APS News

November 2003 (Volume 12, Number 10)

APS Creates Task Force on Research Collaboration with Africa

In order to strengthen ties between US and African physicists, the APS has established a Task Force on Research Collaboration with Africa. Chaired by David Ernst (Vanderbilt University), the task force's principal goal is to explore the feasibility of creating an exchange program and secure funding for it. To that end, task force members will first research existing programs that promote interactions with Africa. They will also establish a list of interested APS members and corresponding interested physicists in Africa for possible future exchanges.

Latin America has been a major focus of APS international outreach for several years, but Ernst says the time is right to expand that scope to Africa. "There's a sense that at least some areas of Africa are moving forward at a more rapid rate than in the past," he says, citing plans to construct telescopes and laser centers as evidence of a region ripe for the development of a strong scientific enterprise. "There's also interest in Africa from US funding agencies and foundations, and more resources are becoming available."

The idea for the task force grew out of discussions APS President Myriam Sarachik had with colleagues regarding how African colleagues suffered from feelings of isolation once they returned from training, research, or schooling abroad, and had difficulty keeping current with scientific developments and maintaining contacts with US research programs. Getting equipment to centers in Africa in dire need of it is another challenge, both because of high transport costs and the need to train African colleagues in the use of new equipment.

Sarachik believes the APS can play a role in establishing better communications between the two communities and in developing and implementing exchange programs, but the Society lacks the major resources such a project would require-hence the focus on identifying existing collaborative programs to which the APS could contribute. Europe, for example, has many active programs already in place, including those supported by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the Swedish International Development Agency, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy among others.

The other task force members are S. James Gates, University of Maryland, College Park; Katharine Gebbie, National Institute of Standards and Technology; Kennedy Reed, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and Bruce Barrett, University of Arizona.

APS members interested in participating in an African exchange program should send their name, address, phone, FAX and e-mail to Michele Irwin, APS Office of International Affairs, mirwin@aps.org. Thoughts or suggestions for the task force itself should be sent directly to the task force members.

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette

November 2003 (Volume 12, Number 10)

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Articles in this Issue
APS Members Choose Bahcall as New Vice President in 2003 Election
Physics Departments Endorse Statement on Education of Teachers
Automatic Visa Revalidation Solves Most March Meeting Visa Problems
Use of Shock Waves in Medicine Among Highlights of 2003 SCCM Conference
Revolutionary Breakthroughs Needed for Hydrogen Economy
APS Creates Task Force on Research Collaboration with Africa
Physical Review Focus Fans Include Teachers and Undergrads
Simple Physics can be Useful in Understanding Real-World Issues
Nanoneurosurgery, Bio Scans and Home Holograms Featured at 2003 OSA/DLS Conference
Six Physicists Honored at October, November Unit Meetings
NRC Committee Requests Imput from High Magnetic Field Science Community
The Back Page
Members in the Media
This Month in Physics History
Ask the Ethicist
Zero Gravity: The Lighter Side of Science