of topics, including AMO physics and the related areas of other fields such as chemical, plasma, condensed-matter, computational, biological, and nuclear physics. Participation is limited to currently enrolled undergraduate students, and applications from women and minority undergraduate students are strongly encouraged.
The oral presentations will be 20 minutes long, including time for discussion. Students who wish to apply should send an email to Wes Walter (email@example.com). The body of that email should include the following: (1) title, (2) authors and affiliations, and (3) a one-page summary written by the student describing the project and his/her contribution to it. In addition, as described in the next paragraph, the student should attach to this email the abstract for the paper in APS format. Finally, the student’s sponsor (mentor) should submit a separate letter of recommendation to the email address shown above. All application materials must be received no later than Friday, January 16, 2009.
For those students selected to participate in this special session, the Committee will submit the abstracts directly to DAMOP. Thus the abstracts must conform to APS style and length formats for a contributed paper. To check compliance to this format go to http://abstracts.aps.org, select “Start Abstract Submission,” designate “Test Web Abstract,” provide the information requested, and cut-and-paste the text of the abstract into the indicated box. This will display the abstract as it will appear in the program and will also show any formatting problems. Please DO NOT submit the abstract directly to DAMOP.
Any questions regarding applications to the DAMOP special undergraduate session should be addressed to: Wes Walter, chair DAMOP Education Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org .
Damop 2009-Abstract Submission
Submit your abstract through the APS web site:
The deadline for abstract submission is Friday January 23, 2009.
DAMOP 2009-Contributed Abstract Sorting Categories
Please use only the sorting categories below.
1. Atomic and Molecular Structure and Properties
1.1 Spectroscopy, lifetimes, oscillator strengths
1.2 Atomic and molecular structure, including in static fields
1.3 Fundamental symmetries and precision measurements
1.4 Focus session: Laser frequency combs and applications
2. Photon Interactions with Atoms, Ions, and Molecules
2.1 Atomic photoionization and photodetachment processes
2.2 Molecular photoionization, photodetachment, and photodissociation processes
2.3 The ultra intense laser frontier (strong field (intense laser) processes)
2.4 Short pulse (e.g., attosecond, femtosecond) processes
2.5 Focus session: Vibrational and rotational molecular coherence
2.6 Focus session: Frontiers in strong-field physics at long wavelengths
2.7 Focus session: Probing molecules with ultra-fast lasers
3. Atomic, Molecular, and Charged Particle Collisions
3.1 Atom-atom and atom-molecule collisions
3.2 Reactive scattering and recombination processes
3.3 Electron-Atom Collisions
3.4 Electron-Molecule Collisions
3.5 Collisions involving antimatter
3.6 Ion-atom and ion-ion collisions
3.7 Collisions involving clusters
3.8 Collisions involving surfaces
3.9 Focus session: Collision induced states in molecules
3.10 Focus session: Slow ion-atoms and ion-molecules collisions
4. Quantum Optics, Matter Optics, and Coherent Control
4.1 Coherent control
4.2 Atom optics
4.3 Matter wave interferometry
4.4 Quantum and/or nonlinear optics
4.5 Slowing and stopping light
4.6 Cavity QED
5. Quantum Information
5.1 Entanglement, decoherence, and error correction
5.2 Quantum cryptography and communication
5.3 Quantum computation
5.4 Quantum measurement
5.5 Focus session: Interactions between individual atoms
5.6 Focus session: Quantum measurements and tomography
6. Cold Atoms, Molecules, and Plasmas
6.1 Bose-Einstein condensates
6.2 Degenerate Fermi gases
6.3 Atoms in optical lattices
6.4 Dynamic and out-of-equilibrium phenomena in cold atoms
6.5 Ultracold collisions and photoassociation processes
6.6 Focus session: AMO realizations of condensed matter models
6.7 Laser cooling and trapping
6.8 Low temperature plasmas
6.9 Focus session: Ultracold molecules
6.10 Focus session: Fermi gases
6.11 Focus session: Spectroscopy of strongly interacting Fermi gases
7. Special Topics
7.1 Focus session: Exotic states in Rydberg atoms
7.2 Exotic atoms and molecules
7.3 Nonlinear dynamics
7.4 New experimental techniques
7.5 New theoretical methods
7.6 Applications of AMO science
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) expects to make two new Precision Measurement Grants that start on 1 October 2009. Each grant is in the amount of $50,000 per year and may be renewed for two additional years for a total of $150,000. They are awarded primarily to faculty members at U.S. universities or colleges for research in the field of fundamental measurement or the determination of fundamental physical constants.
Applications must reach NIST by 6 February 2009.
Details are on the Web at: physics.nist.gov/pmg
For further information contact: Peter J. Mohr
NIST Precision Measurement Grants Program at NIST,
Building 221, Room A255
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8420
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8420
Nominations are being sought for the Young Scientist Prize in Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) Physics which will be awarded by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics through the Commission C15 (AMO Physics) for the third time in 2009. The prize will be awarded during the XXVI International Conference on Photonic, Electronic and Atomic Collisions (XXVI ICPEAC) to be held in Kalamazoo, MI, USA, July 22 - 28, 2009. The Prize includes a medal, a EURO 1000 award and an invited presentation at XXVI ICPEAC.
The nominee is expected to have made original and outstanding contributions to the field of AMO physics. The leading personal contribution of the recipient to the achievement must be clearly identifiable when the work was performed in collaboration. Nominees for the prize should have a maximum of 8 years of research experience (excluding career interruption) following the PhD on January 1, 2009.
Nominations should include:
- A letter of not more than 1.000 words evaluating the nominee’s achievements and identifying the specific work to be recognized.
- A curriculum vitae including all publications.
- A brief biographical sketch not exceeding two pages.
Self-nominations will not be considered.
Nominations should be sent to:
Prof. J. Burgdörfer, Institute for Theoretical Physics, Vienna University of Technology, Wiedner Hauptstraße 8-10/E136, 1040 Vienna, Austria, EU
Deadline is February 1, 2009.
2009 Davisson-Germer Prize in Atomic or Surface Physics
Krishnan Raghavachari, Indiana University
Citation: "For the individual development and collaborative application of fundamental surface infrared spectroscopy and quantum chemical methods to silicon surface reactions important in microelectronics."
Yves Chabal, University of Texas, Dallas
Citation: "For the individual development and collaborative application of fundamental surface infrared spectroscopy and quantum chemical methods to silicon surface reactions important in microelectronics."
2009 Herbert P. Broida Prize
Recipient: Gustav Gerber, Universitat Wurzburg
Citation: "For the pioneering experimental realization of coherent control of molecular dynamics and chemical reactions with feedback-optimized laser pulses."
2009 I.I. Rabi Prize
Recipient: Mikhail Lukin, Harvard University
Citation: "For pioneering theoretical and experimental work at the interface between quantum optics, quantum information processing, and the quantum many body problem."
2009 Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science
Recipient: Robert E. Field, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Citation: "For pioneering development and application of multiple resonance laser spectroscopy and effective Hamiltonian models, that reveal fundamental mechanisms of chemical bond breaking, electronic rearrangement, intramolecular vibrational redistribution, and unimolecular isomerization."
2009 Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy
Recipient: Terry A. Miller, Ohio State University
Citation: "For his pioneering spectroscopic investigations of complex molecules, free radicals, and ions – especially for the development of a quantitative understanding of the Jahn-Teller effect in organic molecules."
2009 Francis M. Pipkin Award
Recipient: Zheng-Tian Lu, Argonne National Laboratory
Citation: "For development of techniques to laser cool and trap rare and radioactive atomic species; and for applications of these techniques ranging from trace isotope analysis to tests of fundamental symmetries."
Prize and award nomination packets include a substantial amount of supporting material so please do not wait until the last minute. More information on APS prizes and awards and their deadlines can be found at these web sites.
Certificates for new APS Fellows will be presented at the DAMOP 2009 banquet.
Batelaan, Herman, University of Nebraska
Citation: For outstanding contributions to electron matter optics, in particular the measurements of the Kapitza-Dirac effect and elucidation of the Aharonov-Bohm effect.
Brunger, Michael, Flinders University
Citation: For benchmark measurements of electron scattering from molecules, specifically concerning absolute collision cross sections and electron momentum spectroscopy.
Dahl, Jens , Technical University of Denmark
Citation: For his pioneering work on quantum chemistry and its interplay with Wigner phase-space including fundamental questions of quantum mechanics such as the spinning electron.
Derevianko, Andrei, University of Nevada
Citation: For elucidating the role of the Breit interaction in atomic parity non-conservation, demonstrating the importance of higher-order non-dipole corrections in low-energy photoionization, and for pioneering calculations of higher-order many-body corrections to atomic energies and matrix elements.
Dowling, Jonathan P., Louisiana State University
Citation: For major contributions to quantum optics as it pertains tot he development of the theory of atomic emission rates and nonlinear switching in photonic crystals, as well as seminal contributions to quantum metrology and imaging, especially the invention of quantum lithography.
Molmer, Klaus, University of Aarhus
Citation: For his outstanding and insightful contributions to theoretical quantum optics, quantum information science and quantum atom optics, including the development of novel computational methods to treat open systems in quantum mechanics and theoretical proposals for the quantum logic gates with trapped ions.
Mullin, Amy, University of Maryland
Citation: For innovative and significant contributions to the understanding of reactive and inelastic collisions of high energy molecules.
Porto, James V. , NIST
Citation: For seminal studies of ultra-cold atoms in optical lattices with applications to quantum information, many-body physics, and condensed matter models, and for the invention of optical lattice techniques including a super-lattice for patterned loading, and a re-configurable lattice of double wells.
Saffman, Mark, University of Wisconsin
Citation: For pioneering research on spatial pattern formation and solitons in photorefractive crystals, and neutral atom quantum information processing.
Schmelcher, Peter, Inst. for Phys Chem
Citation: For important contributions to the theory of strongly magnetized atoms and molecules, giant dipole states in combined electric and magnetic fields, and magnetic trapping of ultracold Rydberg atoms.
Skodje, Rex, University of Colorado
Citation: For fundamental theoretical studies that have resulted in a great understanding of chemical reaction dynamics.
Steinberg, Aephraim, University of Toronto
Citation: For pioneering theoretical and experimental contributions to the understanding of fundamental quantum phenomena including photon and atom tunneling and the quantum information stored in cold atomic gases.
Vane, Charles, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Citation: For the elegant experimental elucidation of charge transfer and other fundamental inelastic processes in atomic, molecular, and bulk matter systems spanning interaction energies of milli-electron volts to tera-electron volts.
Westbrook, Chris I., Institut d'Optique Graduate School
Citation: For outstanding contributions to the development of methods to laser cool atoms below the Dopler limit, for the creation of a Bose-Einstein condensate of metastable helium atoms, and for pioneering experiments in quantum optics for measuring of atom-atom pair correlations in ultracold gases.
Zatsarinny, Oleg, Drake University
Citation: For the development of the B-Spline R-matrix method with non-orthogonal orbital sets for atomic structure calculations of exceptional accuracy and benchmark calculations for excitation and ionization of complex atoms and ions by photon and electron impact.
Ziurys, Lucy M., University of Arizona
Citation: For forefront contributions in molecular spectroscopy leading to new discoveries and understanding of molecules in interstellar and circumstellar environments.
Fellowship Nominations Proceedures
DAMOP sponsors several candidates for APS Fellowship each year. The successful candidates are elected by APS Council. Chris Monroe is the new chair of the DAMOP Fellowship Committee. The next DAMOP nomination deadline is April 1, 2009. It is never too early to start preparing these nominations. Packets are submitted on-line through the APS web page. Details can be found at:
Steven Chu, Nobel Laureate (1997), APS Fellow, and member of DAMOP, has been nominated by President-Elect Barack Obama as the Secretary of Energy. As you may recall, Steve gave the public lecture at DAMOP 2008 entitled “The World’s Energy Crisis and What We Can Do About It.” As Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, his efforts to focus scientific attention on energy issues have clearly caught the eye of the political arena. Find the APS press release at: http://www.aps.org/about/pressreleases/chuappt.cfm
The XXVI International Conference on Photonic, Electronic, and Atomic Collisions (ICPEAC 2009) will take place on the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan from 22-28 July 2009. ICPEAC is a major international conference on atomic collision physics, attracting approximately 600-700 physicists from universities and national laboratories around the world. Notably, ICPEAC 2009 in Kalamazoo represents the 26th convening of the conference and marks its 50th anniversary. For more information please consult the website: https://www.icpeac2009.physics.wmich.edu/
Graduate Research Assistantships at the Joint Quantum Institute of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Maryland
The Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) was recently designated a Physics Frontiers Center by the National Science Foundation. JQI pursues research in coherent quantum phenomena that spans the traditional fields of AMO and condensed matter physics, and seeks to exploit new physics at the boundaries between them. Themes of current research include correlated and topological matter with cold atoms, supercircuits at the AMO/CM interface, and quantum optics with semiconductors and atoms. Both experimental and theoretical research are performed within the JQI, an institute governed by 26 Fellows who are members of staff of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or of the faculty of the University of Maryland.
A number of JQI graduate research asistants will be offered two year appointments, extendable to five years, starting Autumn 2009, at an initial salary of $30,000. The deadline for applications is 16 January 2009. For application information, see: http://jqi.umd.edu/working/grad.html
JQI is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and applications from women and minorities are warmly encouraged.
ITAMP Postdoctoral and Visitor Programs
The Institute for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical
Physics (ITAMP), funded by the National Science Foundation, engages in
research and welcomes researchers in all areas of theoretical atomic, molecular
and optical physics. Current topics of active interest at ITAMP include:
ultracold atomic collisions, cold molecule formation and Bose-Einstein
Condensation, few-body and long-range interactions, coherence effects in
quantum and non-linear optics, atoms and molecules in strong fields, atomic
and molecular astrophysics, quantum information science, quantum simulations
of strongly correlated systems, and atomic interactions on the nanoscopic scale.
The Institute is located at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and
the Harvard University Physics Department in Cambridge, Massachusetts
( http://itamp.harvard.edu ).
POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
One new appointment will be made
each year to support a promising
recent Ph.D. graduate to carry out
research in any area of AMO theory.
The deadline for applications is
January 2, 2009.
Salary level: $54,000/year.
LONG/SHORT-TERM VISITORS PROGRAM
The Visiting Scientist Program is an
important part of the Institute, providing
an exciting, stimulating research
environment. Applicants for long-term
visits (several months to one year) are
encouraged to apply before March 3,
2009. Applications for short-term visits
(less than several months) are
considered throughout the year.
The Institute is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and Educator.
For further information or questions regarding the above or the application procedure write
to: ITAMP Administrator, ITAMP, 60 Garden Street, MS 14, Cambridge, MA 02138,
Tel: 617-495-9524 or E-mail: email@example.com
Postdoctoral Position in Experimental Atomic Physics at Columbia University
Columbia University Astrophysics Laboratory is inviting applications for a Postdoctoral Research Scientist position in Experimental Atomic Physics. The successful candidate will join the group headed by Dr. Daniel Wolf Savin and will participate in measurements of dielectronic recombination and electron impact ionization to be carried out at the TSR heavy ion storage ring located at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) in Heidelberg, Germany. The research is being carried out in collaboration with the group of Prof. Dr. Andreas Wolf at MPIK and Prof. Dr. Alfred Mueller at Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, Germany. The first year of the position the candidate will be based in Heidelberg, Germany with travel to New York and Giessen as needed. The second year of the position will be based in New York with travel to Heidelberg and Giessen as needed. A third year is possible depending upon mutual satisfaction and the availability of funding. Screening of applicants will begin on December 10, 2008, and will continue until the position is filled.
Faculty Position in Atomic Physics at the University Of Notre Dame
The Department of Physics at the University of Notre Dame invites applications for a tenure-track professorship in atomic physics to start in August, 2009. Exceptional senior candidates may also be considered. The Department of Physics has 38 teaching and research faculty members and approximately 100 graduate students. The principal research areas of the department include astronomy/astrophysics, atomic physics, biophysics, condensed matter physics, high energy physics, nuclear physics and optical physics. More details regarding our department may be found at http://physics.nd.edu. Faculty members are expected to be effective teachers at both the undergraduate and the graduate level and to initiate and maintain vigorous research programs. Notre Dame has an active experimental and theoretical atomic physics program with strong interest in precision tests of QED, fundamental symmetries, and quantum optics. Interdisciplinary collaboration with other departments in the College of Science, Mathematics, Biological Sciences, and Chemistry and Biochemistry, as well as other Colleges, is highly encouraged at Notre Dame. Interested individuals should send a CV and arrange for three letters of reference to be sent directly to Faculty Search, Department of Physics, 225 Nieuwland Science Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Review of applications will begin December 31, 2008, though we will continue accepting applications until the position is filled. The University of Notre Dame is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity institution. Women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply.
Faculty Position in Biological Physics at the University of Notre Dame
The Department of Physics at the University of Notre Dame invites applications for a tenure-track professorship in biological physics to start in August, 2009. Exceptional senior candidates may also be considered. The Department of Physics has 38 teaching and research faculty members and approximately 100 graduate students. The principal research areas of the department include astronomy/astrophysics, atomic physics, biophysics, condensed matter physics, high energy physics and nuclear physics. More details regarding our department may be found at http://physics.nd.edu. Faculty members are expected to be effective teachers at both the undergraduate and the graduate level and to initiate and maintain vigorous research programs. Notre Dame has active programs in structural biology, molecular evolution, complex bio-materials, computational biology, bioinformatics, bioengineering, and bio-network modeling and seeks to augment this current effort with new positions in the Department of Physics. Interdisciplinary collaboration with other departments in the College of Science, Mathematics, Biological Sciences, and Chemistry and Biochemistry, as well as other Colleges, is highly encouraged at Notre Dame. Interested individuals should send a CV and arrange for three letters of reference to be sent directly to Faculty Search, Department of Physics, 225 Nieuwland Science Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or by email to email@example.com. Review of applications will begin December 31, 2008, though we will continue accepting applications until the position is filled. The University of Notre Dame is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity institution. Women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply.
As the culmination of a year-long process, the ad hoc committee on DAMOP Meeting Format and Organization Improvement submitted recommendations to the Chair of DAMOP in November, which were then approved by the Executive Committee. The objective of the committee’s recommendations is to make our Annual Meeting more enjoyable and beneficial for its participants while improving the organizers’ ability to handle the growth and increasing complexity and cost of the conference.
The process began a year ago with the formation of the committee (Scott Bergeson, Lou DiMauro, Tim Gay, Tom Killian, Jim McGuire, Marianna Safronova, and Dave Schultz) which convened via teleconference to assemble the first round of ideas. This was followed up by a call for input published in the March Newsletter and a Town Hall meeting at the Penn State DAMOP. After receiving further input from the DAMOP community throughout the summer and early autumn, the committee convened again in October to finalize its recommendations. The committee wishes to thank everyone that gave input throughout the past year as well as all the past DAMOP officers and local meeting chairs that shared with us their experiences (both joys and nightmares!) in organizing the Annual Meeting.
The most significant recommendation is for APS to manage the Annual Meeting. This has been motivated by the growth in size, complexity, and cost of the conference. APS already handles important elements of our meeting, namely abstract handling and, frequently, registration, and manages the March, April, and Division of Plasma Physics Annual Meetings. Our goal is to also allow more of the efforts of DAMOP volunteers to go toward the scientific and social programs of the meetings rather than attending to the “nuts and bolts” of running the meeting each year. As you will note from the previous Newsletter articles and much of the focus of the Town Hall meeting, the growth in the size of the meeting dictates that we use larger venues as does the growth in the number of posters, co-sponsored sessions with Topical Groups and others, committee meetings, public lectures, student activities, and other special events. APS will ably manage the meeting and help control costs, providing too a continuity and efficiency to the annual process.
Another key recommendation has been to expand the role and size of the Education Committee and the role of the Executive Committee in organizing the Annual Meeting. Perhaps unknown to many, the range of activities focused on students (or other outreach) and the amount of funds expended through several uncoordinated budgets has also significantly grown. As much as $50,000 is spent each year on these activities (student travel support, student tutorials, the Undergraduate and Thesis Prize sessions, Educators’ Day, the Public Lecture, etc.). Student attendance accounts for almost half of the total number of participants as well and it is certainly time to handle all these activities in a more coordinated and efficient manner. Therefore the committee has recommended that all the functions and individual budgets for these activities be brought together in an expanded Education Committee. Having APS manage the meeting also leads naturally to recommending that the Executive Committee play a new role in organizing the meeting. In particular, some new roles for DAMOP officers will be assigned such as Annual Meeting Liaison with APS.
The committee also received many suggestions aimed at reducing the number of parallel sessions at the Annual Meeting. At the same time, the growth in attendance dictates some way to accommodate ever more participants having contributed presentations. The committee therefore recommends reducing the number of parallel sessions and increasing the size and duration of the poster sessions. More poster slots available will help ensure that everyone that wishes to submit an abstract will be accommodated and the committee recommends using more spacious rooms for the poster sessions, allowing for community tables, wifi, and vendor displays in the same location.
Other important input from the community concerned the desire of participants to be able to make it home to spend time with their families on the weekend. The committee has therefore recommended that the Annual Meeting be held on Tuesday through half a day on Friday rather than on Wednesday through half a day on Saturday. This also makes sense because of the lack of great cost saving for airline tickets that include a Saturday night as was the case a decade ago.
Work will begin immediately to implement the recommendations. Full management by APS and change of the days of the week for the Annual Meeting will take place for the 2011 conference, but other recommendations, such as the expansion of the Education Committee and improvement in coordination of the student and outreach activities, will take place before then. It is our sincere hope that future Annual Meetings will be more efficiently and effectively organized and managed due to these changes and that participants will continue to find them the best conference that they attend each year!
Finally, it is not too early to mark your calendars with the dates of the next annual meeting: DAMOP 2010 Houston, TX, 25-29 May 2010.