Volume 25, Number 2 April 1996


Yuri Orlov Wins the 1996 Nicholson Medal Citation

The winner of the 1996 Nicholson Medal Citation is Yuri Orlov. The Nicholson Medal, which is established and supported jointly by the Forum on Physics and Society and the Division of Plasma Physics, recognizes the humanitarian aspect of physics and physicists. It is given to a physicist exhibiting extraordinary quality in one of the following areas: (1) a physicist who, through teaching, research, or science-related activities, has implemented a vision for improvement of the quality of life in our society; (2) a physicist who has demonstrated a giving and caring relationship with students or colleagues, has produced works of educational significance, or has created special opportunities for students or junior colleagues; (3) a physicist who has been a leader in promoting international human rights or peace, or international ties in science. The award citation to Yuri Orlov reads "For uniting his love of physics with an intense dedication to international human rights; for his public espousal of openness and freedom in the face of severe personal consequences; for co-founding the Moscow chapter of Amnesty International and founding the first Helsinki Watch group; for helping establish Helsinki groups elsewhere in the Soviet Union; for his outspoken support of Andrei Sakharov; and for his continuing work for democratic principles in former-USSR countries, in China and in Bosnia. Yuri Orlov's commitment and accomplishments have inspired a generation of fighters for freedom worldwide."

Report on the APS Council Meeting

The APS Council met in Irvine, California on 19 November 1995. Here are some meeting highlights:

Campaign for Physics. At the Council meeting, APS and AAPT launched the public phase of their campaign to raise $5 million for special public outreach programs, primarily those dealing with science education. The campaign has already raised over $3.2 million toward this goal. See APS News, December 1995.

Publications continue to be a source of activity and concern. APS has put Physical Review Letters on line. They are trying to move quickly into the fully electronic era.

Page Charges. The Publications Oversight Committee made several recommendations concerning the pricing and health of APS physics journals: (1) For all journals, phase out page charges for those articles submitted in CompuScript. (2) Reduce editorial costs by 15%. (3) Hold annual increases in library subscription rates to 10%. (4) Strengthen the acceptance criteria in order to reduce the acceptance rate.

The APS Centenary will be celebrated in Atlanta in 1999. Events being discussed include: a wall chart, a centenary postage stamp, historical booklets, an international day, a "best minds in physics" day, plenary sessions on major accomplishments in physics, etc. Heinz Barschall represents the Forum on Physics and Society on the Centenary planning committee.

The China Question. The Council was faced with conflicting resolutions on China: The Committee on International Scientific Affairs proposed that APS renew the memorandum of understanding that it signed with the Chinese Physical Society last year. The Committee on International Freedom of Scientists recommended that we dissolve the agreement. CISA felt that the telecommunication project and the joint scientific meetings being planned under the memorandum were very worthwhile. However, CIFS pointed out that China was not living up to its promise, under the memorandum, that its institutions would start subscribing to the APS journals in larger numbers. The Council saw merits in both viewpoints, and voted to instruct the APS president to convey APS's concern to the Chinese Physical Society, to monitor progress, and to report to the Council at its next meeting.

Forum on Careers and Professional Development. This group has the necessary numbers to become a forum, and applied for forum status. However, they had no representative at the meeting to answer questions about its activities and possible overlap with existing forums. The Council voted conditional approval with final approval reserved until a representative of the fledgling forum can come to the next Council meeting to discuss its plans. The new forum is already working with FPS to sponsor a joint session at the spring meeting.

POPA Statement on Helium Reserves. POPA presented a statement expressing concern because the US is not acting to maintain a reserve of helium. Council adopted the statement. It is published in this issue of Physics & Society.

Media Fellowship Program. The Forum on Education proposed to APS that it participate in an ongoing AAAS Mass Media Fellowship Program, which provides funds for scientists to spend three months working with the mass media. APS would sponsor two physicist in the early stages of their careers. POPA endorsed the concept, and the Council gave its approval.

The Public Affairs Office of APS has been trying to educate lawmakers about the value of various physics programs, and in particular has been helpful in maintaining support for NIST.

Barbara G. Levi

From the Chair: Report and Commentary on the APS Units Convocation

The APS held its annual one day "Units Convocation" on 20 January 1996, at its headquarters in College Park, MD. Roughly 50 leaders of its divisions, sections, topical groups, and forums attended. The Forum on Physics and Society (FPS) was represented by its Chair (myself) and its Chair-Elect (Ed Gerjuoy). The day started with small groups meeting with APS staff on issues such as unit budgets, meetings, membership, newsletters, prizes and on-line information services available to members. This was followed by presentations to the entire assembled group by APS senior staff on APS activities, finances, publications, and the up-coming APS Centennial. Next were unit reports by the representatives of the various APS units. Of greatest interest to me--and I suspect to most FPS members--was a dinner the previous evening with leaders of some of the other forums and the APS Associate Executive Officer, as well as the afternoon discussion by the entire assemblage on "APS unity in a time of tribulation."

The APS is concerned about declining attendance at its general meetings and the implications for the future coherence of the Society. "Unity of Physics" sessions have been instituted at the general meetings to counter this trend, but so far they have not succeeded. Our discussions concerned the "Unity of Physics", its relation to the roles of the various APS units, and their relationships to each other. The meeting ended with a talk on the changes in Washington and their effect on physics--a topic presumably well known to FPS members.

Clearly, the divisions and the forums have different agenda. The forums see themselves as the bonds holding physicists and the APS together, and are concerned about excessive overlap and proliferation among the "gluons". The divisions see themselves as offering the necessary smaller communities in which intellectual stimulation and professional advancement can occur. Divisions also believe that their only possibility for making the money necessary to carry on their activities is at separate divisional meetings. The costs of the "large" APS meetings are so great that most units make very little "profit" at them, in spite of large registration fees. There is very little support for raising APS unit dues, currently $6 per division or for membership in more than two Forums.

But in a time of limited resources and time, and proliferating divisional and topical meetings, attendance at such small meetings implies non-attendance at larger general meetings at which the forum gluons can do their work. Hence, there is fear that the increasing strength of the divisions will lead to the fragmentation of the APS and the demise of the unity of physics. The generation gap among the audience was illustrated by a question from one of the younger attendees: "What is the 'Unity of Physics' sought for in large APS meetings?" Answers given by older participants included: meeting old school comrades; interest in new developments in the basic ideas underpinning all of physics. Counter comments were that the meetings were too big to meet former fellow students, and were too busy to attend sessions outside of one's immediate professional interests.

Some interesting suggestions were made to improve the situation: (1) More APS members should join the geographically based sections and more sections should be created. Sectional meetings are small enough to meet a very diverse group of people, and wide enough to present the broad diversity of physics topics. They also allow students to give papers and be exposed to the variety of physics not seen in most departments. The sections may not be able to attract the forefront speakers characteristic of national meetings, but a diverse group of "second-line" speakers might do a good job of illustrating the unity of physics. (2) Divisions holding divisional meetings should invite "Unity" speakers from fields other than that represented by that Division. (3) Divisions should meet together with other divisions, although where such amalgamations end and general meetings begin is not clear. (4) The Internet can be used to enhance the unity of physics. "Physics Update," available via worldwide web and e-mail from AIP, gives a weekly update of new developments across the scientific board, thus helping to recapture the excitement and romance of science. APS members can get periodic scientific and political updates by subscribing to PGNet via APS's Director of Public Affairs, Michael Lubell . They will receive "FYI," "What's New," and periodic information and political alerts.

It became clear to me, during the meeting, that the forums and the APS Council--via its committees--do not necessarily have the same agenda. The committees are appointed and well supported (with staff and meeting expenses) by the Council, and are expected to give advice to the Council when called upon. The forums are membership groups. Their interests and activities may overlap with those of the committees (e.g., there is a Committee on Education and a Forum on Education, a Panel on Public Affairs and a Forum on Physics and Society, etc.). Forums and divisions do not have the resources available to the committees. Forum executive bodies meet, at their own expense, only once a year--too infrequently to establish the coherence and competence perhaps needed to consistently render useful advice and policy insights to the Council at the times it wants it. Guidelines have been established to attempt to avoid non-productive overlap between committees and their corresponding forums. If the APS is concerned about the lack of member participation at meetings, it should encourage high-impact activities by "bottom-up" subgroups as well as (or instead of) "top-down" subgroups. A possible set of significant actions would include responding to Council requests for advice and recommendations, which implies that the forums should be prepared to do so.

All of these issues were discussed, at length, at both the dinner and the Convocation. No alleviations ofthe apparent contradictions, nor new policy directions, were apparent to me. However, I believethat most participants came away with better understanding of the problems facing APS members, of day-to-day services available from theAPS, and of some suggestions to consider. Hopefully this understanding is now available,via this report, to FPS membership who areencouraged to continue the discussion via letters and e-mail.

It was a useful day. I'm thankful that the APS Executive Officer initiated this annual event some years ago, and hopeful that it will be continued. The problems discussed won't go away quickly, but thoughtful meetings among a diverse and committed group can help create an informed and involved membership.

Alvin M. Saperstein, FPS Chair
Physics Department
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48202

From the Chair Elect

Elsewhere in this issue you will find an announcement of the rewarding invited paper sessions, including our Forum Award session, that FPS has organized for presentation at the Indianapolis meeting, May 2-5. I will say no more about those sessions, other than to express my hope that many of readers will attend.

I would like to urge you to participate in our 1996 annual FPS membership meeting at Indianapolis, scheduled for 11:00 AM Saturday May 4. And, whether you can attend that meeting or not, please advise me as to what activities and invited paper session subjects you would like to see FPS concentrate on during the coming year.

Also, please send me, before May 4, your nominations, including self-nominations, for FPS committee memberships. The FPS standing committees are Awards, Fellowship, Membership, Nominating, and Program. If there are any ad hoc committees you feel should be appointed to deal with special topics, I very much would like to hear about them. I am attempting to fill all committee vacancies before we meet in Indianapolis, so that we can have a fruitful meeting and get off to a good start on our 1996-97 activities. I remind you that these are troubled times for both physics and society. It is my belief, which I trust you share, that FPS--cutting across all physics specialties as it does--can illuminate our present shoals and help the APS to chart a successful course through them.

Edward Gerjuoy
Department of Physics
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Pa. 15260

Forum Sessions at the May 2-5 Meeting in Indianapolis

We list here invited sessions sponsored by each of the five forums. Abbreviations: FPS, FED, FHP, FIP, and FIAP are the Forums on Physics and Society, Education, History of Physics, International Physics, and Industrial and Applied Phyiscs. DAMOP is the Division on Atomic and Molecular Physics. AAPT is the American Association of Physics Teachers.

Futures of Renewable Energy: Efficiency, Fission and Fusion, organized by A. Rosenfeld. Thursday 8:00 AM. Cosponsored by FPS and FIAP.

	Steve Selkowitz, "Windows and the plasma frequency equation"
	Allan Hoffman, "Renewables"
	"Fusion", speaker to be determined
	Carlo Rubbia, "A new thorium cycle"
	Art Rosenfeld, "From the lab to the marketplace"

Critique of Modern Science and Scientific Practices, organized by J.D. Garcia. Thursday 2:30 PM. Cosponsored by FPS and AAPT. Chaired by Bob Park.

	Evelyn Keller, "Critique of modern science"
	Sandra Harding, "Modern science in history and culture"
	Rustum Roy, "Critique of science practices"
	Daryl Chubin, "Science choices"

The Future of Physics Careers, organized by Glen Crawford. Friday 8:00 AM. Cosponsored by FPS and FED. Chaired by Brian Schwartz. This session will consist of relatively brief initial remarks by the speakers, who then will constitute a panel responding to questions and comments from the audience.

	Daniel Larson, "The future of academic research"
	Roland Schmitt, "The future of industrial research"
	Kevin Aylesworth, "The future of government-sponsored research"
	Tony Fainberg, "Career change:  what can you do when the funding stops" 
	Barrie Ripin, "What can the APS do to help"

Forum Awards Session.. Friday 2:00 PM. Speakers will be David W. Hafemeister (1996 Szilard Award), Kevin D. Aylesworth (1996 Forum Award), Yuri Orlov (1996 Nicholson Medal Citation), and John Holdren (1995 Forum Award).

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT): Winning the Endgame, organized and chaired by Peter Zimmerman. Saturday 8:00 AM. Sponsored by FPS.

	John D. Holum, "The CTBT:  history in the making"
	Jeremiah Sullivan, "Getting to zero yield:  the JASON study"
	Harold Agnew, "Objections to a CTBT"
	John Immele, "Challenges of stockpile stewardship under a zero-yield CTBT"
	Pierre Corden, "Prospects for the CTBT:  arms control and monitoring issues"

Effects of Radiation at Low Doses, organized and chaired by Richard Wilson. Sunday 8:00 AM. Cosponosred by FPS and DAMOP.

	Dr. Mabuchi, "Extrapolation of the data on the LSS50 cohort to low doses"
	Elizabeth Cardis, "Cancers caused by occupational doses of radiation"
	Bernard Cohen, "The radon puzzle:  is radon really good for you?"

Other invited sessions, sponsored by others among the five APS forums:

	Measuring Fundamental Properties of Complex Materials, FIAP
	Particle Beam Processing of Materials I, FIAP
	Particle Beam Processing of Materials II, FIAP
	Nuclear Imaging Techniques, FIAP
	Contributions of Women to Physics, FHP and the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics
	History of Computing in Physics, FHP and the Division of Computational Physics