Report on the April 2004 Meeting of the APS Council
Philip W. Hammer, Forum Councilor
The Council of the American Physical Society met Friday, April 30, 2004 in Denver, just prior to the APS April Meeting (which was held the first weekend of May). In the following, I will summarize reports and actions from the Council meeting that are most relevant to members of the Forum on Physics and Society.
Membership The APS 2004 Membership is 43,258, up from 42,830 in 2003 and a five-year high. The membership of the Forum is 4,624, also a five-year high. The Forum on Physics and Society is the third most popular APS membership unit (10.69% of the membership), after the Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics (12.55%) and the Condensed Matter Physics Division (12.51%).
POPA In the aftermath of the high profile ethical scandals in the physics community, the APS Panel on Public Affairs formed an Ethics Subcommittee that was tasked with surveying the APS membership and examining the range of ethical issues at play in physics. Results from the survey motivated POPA to recommend a statement for Council consideration:
04.1 STATEMENT ON TREATMENT OF SUBORDINATES
(Adopted by Council on April 30, 2004)
Subordinates should be treated with respect and with concern for their well-being. Supervisors have the responsibility to facilitate the research, educational, and professional development of subordinates, to provide a safe, supportive working environment and fair compensation, and to promote the timely advance of graduate students and young researchers to the next stage of career development. In addition, supervisors should ensure that subordinates know how to appeal decisions without fear of retribution.
Contributions of subordinates should be properly acknowledged in publications, presentations, and performance appraisals. In particular, subordinates who have made significant contributions to the concept, design, execution, or interpretation of a research study should be afforded the opportunity of authorship of resulting publications, consistent with APS Guidelines for Professional Conduct.
Supervisors and/or other senior scientists should not be listed on papers of subordinates unless they have also contributed significantly to the concept, design, execution or interpretation of the research study.
Mentoring of students, postdoctoral researchers, and employees with respect to intellectual development, professional and ethical standards, and career guidance, is a core responsibility for supervisors. Periodic communication of constructive performance appraisals is essential.
These guidelines apply equally for subordinates in permanent positions and for those in temporary or visiting positions.
POPA also issued two reports, one on the hydrogen economy and the other on the modern pit facility. These reports, as well as all other POPA reports can be found at: http://www.aps.org/public_affairs/popa/reports/index.cfm.
President’s Report APS President Helen Quinn reported on the major initiative of her tenure, namely, long-range planning for the 5-10 year future of APS. The long-range planning will be organized along the major activities of the APS, such as publishing, education, public affairs, meetings, international issues, and committees.
Treasurer’s Report The financial state of the APS remains strong, with $40.5 million in revenue and $40.0 million in expenses in 2003.
International Affairs APS has appointed a new director of its Office of International Affairs, Amy Flatten, who replaces Irving Lerch. Flatten reported on the upcoming World Conference on Physics and Sustainable Development, which will be held in late 2005. The conference will have four themes: economic development, health, education, and energy and environment.
The APS Office of International Affairs has also been working to reform post-9/11 restrictions on visas for foreign students and scientists.
Publisher’s Report As an interesting point of trivia, the APS publisher, Martin Blume, pointed out that the total lifetime run of Physical Review, if stacked, would make a tower of paper 400 feet tall. The 2003 publishing year contributed 17 feet to the pile. Blume noted that APS will lower its institutional subscription prices in 2005.
Office of Public Affairs Mike Lubell of the Office of Public Affairs reported on the extensive public affairs activities of the APS. The federal budget for research remains the single biggest issue for Lubell and his team. Besides lobbying Congress, APS plays a leadership role in various coalitions organized to impress upon policy makers the importance of research funding. For example, APS is involved in the Energy Sciences Coalition; the K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics Education Coalition; the Coalition for National Science Funding; and the Coalition for National Security Research. One recently-formed such coalition is the Task Force on the Future of American Innovation, which is joint effort of industry, academia, and professional societies. This group has been publishing ads and op-eds targeted at Congress.
The APS Council will hold its next meeting in November, in conjunction with the Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting.
Philip W. Hammer