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Peter J. Collings
During my year as Chair of the Forum on Education (FEd), it has become quite obvious that one strong aspect of the FEd’s activities is the high degree of interaction with other units within the American Physical Society (APS) and with other organizations involved with physics education. This is quite natural, in that many groups associated with physics have a genuine interest in the education of both future physicists and the general public. The most obvious joint endeavors are co-sponsoring invited sessions at the March and April APS meetings. Roughly half of the invited sessions the FEd organizes are jointly sponsored with other APS units. In addition, three FEd officers are members of the APS Committee on Education (CoE), and the Chair of CoE is a non-voting member of the FEd Executive Committee. As I mentioned in the last FEd newsletter, the FEd has formalized two activities with the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) that have been going on for years: (1) organization (with another APS unit) of a plenary session at the AAPT summer meeting, and (2) AAPT organization of two invited sessions at the APS April meeting. In addition, the FEd Bylaws stipulate that half of the At-Large members of the FEd Executive Committee are also AAPT members, and that one non-voting member of the FEd Executive Committee is a member of the AAPT Executive Board appointed by the President of the AAPT.
This newsletter issue represents yet another activity in cooperation with an APS unit, in this case the Forum on Graduate Student Affairs (FGSA). Educational outreach is highlighted in this issue, with the emphasis on the efforts of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and other young physics professionals. In addition, this issue features a regular column called the “Graduate Student Corner,” which will be of interest to both graduate students and FEd members interested in graduate education. Graduate students write most of the articles in this newsletter issue, and we hope that this will provide impetus for graduate students to submit newsletter articles in the future. This new direction for the FEd would not be possible without the hard work of Amber Stuver of the LIGO Livingston Observatory, who is an APS/AAPT At-Large member of the FEd Executive Committee, an APS Councilor, a member of the AAPT Committee on Graduate Education in Physics and a former FGSA Executive Committee member as an At-Large member. I want to publicly recognize Amber’s important contributions.
Peter Collings is the Morris L. Clothier Professor of Physics in the Swarthmore College Department of Physics and Astronomy. His research specialties are liquid crystals, light scattering, self-assembly of biologically important molecules, and supramolecular chemistry. He is Chair of the Forum on Education and the APS Committee on Education.