APS Annual Leadership Meeting


Thursday, February 4 & Saturday, February 6, 2021
All times Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5)

Online Anywhere

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The APS Annual Leadership Meeting will feature talks by prominent science leaders, including APS CEO Jonathan Bagger, 2021 APS President Jim Gates, and more. Registration is free and connection information will be available on February 3.

Featured Speakers

Jon Bagger

Jonathan Bagger


Jim Gates ALM

Sylvester James Gates, Jr.

2021 APS President


Alan Alda
Stony Brook University, founder of Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science

April Burke

April Burke
Lewis-Burke Associates LLC

Cailin O’Connor

Cailin O’Connor
University of California, Irvine, author The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread



Brian Greene
Columbia University

Kip Thorne

Kip Thorne
California Institute of Technology

Thursday, February 4

11:30 a.m. Opening Address
Jonathan Bagger, APS CEO
Sylvester James Gates, Jr., APS President
12:00 Noon

Thriving physics departments: Proactive steps to take in difficult economic times
The new economics of higher education, changing demographics, and the economic wake of COVID-19 compel universities to reconsider how education survives and thrives. Join us for perspectives from faculty and administrative leaders, followed by small group discussions on how physics departments can take a proactive stance to adapt, grow, and thrive in this new environment.

This 2-part session will include a moderated panel, followed by topical breakout discussions.

Panel Moderators:
Frances Hellman, APS President Elect
Ted Hodapp, APS Director of Project Development

Bob Birgeneau, University of California, Berkeley
Mike Dubson, University of Colorado, Boulder
Courtney Lannert, Smith College and University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Kevin Pitts, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Willie Rockward, Morgan State University

Topical Breakout Sessions:

  1. Departments threatened with closure
    Co-hosts: Courtney Lannert, Smith College and University of Massachusetts - Amherst, and Jim Borgardt , Juniata College
  2. Using program review as a tool to improve your department and save time
    Co-hosts: David Craig, Oregon State University, Ted Hodapp, APS
  3. Understanding administrative perspective
    Co-hosts: Bob Birgeneau, University of California, Berkeley, Mike Jackson, Millersville University
  4. Building respect between administration and physics faculty
    Co-hosts: Willie Rockward, Morgan State University, and Frances Hellman, University of California, Berkeley
  5. Building respect between instruction-focused faculty and research-focused faculty
    Host: Mike Dubson, University of Colorado Boulder
  6. Department culture affects everything: Why your culture matters and how to make it better
    Co-hosts: Mary James, Reed College, Cathy Mader, Hope College
  7. Preparing for the evolving dynamics of university finance constraints
    Host: Kevin Pitts, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
2:00 p.m. Break
2:30 p.m. Effecting Change: Individual Actions and Leadership
Interactive Webinar
This webinar, designed as part of the American Physical Society Annual Leadership Meeting, focuses on how individuals can lead to effect change, particularly to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The discussion will begin with motivation—in this case, self-reflections on the value of diversity. We will then learn from the experiences of individual activists who have worked to increase DEI in physics, and will end with a discussion of how individuals can support organizational change.

Ed Bertschinger, TEAM-UP & APS-IDEA
Nadya Mason, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Lance Cooper, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Jessica Esquivel, Fermilab
Arlene Knowles, American Institute of Physics
Michelle Lollie, Louisiana State University
Brian Nord, Fermilab
Gina Quan, San Jose State University
Brian Shuve, Harvey Mudd College
Risa Wechsler, Stanford University
4:30 p.m. Break
5:00 p.m.

APS Medal & Society Prize Ceremony
Presentation of the society’s top honors and the premiere of a short documentary film which offers a glimpse into the lives and work of the honorees.
Hosted by: Jonathan Bagger, APS CEO & Sylvester James Gates, Jr., APS President

Gordon Baym, 2021 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research

William M. Jackson, 2021 Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize

Vedika Khemani, 2021 George E. Valley, Jr. Prize

6:00 p.m. Adjourn


Saturday, February 6

12:00 Noon

Communicating Science to Nonscientists in Post-Election & Post-Pandemic America
We live in a polarized society in which there is widespread ignorance, confusion, and mistrust of science, as epitomized by our abysmal response to the Covid Pandemic. A major effort is needed to mitigate this - an effort that focuses not only on students, but on American adults and policy makers. We must communicate the beauty, excitement, methods, and power of science not only to those of our fellow citizens who are receptive to science, but perhaps more importantly to those who are highly resistant. The challenge, strategies, tools and methods for this quest will be discussed.

Webinar - Speaker:
Kip Thorne, California Institute of Technology

Panel Discussion - Panelists:

  • Brian Greene, Columbia University physicist, and Co-Founder & Chairman of the World Science Festival
  • Alan Alda, Stony Brook University, and founder of the Alan Alda Center for Science Communication
  • April Burke, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Congressional lobbyist for LIGO, Fermilab, and other science organizations
  • Cailin O’Connor, UC Irvine philosopher of science; expert on communicating science to science-resistant communities
1:15 p.m Break
1:45 p.m.

Physics Slam
Rapid fire physics talks from student and early career scientists

Chair: Roger Falcone, 2020 Leroy Apker Award Selection Committee Chair


2:30 p.m. Break
3:00 p.m. Federal Policies to Strengthen Science in Service to the Nation

Moderator: Miles O'Brien, Science Correspondent, PBS NewsHour

Representative Bill Foster (IL, 11th District)
Former Representative Bart Gordon (TN, 6th District)
Sir Peter Knight, Imperial College London
Neal Lane, Rice University, former OSTP Director/Science Advisor to President Clinton, former NSF Director
Sethuraman Panchanathan, Director of the National Science Foundation
Ellen Williams, University of Maryland, former Director of ARPA-E
5:00 p.m. Adjourn

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