American Physical Society Office of International Affairs

Amy Flatten


As we have progressed through 2012, you may have already seen announcements and calls for proposals for a few of our ongoing programs: 1) the International Travel Grant Award Program (ITGAP), 2) the Brazil-US Physics Student Visitation Program and Professorship/Lectureship Program and 3) our partnership with the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) toward exchanges of graduate students and professors between the United States and India. These are wonderful programs that have provided outstanding opportunities for exchange and collaboration. They are all probably familiar to the FIP membership by now (if not, please contact me or visit Consequently, I am going to use this article to tell you about recent developments—ones that may lead us in new directions from opportunities unfolding over the next few months.


On February 7, 2012, the Presidents of the Korean Physical Society (KPS) and the American Physical Society (APS) met to discuss strengthening the collaboration and communication between the two organizations, and to promote scientific exchange between physicists from the Republic of Korea and the US The presidents of both Societies agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that proposed the following:
  1. APS and KPS should hold joint meetings in areas of physics that are of mutual interest. Both organizations would consult with their respective leadership and scientific disciplinary units, and if approved, an international advisory committee will be convened to develop further details.
  2. KPS and APS will explore ways to coordinate and support physicist exchanges. These exchanges may support professors delivering a short course or a lecture series in an overseas institution, or graduate students who, in coordination with their academic advisers and hosts, conduct research in a Korean or US laboratory.
  3. The APS Office of International Affairs (INTAF), along with the Committee on International Scientific Affairs (CISA), will maintain liaisons with the International Cooperation Committee of the KPS for the purpose of discussing future collaborations and activities of mutual interest. To facilitate the exploration of suitable joint activities, INTAF and CISA will collaborate closely with the Association of Korean Physicists in America (AKPA).

The Association for Korean Physicists in America (AKPA) was invaluable in helping facilitate the meeting between the two Presidents.  In April, the KPS celebrated its 60th anniversary at its annual meeting held in Daejeon, Korea. To help celebrate the anniversary, APS Past President Barry Barish spoke at a special forum that featured the presidents of world’s leading physical societies. During his remarks, he presented the MOU, signed by current APS President Bob Byer, and received the signature of the KPS President Shin.


APS has also been exploring ways to increase our engagement with the Chinese physics community. At the 2012 APS March Meeting, leaders of the Chinese Physical Society and the American Physical Society met to discuss possible new initiatives that would strengthen communication and collaboration between the two organizations. The meeting was attended by APS Operating Officers Kate Kirby, Gene Sprouse, and Joe Serene, as well as Ling Miao, who serves as Special Assistant to the Editor in Chief for China and Editor of Physical Review X, and me, Director of the APS Office of International Affairs. Attendees from the Chinese Physical Society included Enge Wang, Vice President; Yupeng Wang, Vice President & Secretary General; Li Lu, Member of the Standing Council and Mu Wang, Member of the Standing Council. The meeting provided an opportunity to explore ideas for joint programs or other initiatives that could be of mutual interest.

The discussion also focused upon opportunities for APS leaders to visit China this summer and fall. Toward that end, APS President Bob Byer attended the 80th anniversary of the Chinese Physics Society that was held in Beijing during August 2012. While there, he gave a speech about the status and prospects of physics in the United States.

Following President Byer’s visit to China in August, an APS delegation comprised of Kate Kirby, APS Executive Officer, Karsten Heeger, Chair of the Committee on International Scientific Affairs, Gang Cao, CISA member, and myself, will travel to China for a series of events and additional meetings with CPS leaders and Chinese physicists. The delegation will be joined for some parts of the trip by editors from the APS Editorial office in Ridge New York, including Ling Miao (mentioned above).:

Highlights of the delegation’s visit include:

As these visits will allow APS leaders to better understand how we might strengthen the partnership between our two physics communities, I will keep the FIP members apprised of the outcomes. Look for more in the next FIP Newsletter, Spring 2013.

India/ Sri Lanka/Southeast Asia

The Committee on International Scientific Affairs (CISA) is launching a trial project to bring physics seminars or "webinars" to physicists in Southeast Asia. CISA hopes this will broaden connections between the US and Southeast Asian physicists. The webinars will be on topics of interest in the region, and already we have a number of volunteers serving as "coordinators and facilitators" in their home institutions. Led by CISA member, Prof. Unil Perera, representatives from the region have undertaken a "test-run" of the APS Webinar system, and have proposed a number of potential seminar topics. CISA also envisions these webinars as a means for linking to graduate students in India and Southeast Asia. Here, topics can serve the students’ interests as well as early career physicists. As this project is only in its earliest stages, I look forward to sharing additional progress with FIP members over the next few months.

While the aforementioned activities are just a few "new" efforts that we are undertaking, I would like to encourage FIP members to continually visit our webpage for: 1) updates on our existing, ongoing programs, 2) application deadlines for our exchanges with India, Brazil, and the ITGAP, and 3) for developments in visa processing that are expected to be announced by the State Department in the new year. (So far, that’s all we know about these "improvements," but we’ll be sure to keep FIP members apprised of any changes to visa processing.) In the mean time, I would welcome the chance to hear from you regarding your interests, ideas and proposals to work together. Please do not hesitate to contact me at:

Dr. Amy Flatten is Director of International Affairs at the American Physical Society.

Disclaimer - The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on International Physics Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS.