February 2013 Newsletter

February 2013 (Volume 1, Number 1) format_pdf

Inside this Issue

Welcome to the first edition of the M-AS newsletter. Deadline for submissions to the second M-AS newsletter is September 30, 2013. Please submit your contributions to the editor: Uwe Arp (uwe.arp@gmail.com).

Please like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/apsmas 

Welcome to the Mid-Atlantic Section of the American Physical Society

By Rush Holt, Member of Congress

Fig 1. Representative Rush Holt visiting a solar panel manufacturing facility in New Jersey

Fig 1. Representative Rush Holt visiting a solar panel manufacturing facility in New Jersey. Map by Abbey Tyrna.

Congratulations on joining the Mid-Atlantic Section of the American Physical Society. As a longtime member of APS who has spent much of my life in West Virginia, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia, I am pleased and honored to join you in the Mid-Atlantic Section as an original member.

I have spent my career as a professional scientist and now as a member of Congress, so I know firsthand how scientific research contributes to every American's quality of life. APS helps us to more completely understand nature and our universe, and it provides an avenue through which physicists from all around the world can converse about the advancement of physical concepts and ideas.

APS is first and foremost a national organization, and indeed, it usually makes sense to think of physics as being a collaborative endeavor. Many of the theoretical and experimental insights that have driven our field forward in recent years have been possible only through the collaboration of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of physicists scattered across the globe.

But the fact remains that many insights are possible only because of close, personal interactions among scientists who see each other regularly: those who work at the same university, or who see each other at local conferences, or who stop by one another's houses for dinner and find themselves scribbling half-developed equations on the backs of pizza boxes. Proximity matters, in physics as in every other field (is collaborative productivity an inverse power law?), and I am hopeful that the Mid-Atlantic Section will strengthen these local connections that help make possible further scientific progress.

It is, I think, especially noteworthy that the Mid-Atlantic Section includes Washington, D.C. and thus the entire U.S. Congress. To state the obvious, your perspective is very badly needed on Capitol Hill. Right now Congress includes only two physicists (the other is Bill Foster of Illinois), and we need look no further than the phony debates about the scientific validity of climate change or evolution to understand that scientific thinking is far too rare in Congress today. The Mid-Atlantic APS section has the opportunity - and, I would suggest, the responsibility - to help bridge the gap between the scientific community and those who pass laws that affect it.

I hope that, at some point in the years to come, you'll take the relatively short trip to Capitol Hill to share your thoughts and concerns with your representative in Congress. You have important insights to share on climate change, renewable energy, nuclear security, and so many other issues facing our country today. And while you're in town, stop by my office to say hi!

How the Mid-Atlantic Section (M-AS) of the APS Got Started

This article is a personal story on how the Mid-Atlantic Section of the APS got started.

I moved to Maryland in 2010 after my extended post-doc years at the University of Washington in Seattle. During my time in Seattle I learned to appreciate the North-West Section (SNWS) of the American Physical Society (APS). When I arrived in the US after earning my PhD at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, I did not know the US physics community, other than a few names of authors that had published in my narrow field. Trying to get to know other colleagues, I decided to go to the APS April meeting. Unfortunately, I perceived my first April meeting as overwhelming. There were too many parallel sessions and people. I found it difficult as a newbie to get to know my colleagues. At this point serendipity helped. One of my bosses was unable to give his invited talk at the SNWS meeting jointly held at Washington State University and the University of Idaho and sent me instead.

Attending the section meeting was a success. I met people working in the Northwest and learned the breadth of research topics at local colleges and universities. From this meeting on, I tried to attend the section meetings on a regular basis.

I enjoyed the people and the topics that I learned at these meetings. Through my connections in the section, I got invitations to speak at several colloquia.

After my move to the East Coast, I tried to join a section there. However, I found out that there was no section to the northwest of the Nation’s Capital! That was very disappointing. I asked around and was told that at the beginning, APS meetings were held near Washington DC. The colleagues living in this area had a meeting, whereas physicists in other parts of the country did not have a meeting in front of their doorsteps. Hence they formed a section to have at least one meeting close by. As the March and April meeting started to move around the country the Mid-Atlantic States were left behind. Nobody seemed to notice.

At the April meeting in 2012 I complained to Beverly Berger about the absence of a section in Maryland. She said, “Why don’t you start one?” This sentence dramatically changed my viewpoint, since I had not considered that option within the parameter space. She told me that 200 members are needed to start a new Unit and it would be best to start by finding a few enthusiastic supporters.

Back home, I asked my Division Chief at NIST who would be a good person to help me in this endeavor. He pointed to Charles Clark. And yes, enthusiastic he was. Claire Cramer, another colleague at NIST, whom I had known from the University of Washington, was also very interested in and enthusiastic about the idea. Charles managed to contact Trish Lettieri, director of membership at APS.

Starting in May, the four of us discussed the next steps in emails: We identified the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The name Mid-Atlantic was found quickly. Finally we decided to send an email to all APS member in the region to see how much support there was. The broadcast email was sent on June 4th and within three weeks more than 250 APS members replied favorably. The next step was an inaugural meeting at the American Center of Physics on June 23rd. A total of 17 APS members participated in this meeting, at which we drafted bylaws and appointed a set of interim officers and members at large. The list of the officers and members at large can be found on the last page of this newsletter.

The last step the Mid-Atlantic Section had to take was the official approval through the APS Council. This happened at the Council meeting in Providence, RI on Nov 3rd. At the time of this writing the section has close to 600 members. 2013 will be the year in which the section will come out of its infancy: we will hold election. On 1/1/2014, our newly elected officials will start serving on the Executive Committee, hitting the ground running in order to keep our first section meeting on track. We hope to see you all there at Penn State at the beginning of October 2014.

In the meantime, we will host a reception at the 2013 March meeting in Baltimore. This is a good first opportunity to meet your fellow section members. We can stay connected through the soon-to-be-established Facebook page. Also, if you would like to volunteer for the section, feel free to approach us. We still hope to grow the membership. Being a member in a section offers many advantages for zero expense; any APS member can join a section for free. Please help us in getting the word out.

I hope to see you at one of the M-AS activities in the near future.


Stephan Schlamminger, Chair M-AS APS

Mid-Atlantic Section Logo Competition

Hello to all Section members and newsletter readers!

The Mid-Atlantic Section of the American Physical Society (M-ASAPS) has now been in existence since November of last year. The executive committee has decided that a logo would further define our new section. This logo would be used on our official newsletter, our website, any social media sites that we have in the future, and all other official section correspondence. Therefore, on behalf of the Executive Committee, I am pleased to announce a competition to let our members design our new logo.

The rules and conditions for the competition are presented below.

  1. The logo competition is open to ALL SECTION MEMBERS. You must be a member of the Mid-Atlantic Section to submit a logo design. You may have a section member submit your design if you did not want to join, but that member would be the one declared the winner, not you. Furthermore, section membership is free, and there are no restrictions on where a member may live, so you may as well join. Members of the executive committee are not eligible for the competition.
  2. The logo must incorporate one of the official titles/acronyms for the Section. There are no restrictions on font, color, size, or appearance of the chosen title/acronym. The acceptable titles/acronyms are:
    • The title “Mid-Atlantic Section of the American Physical Society”
    • The title “Mid-Atlantic Section of the APS”
    • The acronym, “M-ASAPS”
    • The acronym, “MASAPS”
  3. The logo should, in some way, incorporate the idea of the “Mid-Atlantic” section. For possible inspiration, logos of the other sections (not every section has a logo) are shown in Fig. 2. Further information about the section can be found at the website, http://www.aps.org/units/mas/index.cfm
  4. The logo must incorporate the official APS logo. The APS logo, along with further information and restrictions pertaining to it, can be found at the website, http://www.aps.org/about/logo.cfm
    Brief restrictions regarding the APS logo:
    • The APS logo is a trademarked design and the font cannot be changed.
    • Its size can be changed only if the proportions remain true to the original design.
    • It may only be rendered in the accepted colors shown on the website above.
    • The APS logo cannot be redrawn. For example, if your section logo design was meant to look hand-drawn, the APS logo must be used as is.
  5. The logo design must be submitted electronically to jtedesco@email.com in one the following image formats: Bitmap, JPEG, GIF, TIFF, or PNG.
  6. Only one submission per member will be considered. If a member submits multiple designs, he or she will be contacted to select one for consideration.
  7. The logo competition will begin on March 1, 2013 and end on October 1, 2013. Submissions received before March 1 or after October 1 will not be considered.

Qualifying logo designs will be judged first by the logo committee and a final slate will be selected, from which the winning design will be selected by the Executive Committee in November. The winner will be announced in the year-end newsletter, pending approval by the national APS headquarters. The winner will receive official recognition and all the glory that comes along with seeing your logo prominently displayed on all official Section correspondence and at Section events. The copyright to the logo will be retained by the Section.

We look forward to receiving your logo submissions. Be creative, be imaginative, and let the right side of your brains run wild. Good luck!

Joseph Tedesco
Member at Large, M-AS APS
Chair, Logo Competition Committee

Fig. 2. Logos of the other APS sections that have them, the California-Nevada Section, the Ohio-Region Section, the Texas Section, and the Southeastern Section

Fig. 2. Logos of the other APS sections that have them, the California-Nevada Section, the Ohio-Region Section, the Texas Section, and the Southeastern Section.

M-AS at the March Meeting

We are excited that the 2013 March Meeting – the first one in the history of our section – is in the Mid-Atlantic region. Please join us for a reception in the Camden Lobby, Baltimore Convention Center on Wednesday, March 20 at 5:30 p.m. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to eat snacks, have a drink, and meet your interim officers and local colleagues!

M-AS Movements

Physics comings, transitions and goings around the M-AS region in 2012 by Charles W. Clark.

American Physical Society Prizes and Awards announced Autumn, 2012:

2013 Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize to John Slonczewski and Luc Berger (both at Carnegie Mellon University)

2012 LeRoy Apker Award to Theodore Yoder (Franklin and Marshall College ) and Yuliya Dovzhenko (Princeton University)

2012 Stanley Corrsin Award to Daniel Lathrop (University of Maryland, College Park)

2012 Marshall N. Rosenbluth Doctoral Thesis Award to Yu-Hsin Chen (University of Maryland, College Park)

2012 Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers to Edward (Joe) Redish (University of Maryland, College Park)

American Physical Society Fellows elected in 2012:

Robert Cammarata (Johns Hopkins University)
Robert W. Carpick (University of Pennsylvania)
Thomas F. Carruthers (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
Venkatraman Gopalan (Pennsylvania State University)
Nikolai Gorelenkov (Princeton University)
Terry W. Gullion (West Virginia University)
John P. Huennekens (Lehigh University)
Michelle D. Johannes (Naval Research Laboratory)
Demosthenes Kazanas (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Akhlesh Lakhtakia (Pennsylvania State University)
Christopher Li (Drexel University)
James Liddle (NIST)
Mathias Loesche (Carnegie Mellon University)
Lynn Loo (Princeton University)
Joan Redwing (Pennsylvania State University)
Peter S. Riseborough (Temple University)
Mikhail V. Romalis (Princeton University)
Ian Spielman (NIST)
Zhen Wu (Rutgers University)
Qiming Zhang (Pennsylvania State University)

Other recognition of M-AS residents:

2012 National Academy of Sciences Members elected – William Bialek and Nai Phuan Ong (Princeton University)

2012 American Academy of Arts and Sciences Members elected – Eva Andrei and Alexander Zamolodchikov (Rutgers University); Igor Klebanov and David Spergel (Princeton University)

2012 Dirac Medal and Prize – awarded to F. Duncan M. Haldane (Princeton University), Charles L. Kane (University of Pennsylvania) and Shoucheng Zhang (Stanford University) “in recognition of their many important contributions to condensed matter physics, including their independent work preparing and opening the field of two and three dimensional topological insulators . . .”

2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize – awarded to Charles Bennett and the WMAP Team (Johns Hopkins University and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) “for their exquisite measurements of anisotropies in the relic radiation from the Big Bang---the Cosmic Microwave Background . . .”

What’s happening in M-AS institutions:

Georgetown University – Opened a new science building, Regents Hall, a state-of-the-art facility funded in part by a building grant from NIST; inaugurated Soft Matter Institute that will be filling a number of positions soon; will be recruiting undergraduate students for the Summer 2013 REU program; a previous REU student, Adam Keith, was a 2012 Apker Award Finalist for work started at Georgetown.

National Institute of Standards and Technology – The founding Director of the Physics Laboratory, Katharine Gebbie, is now at the Joint Quantum Institute; Jacob Taylor received the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal for “….making pioneering scientific discoveries that in time could lead to significant advances in health care, communications, computing and technology”; next application deadline for National Research Council postdoctoral research associateships is August 1, 2013.

Pennsylvania State UniversityMarcos Rigol joined the faculty as Associate Professor of Physics

Princeton University – Michael Romalis was elected Chair of the Topical Group on Precision Measurements and Fundamental Constants.

St. Mary's College of Maryland – the State’s public honors college - Physics Department received an investment of $1M from The Patuxent Partnership, to facilitate creation of an applied physics concentration within the physics major and support additional recruitment of prospective students.

United States House of RepresentativesRush Holt was elected Representative for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District. He is the senior-serving of the two Ph.D. physicists (and members of the APS) in the House of Representatives, the other being Bill Foster (D-IL).

University of DelawareEd Nowak is the new chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy; Marianna Safronova was elected Adjunct Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute, NIST and the University of Maryland

University of Maryland, College Park – New assistant professor Jonathan McKinney, a high-energy astrophysicist; Betsy Beise named Distinguished Scholar-Teacher; Abolhassan Jawahery named Distinguished University Professor.

University of PennsylvaniaVijay Balasubramanian appointed Cathy and Marc Lasry Professor, a new endowed chair.

West Chester University – New assistant professor Shawn Pfeil, an experimental biophysicist.

M-AS in Jeopardy

Today’s category is: “Current Members of the American Physical Society Resident in DE, DC, MD, NJ, PA or WV” State residency here refers to the member’s address as given in the APS Membership database. Remember, your answers must begin with the phrase “Who is . . .” or “Who are . . .”

  1. Five-time Jeopardy champion
  2. Halliday’s coauthor
  3. Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
  4. Former Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  5. Coauthor of massive tome on – what else? – gravitation
  6. Chief Scientist of world’s fourth largest company (by 2012 revenue)
  7. Nobel Laureates in Physics
  8. Deuterium discoverer’s daughter
  9. Ph.D. student of J. Robert Oppenheimer
  10. Maltese conjuror’s son
  11. Counselor for Science and Technology, Embassy of France in the USA

All contestants will receive FREE MEMBERSHIP in the Mid-Atlantic Section of the American Physical Society!

Election Announcement

Call to Service!

The Mid-Atlantic Section is now being administered by group of interim officers, but it will hold its first regular election in Autumn, 2013. The following vigorously ballot contests are looming:

Vice-Chair: This is the entry-level position in the Chair line, with the incumbent proceeding automatically in subsequent years to Chair-Elect, Chair and Past Chair. Great experience for those who wish to experience all facets of professional society governance at an executive level! The present incumbent, Claire Cramer, will move up to the position of Chair-Elect and will welcome her successor.

Treasurer: One of our most important jobs in the Section: stewardship of the resources that make all else possible. The term is for three years. This position is ideal for those who enjoy operational responsibility and service in core organizational roles. The present incumbent, Mark Stollberg, is an interim officer looking forward to honorable discharge at the end of the year!

Members at large: As members of the Section’s Executive Committee, these stalwarts serve in a variety of capacities during their two-year terms, such as membership of the Nominating Committee, the Program Committee and various ad hoc committees. We have six Members at Large, three of which retire each year, and we hope to maintain a distribution of Members at Large that is representative of our six-state, 243,000 km2, looks-like-America region. So YOU can expect a call from us to stand for election. Save the Section a dime and call us first, under either your own name or that of an esteemed colleague! The three retiring incumbents this round are Ray Elton, Kurt Kolasinski and Joseph Tedesco.

Student member: The Executive Committee also includes a Student Member, elected for a one-year term. What kind of a student, you ask? Well, in their wisdom the Framers of the By Laws were not highly prescriptive in Their definition, but We think this job would suit the sort of person who enjoys Sigma Pi Sigma or other student chapter activity and wants to step up their game by service on a bona-fide Executive Committee of a Unit of the American Physical Society. It is a great way to get some professional exposure beyond your immediate environment! The retiring incumbent this year is Galen Hench.

We’ll be working to put together a great slate of candidates during the next few months and welcome all suggestions, including self-nominations. Keep those cards and letters coming in to midatlanticaps@gmail.com, or talk to us at the March 20 reception.

Respectfully submitted, by Your Nominating Committee -
Charles Clark (Chair), Joint Quantum Institute, MD (12/13) Maria Babiuc-Hamilton, Marshall University, WV (12/14)
Renee Diehl, Pennsylvania State University, PA (12/13)
Gregg Harry, American University, DC (12/14)
Boris Khusid, New Jersey Institute of Technology, NJ (12/14)
Barry Walker, University of Delaware, DE (12/13)

Interim Executive Committee of the Mid-Atlantic Section of the APS

Position/Name/Term expires

Chair: Stephan Schlamminger, National Institute of Standards and Technology, MD (12/13)
Past-Chairº: Charles Clark, National Institute of Standards and Technology, MD (12/13)
Chair-Elect: Jill Dahlburg, Naval Research Laboratory, DC (12/13)
Vice Chair: Claire Cramer, National Institute of Standards and Technology, MD (12/13)
Secretary: Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, West Virginia University, WV (12/14)
Treasurer: Mark Stollberg, U.S. Naval Observatory, DC (12/13)
Member at Large: Vasudeva Rao Aravind, Clarion University, PA (12/14)
Member at Large: Jeff Carroll, Army Research Laboratory, MD (12/14)
Member at Large: Ray Elton, University of Maryland, MD (12/13)
Member at Large: Boris Khusid, New Jersey Institute of Technology, NJ (12/14)
Member at Large: Kurt Kolasinski, West Chester University, PA (12/13)
Member at Large: Joseph Tedesco, National Institute of Standards and Technology, MD (12/13)
Member at Large: Barry Walker, University of Delaware, DE (12/14)
Student Representative: Galen Hench, St. Mary’s College, MD (12/13)

ºChair Nominating Committee
•Chair Program Committee

Fig 3. Cartographic display of the number of APS members per county within the Mid-Atlantic region

Fig 3. Cartographic display of the number of APS members per county within the Mid-Atlantic region. Map by Abbey Tyrna.

The articles in this newsletter represent the views of their author(s) and are not necessarily those of the Unit or APS.