Message from the Chair

The Northwest Section of the American Physical Society (NWAPS) represents over 1200 physicists from across the northwestern United States and western Canada and has the distinction of being the only international Section of the APS. Our primary purpose today is the same as it was at our founding in 1998: to foster interaction between physicists from across our broad region. This includes physicists at major universities, small colleges, industry, and national laboratories and covers all physics disciplines. One of our priorities has always been the inclusion of students in our activities, both undergraduate and graduate, and to provide younger researchers in the Northwest with the opportunity to gain regional visibility. Traditionally our primary thrust has focused on our annual meeting. This year, we have added a new speaker program to connect scientists working in the Section with students and faculty at institutions in the Section. Institutions may identify a Speaker and request the Section provide financial support to bring that Speaker to the institution to present their work and interact with students and faculty. Download the Speaker Program description for more information and application details.


Though our membership continues to grow, there are many physicists living in the Pacific Northwest who are not members, in spite of the fact that Section membership is free to APS members. Please consider joining NWAPS and asking your colleagues to as well. The Section receives funds from the APS for each Section member and almost all of this money is used for student travel awards for our meetings. Joining is as easy as checking a box while joining APS or renewing one’s APS membership. You can also do so going to this website:

Student Participation

Young physicists are the future of our field. Please encourage them, especially students and postdocs at your institution, to consider joining the APS and getting involved with APS activities. Sectional meetings are an excellent venue for students to present their first conference talk or poster and this has always been a hallmark of the Northwest APS. The percentage of attendees at our meetings who are students is quite high. Student registration rates for meetings are kept as low as possible and at every meeting we fund Student Travel Awards. Our meetings also provide an excellent networking opportunity with other students, potential graduate schools, and other job prospects. Physics jobs listed through the APS that are located in the Pacific Northwest are now listed on our NWAPS website.

Students (both undergraduate and graduate) are entitled to a ONE-YEAR FREE APS MEMBERSHIP. Remember to also join our section for free.

Participation from Physicists in the Non-Academic Sector

The Northwest region is home to many high-tech companies and industries employing physicists, yet these scientists often find it difficult to participate in national APS meetings. Consider our Section's activities as a more accessible alternative. From past annual meetings, it is clear that the talks delivered by physicists in industry are amongst the most popular with our student participants and very enlightening to the rest of us. The participation of industrial physicists also provides job-networking opportunities of benefit both to industrial employers and students who may soon be seeking jobs in the area.

Annual Meeting

Participation at our annual meeting can vary from 100-250 depending on location. Our last meeting, held in downtown Vancouver, BC in October 2012 was hosted by Simon Fraser University. It had approximately 230 participants and set records for the number of talks and abstracts. After a poll of NWAPS members we are moving the annual meeting back to May on the calendar. The next NWAPS meeting will be at the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle in May 1st-3rd, 2014. More details can be found at We expect a very high turnout at this central location. Please consider coming!

In order to serve all of the Section, we have always attempted to host our meeting at a wide variety of locations and institutions across the region: from Banff to Eugene and from Victoria to Pocatello. Not only large universities but primarily undergraduate institutions, such Whitman College and Lewis & Clark, have hosted our meetings in the past. As we begin making plans for our Spring 2015 and 2016 meetings, please consider if your institution might be interested in hosting it and contact the NWAPS Executive Committee if interested.