APS April Meeting 2018

Highlighted Events

APS Annual Business Meeting
Friday, April 13
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Convention Center, A216

The meeting will feature presentations from APS leadership and provided members with an opportunity to ask questions in-person and online. Overview APS leaders, including the APS President, CEO, Editor in Chief, Treasurer, Publisher, and Speaker of the Council will provide an overview of the Society and priorities for 2018. Attendees (including virtual attendees) will have an opportunity to ask questions and share comments. The meeting will be live streamed online and recorded.



  • Kate Kirby, CEO
  • Roger Falcone, 2018 APS President
  • James Hollenhorst, Treasurer
  • Timothy Gay, Speaker of the Council
  • Michael Thoennessen, Editor in Chief
  • Matthew Salter, Publisher
  • Francis Slakey, Chief Government Affairs Officer

Kavli Foundation Keynote Plenary Session: A Feynman Century
Saturday, April 14
8:30 a.m. - 10:18 a.m.
Convention Center, Union Station Ballroom BC

Kavli Foundation

Being Feynman’s Curious Sister
Joan Feynman, Jet Propulsion Lab

After the atomic bomb was used to end the second-world war, my brother Richard Feynman thought that the civilization would be in danger of being destroyed within 5 years. Obviously he underestimated the timing. But now in addition to this dreadful possibility we are facing not only nuclear threats but also a possibility that the human influence on climate will destroy the civilization. Here, in addition to sharing some of my experiences as Feynman’s curious sister and decades of efforts that have increased and advanced women’s roles in science, I will talk about the occurring of climate changes that led and can lead to climate instability with destructive effects on society. We have excellent information on climate change from ice-core records hundreds of thousands of years long. Thus agriculture only began after the Younger Dryas event (10,600 YBP) when climate became stable. Apparently it was the stabilization of climate that permitted the development and practice of agriculture. The current global warming seems to be associated with climate instabilities (droughts, floods, etc). Is the death of ocean corals, extinction of some animal spices, and increasing number of extreme climate events an indication of the return to climate instability?

Quantum Computing and Feynman’s Opportunity
Christopher Monroe, University of Maryland

In 1959, Richard Feynman speculated what might happen if electrical circuits were made with individual atoms, noting the potential for “completely new opportunities for design.” His prophecy is now coming true in the guise of quantum computing, where entangled quantum superpositions of bits can be harnessed for certain hard computational problems. Feynman’s influence continued into the 1980s, where he imagined using quantum computers for simulating hard problems in quantum mechanics, from chemistry to nuclear structure. I will give a survey of this rapidly advancing field, which is now evolving from the laboratory to real devices.

Feynman's Footprints: Quantum Field Theory in Nuclear and Particle Physics
Roxanne Springer, Duke University

Feynman is well known for his path integral approach, his diagrams, and his "deviations from the beaten path." These are just three of his many gifts to us that continue to inspire new generations of scientists. Feynman was motivated to discover methods that both illuminate underlying truths as well as pragmatically yield correct predictions. Today such methods are called effective field theories (EFTs). In nuclear and particle physics alone these are now understood to encompass Feynman's work in QED and the V-A theory, for example; the standard model of QED, QCD, and electroweak theories; to physics beyond the standard model. Feynman's legacy is seen in current efforts to unite EFTs and numerical calculations, and in the collection of dedicated EFTs created to understand focused phenemona from low energy parity violation in weak interactions to high energy collisions in QCD, to pushing the boundaries of the standard model (SM) in "SMEFT." Any scientist can contribute to our understanding of the physical world by emulating some of what Feynman brought to his projects: high enthusiasm, hard work, strict integrity, constant curiosity, deep focus, constructive skepticism, scrupulous attention to detail, and joy in the process of discovery.
*U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Nuclear Physics, Award DE-FG02-05ER41368.

Welcome Reception & Poster Session I
Saturday, April 14
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Convention Center, Union Station Ballroom A

Meet with colleagues, evisit the poster session, and enjoy light refreshments. View the poster session

Exploring the Universe with Gravitational Waves (Public Lecture)
Saturday, April 14
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Convention Center, Union Station Ballroom BC

Join 2017 Nobel Prize Winner, Rainer Weiss, for an illuminating lecture that will explore the basic concepts of gravitational waves, the instruments and methods used for data analysis, and recent results in the field. Although it’s impossible to predict the full, long-term impact of the new observatories, you will leave with a vision for the future of gravitational wave astrophysics and astronomy.




Forum with Congressman/Physicist Bill Foster
Sunday, April 15
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Convention Center, Union Station Ballroom BC

An informal session with the only physicist in Congress, Representative Bill Foster (D-IL). Pick up a sandwich or takeout from one of the food outlets and discuss the status, outlook, and budget for science within the federal government with a Beltway insider.

Congressman Bill Foster

APS Prizes & Awards Ceremonial Session
Sunday, April 15
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Convention Center, A120-122

APS Prizes and Awards are presented for outstanding contributions to physics. All are welcome to join us in honoring these remarkable physicists.

Reading of the Play Flight
Sunday, April 15
8:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Hilton Columbus, George Bellows EF

In the play Flight, the playwright doesn’t claim it happened exactly this way; he has just taken five real-life characters and some basic biographical facts and supposed what it was like for the airplane pioneers Orville and Wilbur growing up in the dysfunctional Wright family. The play explores the lives of the Wright family in warm and comic theatrical terms.

The playwright, Arthur Giron, is the co-playwright of the recent 2015 Broadway Musical, Amazing Grace. The staged reading is performed by the Available Light Theatre Company of Columbus, Ohio. The play director, some of the actors, as well as a technology-historian, will be available for a discussion after the play reading. Produced by Brian Schwartz, CUNY and Smitha Vishveshwara, University of Illinois. Sponsored by: The Forum on the History of Physics and The Forum on Outreach and Engaging the Public.

Plenary Session II: From Nuclear Security to Neutron-star Mergers
Monday, April 16
8:30 a.m. - 10:18 a.m.
Convention Center, Union Station Ballroom BC

Physics and the Government: Navigating Science Policy and Nuclear Security
Njema Frazier, NNSA, U.S. Dept. of Energy

As more and more scientists choose non-traditional career paths, it is vital that the scientific community understand the role that science plays every sector: academia, industry, non-profit, and government. As a former Hill staffer with the US House of Representatives, Committee on Science and as a current physicist with the US Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Dr. Frazier will detail her knowledge and experience as a physicist and 20-year veteran of the Federal Government. She will share the ins and outs of science policy and share why it is critical to have the best and brightest scientists bring their skills and attributes to the political world. She will also cover the various roles for scientists and engineers in the Nuclear Weapons Complex, with a focus on the scientific organizations, capabilities, and functions in NNSA's Office of Defense Programs. In covering NNSA Defense Programs, it will become abundantly clear that the country requires scientists and engineers in every area, from programs within Headquarters Offices to National Laboratories and associated university laboratories and academic programs spread throughout the US.

Testing General Relativity Using a Pulsar in a Triple System
Anne Archibald, Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy

The millisecond pulsar PSR J0337+1715 is in a 1.6-day orbit with an inner white dwarf companion, and the pair is in a 327-day orbit with an outer white dwarf companion. This hierarchical triple provides an excellent laboratory to test a key idea of Einstein's theory of gravity, the strong equivalence principle (SEP): do all objects, even those with strong gravity like neutron stars, fall the same way in the same gravitational field? Almost all alternative theories of gravity predict violations of the SEP at some level. We have carried out an intensive program of timing this pulsar, and we are able to perform a very sensitive test of the SEP. I will discuss our methods, our result, and its theoretical implications.
*Supported by an NWO Veni fellowship

Discovery, Characterization and Physics Implications of the electromagnetic signatures of GW170817
Marcelle Soares-Santos, Brandeis University

GW170817 was the first binary neutron star merger observed with gravitational wave detectors. The impact of this much anticipated event was greatly amplified by subsequent observation of their electromagnetic signatures in multiple wavelengths. In this talk, I present the discovery of the electromagnetic counterpart of GW170817 and discuss its astrophysical properties and physics implications. Such implications touch several fields, from astrophysics to cosmology. I also overview the landscape of this world-wide community enterprise and discuss prospects for future discoveries.

Strategic Planning Town Hall Meeting
Monday, April 16
3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Convention Center, B130

We want to hear from you!

The APS leadership is undertaking a new Strategic Planning initiative this year. Meet with APS President Roger Falcone and CEO Kate Kirby to learn about the initiative and more importantly, have the opportunity to provide your input and thoughts about the future direction of APS.

If you are unable to attend the town hall meeting or would like to submit a question or comment beforehand, please use the form below.

Submit a Question or Comment

Roger Falcone

Roger Falcone, 2018 APS President

Kate Kirby

Kate Kirby, APS CEO

Plenary Session III: APS Medal & Nobel Prize Winners
Tuesday, April 17
8:30 a.m. - 10:18 a.m.
Convention Center, Union Station Ballroom BC

APS Medal for Excellence in Physics Talk: Magnetic dissipation and field-line topology
Eugene Parker, University of Chicago

It is widely believed that the dissipation of magnetic fields in stars and galaxies is a major cause of so much suprathermal gas, as in solar and stellar flares, coronae, winds, and X-ray filaments. However, this magnetic dissipation hypothesis can be correct only if the magnetic stresses are effective in pushing the magnetic field and suprathermal gas to form local current sheets and rapid magnetic reconnection, We consider here what initial nonequilibrium field line topologies are conducive to the general development of current sheets. Using an idealized model of the field line topology, we consider the equilibrium of the magnetic stresses. We show that almost all field line topologies relax to a final equilibrium solution containing current sheets, i.e. surfaces of tangential discontinuity, while the topological set of continuous solutions is of measure zero by comparison. That is to say, almost all interwoven field line topologies, expected in the magnetic loops extending out from the convecting photosphere of the Sun, contain internal current sheets and rapid reconnection as a direct consequence of their internal topology. So dissipation of magnetic field occurs by rapid reconnection throughout, and is inescapable in the relaxation to equilibrium for almost all magnetic field line topologies. The overall dissipation rate depends on the strength of the interweaving of course.

LIGO and Gravitational Waves I
Rainer Weiss, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Between this talk and the next by Barry Barish, we will give a contracted version of the Nobel Prize 2017 talks that were given by Weiss, Barish and Thorne. The intent is to begin with a little history of the field of gravitational wave detection. Follow with some of the basic ideas describing the waves and their detection. Present the recent discoveries and finally talk about the future directions of the field of gravitational waves and multi-messenger astronomy.

LIGO and Gravitational Waves II 
Barry Barish, California Institute of Technology

This presentation will be a continuation of the talk by Rai Weiss - LIGO and Gravitational Waves I. Key technical innovations that led to the detection of gravitational waves by Advanced LIGO will be described, a review of the first detections discussed, an update of recent results will be given, and a glimpse at future plans and opportunities.