View from the Chair
As the 2008 Chair of FIP, I welcome you all to the FIP Newsletter. Thanks to the effort of our editor, Laszlo Baksay, and the illustrious group of authors, we now have the spring issue of the Newsletter. I would also like to acknowledge effort by members of the FIP Executive Committee who worked hard to soliciting or writing articles for the Newsletter. Following the trend of various newsletters and because of financial considerations, we have decided to issue this Newsletter in a downloadable electronic form. However, knowing that a hard copy of the Newsletter, delivered to you by mail, is preferable; our current plan, however, is to publish the next one as a printed version, in parallel with the electronic version, late this year.
FIP Activities in 2008 to date:
New Slate of FIP Officers:
A new slate of officers was installed in January, with the chair line moving one step forward. I would like take this opportunity to thank Herman Winick, the Past Chair, for his dynamic leadership of the Forum with enhanced activities throughout the year, such as addressing a number of international issues with a high level of sensitivity. I welcome the new members of the Executive Committee: Noemie Koeller (Vice-Chair), Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rutgers University; Cherrill Spencer, International Linear Collider Department, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center; and Paul Gueye, Physics Department of Hampton University and Physics Division of Jefferson Laboratory. We were very fortunate to have Noemi Mirkin, Biophysics Department at the University of Michigan, continue to serve as the Secretary/Treasurer. We are highly indebted to Noemi for many years of service in this capacity in maintaining the continuity of the Forum finance and business matters, which is not an easy task.
FIP Invited Speakers Sessions at the 2008 APS Meetings:
FIP’s major undertaking every year goes to organizing sessions at the March and April Meeting of APS. For 2008, FIP had four such sessions, two during March and two during April. Program and abstracts of the talks, as well as the presentation of most of the speakers can be found at: http://www.aps.org/units/fip/meetings/. (To open a presentation, select and click a desired meeting on the right column, and then click the selected title with underline in the session program.)
This year we have taken the gender equality in the physics work place in various parts of the world as the principal theme for our invited sessions. At the March Meeting in New Orleans, we had a panel discussion that was co-sponsored by the APS Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) with the title of “International Gender Issues in Physics”. This panel session was chaired and moderated by Beverly Hartline from Delaware State University with participation of such internationally well known speakers on this subject as Arthur Bienenstock from Stanford University (current President of APS); Barbara Sandow from Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany; Laura Greene from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Ling-An Wu from the Chinese Academy of Science at Beijing, China; and Dalia Satkovskiene from Vilnius University, Lithuania, the winner of the 2008 Marshak Lectureship Award. Here, I would like express my admiration of Bev Hartline for her passion on the issues and her outstanding ability to organize a panel discussion.
At the April St. Louis Meeting, we again had a panel discussion with the same title and co-sponsored this time by the APS Forum on Physics and Society (FPS). The illustrious invited speakers were Giulia Pancheri from INFN Frascati National Laboratories, Italy, Meg Urry from Yale University, and Marcia Barbosa from Universidade Federal Do Rio Grande Do Sul, Brazil. Unfortunately, cancellation of flights by massive grounding of MD88 type aircraft by American Airlines made it impossible for Meg Urry to reach St. Louis, and her talk was presented by one of the Executive Committee members, Betty Tsang. We were very fortunate to have had Arthur Bienenstock, President of APS who has a very keen interest in the gender equality issue, not only speak at the March session but also chair and moderate the April session. Both of these sessions were well attended with about 100 people and with many serious and lively discussions.
The other FIP invited session in March was entitled “Making the Invisible Scientist Visible: Science in Emergent Countries”. This session addressed one of those important issues in discovering highly talented scientists who are hidden under a thicket of bureaucracy that often exists in an emergent society. This panel session was moderated by Anita Mehta from S.N. Bose National Centre in Kolkata, India, who is a member of our Executive Committee. Other Participants were Ayse Eazan from Istanbul Technical University, Turkey; Venkatesh Narayanamurti from Harvard University; and Monica De la Cruz from Northwestern University. This session was also well attended with lively discussions.
The second FIP invited session in April was co-sponsored by the APS Division of the Physics and Beams (DPB), and entitled “Impact of Major Accelerator Projects on the Development of Emergent Countries” with the idea to survey how a major accelerator project impacts the technical and economic development of emergent countries. Invited speakers were Vinod Sahni from Raja Ramanna Center for Advanced Technology, Indore, India who were addressing impacts of their participation in the LHC Project at CERN; Won Namkung from Pohang University of Science and Technology who addressed the case with the Pohang Synchrotron Light Source where an industrial investment triggered governmental engagement in the science and technology development; and Herman Winick from SLAC who addressed the case of SESAME that intends to open the doors of the Middle-East toward the future of science and technology. Unfortunately, due to a delay in securing the US visa, Dr. Sahni could not come to St. Louis in time, and the talk was presented by his colleague from India, Shekhar Mishra who is at Fermilab.
Another highlight from the April Meeting was the presentation of the 2008 Andrei Sakharov Prize to Prof. Liangying Xu from China. Back in 2004, the FIP contributed seed money to the APS to initiate this bi-annual prize. This event is covered by Betty Tsang elsewhere in this Newsletter.
Following an initiative in 2006 by Irving Lerch, then FIP chair, we continued the tradition of having a joint reception with groups of physicists with roots abroad and working in the US, including the Overseas Chinese Physics Association (OCPA), the American Chapter of the Indian Physics Association (ACIPA), the Association of Korean Physicists in America (AKPA), and the Iranian-American Physicists (IrAP) Network Group. These outreach efforts are important for FIP as it looks forward to a harmonious practice in physics through out the world. Extending this outreach in geographical dimension, we intend to promote the outreach also in the age domain by extending our invitation to the APS Forum on Graduate Student Affairs (FGSA), which, I am certain, will share similar international concerns with us.
With good work by the Fellowship nomination committee, the FIP was able to nominate nine deserving candidates for APS fellowship, and we are pleased to announce that all nine of them were chosen by the APS Fellowship Committee. The Fellowship certificate and Pin” were awarded to the newly elected Fellows at the March reception held jointly with our expatriate organization and in April at the time of the FIP Executive Committee meeting. The names and citations for new awardees can be found in the December 2007 FIP Newsletter.
Activities to Come:
Now that the 2008 APS Meetings with FIP sponsored invited sessions were successfully concluded, our activities are shifting to preparing for the balance of 2008 and 2009. They are as follows:
- The 2009 programs for the FIP sponsored sessions during the March and April APS Meetings are being formulated by the Program Committee under the Chairpersonship of our President-Elect, John Clark.
- The International Travel Grant Award Program (ITGAP), which was initiated with significant seed money from FIP has been enlarged with financial contributions from other units of the APS and is now managed by the APS Committee on International Scientific Affairs (CISA). The Chair of the ITGAP Selection Committee for 2008 is Noemie Koeller, our Vice-Chair, joined by Cherrill Spencer, Lidia Smentek, as well as other representatives from Units that are contributing to the ITGAP. We thank John Clark and his committee for their good selection of four recipients for the 2007 program.
- APS Fellowship nomination is open with the nomination deadline of May 15. The qualification criteria are a physicist with outstanding accomplishments in his/her scientific field and in addition, with recognized contributions, related to the mission of the FIP. FIP members are encouraged to nominate deserving colleagues using the APS on-line nominating procedure.
- The time has come to prepare the slate of candidates for the election of officers of the FIP, i.e., one Vice Chair and two Members at Large. FIP members are encouraged to contact the Nomination Committee, chaired by Herman Winick (the FIP Past-Chair) for the nomination, deadline for which is July 15, 2008. (email@example.com)
- Membership Drive: Increasing membership is very important to our Unit because it will help enhance the consciousness on international affairs among the members of the APS, it will allow us to maintain FIP’s presence at the APS Council, and most importantly it can increase the membership income from APS to support our ever increasing level of activities. The FIP Executive Committee established a Membership Drive Task Force, which is led by Galileo Violini together with Betty Tsang, Herman Winick and Anita Mehta as members, aiming at a sizable increase by the end of 2008. I take this opportunity to appeal to all FIP members to invite his/her friends and colleagues to join the FIP by online membership registration.
- Lastly, and very importantly, the FIP Executive Committee recognizes the importance of communication with FIP members and we will try to do our best to improve this. Namely, we are in the process of establishing working groups for the FIP website and for the Newsletter.
* Satoshi Ozaki is Chair, Executive Committee, Forum on International Physics and also Senior Advisor for Brookhaven's NSLS-II synchrotron light-source project.