FHP-Sponsored Sessions at the 2012 March and April Meetings

By David L. Huber

The FHP Program Committee has assembled what we hope will be engrossing and unusual sessions for the upcoming APS meetings in Boston (February 27-March 1) and Atlanta (March 31- April 2). You will find detailed listings below of all the talks and speakers, with their dates, times, and rooms. Let me just give a few highlights.

In the March session, we have decided to honor the 150th anniversary of Maxwell's formulation of his equations for electromagnetism by assembling three eminent authorities (Francis Everitt, Bruce Hunt, and Jed Buchwald) to speak about the discovery, propagation, and application of these equations, followed by two Nobel laureates, Roy Glauber and Frank Wilczek, who will look back at Maxwell's equations from our present point of view. This year marks the centenary of Edward Purcell, whose seminal work brought NMR into the world and transformed radio astronomy, among other signal accomplishments as teacher and researcher. To consider his scientific legacy, we will hear several of his closest collaborators speak about the discovery of NMR (Nicolaas Bloembergen), Purcell's work in biology (Howard Berg), his contributions to radioastronomy (Harold Ewen), his involvement advising the government (Richard Garwin), and (very much not least) his immense influence as a teacher (John Rigden). Finally, we will have a session on the history of metrology, with the new developments in the SI at the forefront, addressed by five eminently qualified speakers. Robert Crease, who has organized this session, will begin with the history of the quest for absolute standards, followed by Terry Quinn (on the early years of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures), James E. Faller (on measurements of g and G), Howard P. Layer, Sr. (frequency measurements of visible light at NBS/NIST), and Richard Steiner (on Planck's constant measurements and SI kilogram standard).

At the April meeting, we will have a session on Bruno Rossi, the great cosmic ray physicist, and his legacy, organized by Dan Kleppner. Three notable speakers will address Rossi's influence on x-ray astronomy (George W. Clark), space physics (Edward Stone), and cosmic rays (James W. Cronin). Our next session will consider the history and implications of physicists involved in advising on national security, organized by Gloria Lubkin. Once again, the speakers bring extensive experience to this important topic. Richard Garwin will address PSAC (the President's Science Advisory Committee) and other modes of advice; Roy Schwitters will address the perspective of those involved in JASON, and former Secretary of Defense John S. Foster, Jr. will speak on advisory experience with DOD, DOE, and the intelligence community. Finally, our last session will concern developments in the national laboratories since 1980, organized by Catherine Westfall. We are specially pleased that this session will begin with Lillian Hoddeson, this year's Pais Prize winner, giving her Pais Prize talk on the failure of the SSC and its historical lessons. Then Burton Richter will give his view of the evolution of relations between the national laboratories and the DOE. Finally, Joseph Martin will discuss the assimilation of solid state physics into the national laboratories.

All these sessions promise to be valuable and interesting occasions; the gathering of these very special speakers may gives us several unique occasions that probably will never happen again. Such opportunities to hear about the history of physics from some of its most important protagonists are history itself. I urge you all to attend and participate in what we hope will be truly memorable events.

Peter Pesic
Co-Chair, FHP Program Committee

March Meeting 2012:
Feb. 26–March 2, 2012
Boston, Massachusetts

March 2012 FHP Sessions
(Boston Convention Center, Boston, MA)

I. One Hundred Fifty Years of Maxwell's Equations (organized by Peter Pesic)
Session B-19
Monday, February 27, 2012 from 11:15-2:30
Room: 253AB

C. W. Francis Everitt (Stanford), "The discovery of Maxwell's equations"

Bruce Hunt (Univ. of Texas), "The Maxwellians and the Remaking of Maxwell's Equations"

Jed Buchwald (Caltech), "Using Maxwell's equations in the late 1800s"

Roy Glauber (Harvard), "Maxwell's equations and quantum optics"

Frank Wilczek (MIT), "Taking off from Maxwell's equations "

Chair: Edward Gerjuoy (University of Pittsburgh)

How Maxwell discovered his equations, how they affected the physics of his time and our own, including current perspectives on this seminal discovery.

II. The Scientific Legacy of Edward Purcell (1912-2012) (organized by Peter Pesic)
Session Q-19
Wednesday February 29, 2012 from 11:15-2:30
Room: 253AB

Nicolaas Bloembergen (Univ. of Arizona), "Purcell and NMR"

Howard Berg (Harvard), "On small things in water moving around: Purcell's contributions to biology"

Harold I. Ewen (EK Associates), "Purcell and the development of radioastronomy"

Richard Garwin (IBM Watson Research Center), "Purcell's work advising the government"

John Rigden (Washington Univ.), "Purcell the Teacher: In and Out of the Classroom"
Chair: Gerald Holton (Harvard)

The historical context and continuing importance of the discoveries of Edward Purcell (1912-1997), including NMR, its application to radioastronomy, his work in biological physics, in advising the government, and in physics education.

III. History of Metrology: The Evolution from Physical to Electronic Measurements
co-sponsors: FHP and GPMFC
(organized by Robert P. Crease)
Session X-2
Thursday, March 1, 2012 from 2:30-5:30
Room: 204AB

Robert P. Crease (Stony Brook), "Dreams of a Final System: Origins of the Quest for an Absolute Standard."

Terry Quinn (Emeritus Director BIPM), "From Artifacts to Atoms: The Origins and Early Years of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures"

James E. Faller (JILA), "Measurement of the gravitational quantities g and G: Learning how ideas for precision measurement experiments come about"

Howard P. Layer, Sr. (NIST), "The Odyssey of the Frequency Measurements of Visible Light at NBS/NIST"

Richard Steiner (NIST), "Evolving Planck Constant Measurements into the SI Kilogram Standard"
Chair: Richard Davis (BIPM)

The history of measurement standards from individual manufactured artifacts to standards based on constants of nature.

April Meeting 2012:
March 31-April 3, 2012,
Atlanta, Georgia

April 2012 FHP Sessions (Hyatt Regency, Atlanta, GA)

I. The Scientific Legacy of Bruno Rossi (organized by Daniel Kleppner)
Session C5
Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 1:30-3:18
Room: International Ballroom South

George W. Clark (MIT), "Rossi and x-ray astronomy"

Edward Stone (Caltech), "Rossi and space physics"

James W. Cronin (Univ. of Chicago), "Rossi and cosmic rays"

Chair: Daniel Kleppner (MIT)

The session is intended to portray the science that Rossi helped to pioneer in X-ray astronomy, cosmic ray physics and space science. The spirit of the session is to help the younger generation understand more about the heritage of physics that makes their research possible and to learn something about the great scientists who helped to create that heritage.

II. Physicists Advising on National Security (organized by Gloria Lubkin)
Session H5
Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 10:45-12:33
Room: International Ballroom South

Richard Garwin (T. J. Watson Research Center, IBM Fellow Emeritus), "Experience with the President's Science Advisory Committee, Its Panels, and Other Modes of Advice"

Roy Schwitters (University of Texas, Austin), "Experiences Advising our Government from the Point of View of a JASON"

John S. Foster, Jr. (Private consultant), "Advisory Experience with DOD, DOE, and the Intelligence Community"

Chair: Gloria Lubkin (Physics Today editor emerita)

The session is intended to present the perspectives of three physicists who have spent many years advising the government on national security.

III. The National Laboratories After 1980 (Pais Prize Session) (organized by Catherine Westfall)
Session T5
Monday, April 2, 2012 at 3:30-5:18
Room: International Ballroom South

Lillian Hoddeson (Univ. of Illinois, Urbana), "The Failure of the SSC: Lessons for the History of Physics" (Pais Prize talk)

Burton Richter (SLAC), "A View of the Evolution of Lab/DOE Relations."

Joseph Martin (Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis), "A Good Name and Great Riches: Rebranding Solid State Physics for National Laboratories"

Chair: Catherine Westfall (Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University)

This session will describe the various changes that took place within the national laboratories and between the national laboratories and the overall physics community and the Department of Energy.

Note Added: This article represents the views of the author, which are not necessarily those of the FHP or APS.