2019 Innovation Fund Recipients

As part of the APS Strategic Plan: 2019, the APS Innovation Fund was created, which encourages collaborative partnerships among APS members, APS Units and Committees, and APS staff to develop new approaches to advancing the interests of the physics community. These four novel projects align with the APS mission “to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics for the benefit of humanity, promote physics, and service the broader physics community”.

The four projects receiving Innovation Fund grants in 2019 are:

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More Humane APS Meetings through Machine Learning

This project would test whether machine learning and natural language processing could help improve the member experience at APS gatherings with the goal of helping attendees accurately identify relevant talks, and plan their schedules more effectively as well as to aid meeting organizers in sorting abstracts to reduce overlap of related talks.

Project Lead: Tim Atherton (Tufts University)

APS Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (APS-IDEA)

This project will bring together representatives from about 30 physics departments to form a national leadership network to exchange ideas, explore effective practices, and develop strategic plans to support equity, diversity, and inclusion with physics. By leveraging existing initiatives of APS and other organizations, the goal is to transform the culture of physics to advance equity, promote diversity, and establish an inclusive profession.

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Project Leads: Edmund Bertschinger (MIT), Geoff Potvin (Florida International University), and Monica Plisch (APS Programs Director)

Informing and Activating the US Physics Community in Nuclear Threat Reduction

In addition to concerns about existing nuclear arsenals, international tensions continue to rise over the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation. This project will educate and reengage the powerful voice of the physics community and the APS membership on this pressing and globally important issue. A team of experts will visit physics institutions, present overviews, conduct discussions, and build a coalition of volunteers to advocate for nuclear threat reduction measures.

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Project Leads: Stewart Prager, Alex Glaser, Zia Mian, Frank von Hippel (Princeton University), and Steven Fetter (University of Maryland)

US – Africa Initiative in Electronic Structure

Strengthening relationships throughout the international physics community is a core part of the APS mission. This project will create a platform for collaborations between African and US physicists in the form of workshops for participants to meet and identify common interests in the field of electronic structure calculations. The first workshop will take place in Africa, followed by a second workshop in the US, after which African researchers will visit a US-based research group to give seminars and collaborate on a research project.

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Project Leads: Omololu Akin-Ojo (East African Institute for Fundamental Research, Rwanda), Richard Martin (University of Illinois), and Renata Wentzcovitch (Columbia University)