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More than 50 senior physicists gathered at the American Center for Physics in College Park, Md., for an initial planning session. Many of the attendees expressed interest in working in physics education, from communicating the excitement of physics to students in primary grades to mentoring and discussing science careers with older students. Other physicists at the meeting suggested writing autobiographies to document the history of physics, conducting government studies, creating a lecture series for other physicists, lobbying government officials on behalf of the American Physical Society, providing material for physics Web sites and hosting social get-togethers.
Judy Franz, APS Executive Officer, welcomed the senior physicists and described some of the current APS programs for education. Trish Lettieri, manager of the APS membership department, facilitated the meeting.
Dick Strombotne, who served as the meeting moderator, was the first to propose that APS sponsor such a session. Efforts to organize the meeting began in mid-September, when the Society mailed about 900 letters to senior and retired members age 60 and older who live in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
To capitalize on the success of the brainstorming session, a small planning group of senior physicist has met twice since to sort through and organize the ideas. This planning group will continue to meet as they work to generate practical ways for implementing the many suggestions. Because
many of the attendees of the original meeting were interested in contributing to physics education, the group is organizing a workshop/forum where Washington, D.C.-area where senior physicists can learn about current programs as well as discuss problems in education and ways they can help.
For more information about activities for senior physicists, contact Dick Strombotne c/o Judy Franz at APS.
The newly appointed APS Task Force on Physics Today as an APS Member Benefit will begin its work to evaluate the content and style of Physics Today, with the main goal of suggesting ways in which the magazine could better serve the diverse interests of the Society's membership. The majority of APS members see Physics Today as one of the most important member benefits, and it is important for the APS that the magazine serves its members well.
The task force will meet at least once with the editor of Physics Today and other key people at the American Institute of Physics involved in producing the magazine. As background material, results from a three-year-old survey of members of AIP societies concerning Physics Today will be consulted. A new AIP survey is underway and as results become available they will be shared with the task force.
The task force will remain in existence for up to one year, but it is expected that most of the work will be completed by the April 17, 1998 Council meeting. Members wishing to express their views about Physics Today are invited to forward them to the task force chairman, Burton Richter of Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Other members of the task force are Julia Phillips, Sandia National Laboratories; Ray Baughman, Allied Signal; Jon Pribram, Bates College; Ron Walsworth, Smithsonian Astronomical Observatory; and John Wilkins, Ohio State University.
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