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By Gloria B. Lubkin, Forum Chair
I have served the Forum on History of Physics (and its predecessor, the Division of History of Physics) in many capacities over its lifetime. However, when I was elected Vice Chair, I discovered that I still had a lot of learning to do.
Our most visible activity is organizing sessions for the APS March and April meetings. FHP sessions sometimes draw very large audiences, and those sessions appear to be widely appreciated by meeting attendees. We are typically allocated three invited sessions at each of those meetings; by cosponsoring sessions with other APS units we’ve generally been able to offer a larger number of them. In addition, in recent years we’ve been holding contributed sessions at both meetings. It doesn’t appear to be widely known that the Forum offers the possibility of $600 awards for partial support to students who have submitted an abstract for contributed FHP sessions. (For further information, see the FHP website)
Next year is the 50th anniversary of the first laser. To commemorate that anniversary, Dan Kleppner, Chair of the program committee, and Marty Blume, Vice Chair of the program committee, have organized sessions on the laser at both the March and "April" 2010 APS meetings. I put April in quotes because the meeting will actually be held 13-16 February (in Washington D.C.) so that it can be held jointly with the Winter meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers. (See the article by Kleppner)
Because the regular meeting of the FHP will be held February 2010, the election of new officers must be held about two months earlier than has been customary. The Nominating Committee, headed by Past Chair David Cassidy, has chosen a slate of candidates. (See the announcement of candidates) I hope you will all exercise your privilege of voting.
The Abraham Pais Prize for the History of Physics, jointly sponsored by APS and AIP, was first awarded in 2005. The first winner of the Pais Prize, Martin Klein, died in March. His death was a great loss to all who knew him and to all who knew his research. The 2010 Pais Prize Selection Committee, chaired by Laurie Brown, has selected another outstanding winner, Russell McCormmach (see the story in this issue), who will give an invited talk in March at the meeting in Portland, Oregon. The 2009 Prizewinner, Stephen Brush, will give an invited talk at the Washington meeting in February.
The FHP website has become a valuable resource, thanks to George Zimmerman's efforts. Last year he posted the invited talks given at the March and April 2008 meetings on our website, where you can find both the audio recordings and PowerPoint presentations. This year's invited talks have not yet been posted because of APS concerns about intellectual property rights, particularly for the PowerPoint presentations. However, George has posted a slide show of photos he took at the sessions. (See session reports for web addresses)
Of the 3775 FHP members, 1017 are student members of APS. With that in mind, FHP bylaws were changed and in the 2008 election a student member was elected to the FHP executive committee. He is Paul Cadden-Zimansky from Columbia University.