An Open Invitation to APS Members to Form Iranian-American Physicists Network Group

By Hamid Javadi

Formation of a network group for US physicists with Iranian heritage appears to be timely. Already, three distinct groups form a nucleus for US physicists with Chinese, Korean, and Indian cultural heritage–the Oversees Chinese Physics Association (OCPA), American Chapter of the Indian Physics Association (ACIPA), and Association of Korean Physicists in America (AKPA). Each of these groups has established bylaws which govern their activities.

In the same way that those organizations have enhanced linkages throughout their community, this article intends to be an open invitation to all APS members that respect diversity and value dialog, to form an Iranian-American Physicists (IrAP) network group.

First, some personal thoughts as an Iranian-American physicist, regarding the motivation for creating such a network:

It is important to nurture diversity in its true sense. Some cultures may not be equipped to deal with challenges of the future. The key to success in the field of science is also open-mindedness and high receptivity. While our political world today does not always portray tolerance, I believe that the human spirit heralds a bright and friendly future for all of us.

Diversity resonates with teachings of Sufism (the inner or esoteric dimension of Islam [1]) that tolerates aspect of human endeavors as manifestation of ubiquitous God. Molana
Jalal-e-Din Mohammad Molavi Rumi (Iran’s most revered poet, 1207-1283 A.D.) drove these teachings to the heart and mind of many generations of Iranians. He promoted the idea that every thing (no matter how insignificant it may seem) is important and valuable as it plays its role in God’s arena. Rumi in one of his celebrated poems; “The Elephant in the Dark House” [2] describes many individuals who enter a dark room where an elephant is kept. Each person learns about the animal from his/her point of reference, namely the elephant’s specific anatomy that he/she has touched. The tales of observers are widely different but the whole picture comes only when one combines their descriptions.

This poem addresses the variation of human perceptions of the world and to an extent can be applied to a physicist’s approach in understanding the world. To be accurate though, science starts with hypothesis and solidifies when it is confirmed with observation. As such, science is a precise endeavor of the human being.

This digression brings me to enumerate the goals of the proposed Iranian-American Physicists (IrAP) network group in promoting diversity and dialogue. Such an organization would endeavor to:

1. Provide the focal point and an arena for Iranian-American physicists who wish to broaden their professional/personal lives with cultural/historical/ancestral ties.

2. Welcome all interested members of APS who wish to join the IrAP network group.

3. Facilitate concerted efforts by its members in specific inter-disciplinary fields regarding:

  • Addressing the needs of developing and poor countries (sustainable economic development, general health, epidemics).
  • Influencing policy-makers regarding their decisions when concerned with earthquake prediction and environmental protection.

4. Enhance the role of physics in expanding the coverage, increasing effectiveness, and popularity in utilization and application of the scientific thinking and its methods.

5. Emphasize physics education and its impact on societies.

6. Advocate physics as a tool in expanding democracy.

7. Build upon the image of a universal physics to achieve world peace.

8. Increase the interaction between its members and diverse cultures of the world with emphasis on humanity.

9. Unify the voices of Iranian-American physicists and give them a formal avenue to publicize their aspirations or to raise their concerns.

10. Provide a positive role model for members of the young Iranian immigrant community striving to assimilate with their newly adopted home, and trying to find their new identities without losing positive aspects of their cultural heritage.

11. Establish scholarship and awards to honor talented young physicists.

12. Provide guidance and mentorship to the students of physics and science.

13. Organize public lectures and events, interviews with Iranian public media in exile, and issue news and timely public announcements to raise physics awareness and the role of science within the Iranian immigrant communities across USA.

14. Recognize individuals who have contributed to humanity, world peace, and general human well-being with their research in science (specifically physics).

15. Honor individuals who have defended scientific thinking and freedom of thought around the world.

16. Stand bold and strong against injustice and discrimination against minorities and individuals. Oppose deception (especially scientific fraud).

This list is not exhaustive and is meant only as a suggestion. The goals of the proposed Iranian-American Physicists network group will be determined by its member-elected representatives.

Hamid Javadi is in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Submillimeter Wave Advanced Technology Group.

Note from the author: I will offer my service to be the point of contact until the IrAP network group establishes itself. Please forward your suggestions and membership requests to my email address: Likewise, you can obtain more information about the aforementioned associations on the web:


  1. “Al-Serat, The Interior Life in Islam,” Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr,

  2. “Blind Men and the Elephant” legend has originated from the Pali Buddhist Udana. Excerpts of “The Elephant in the Dark” poem can be found in Also see P. Dunn, M. M. Dunn, “The Illustrated Rumi, A Treasury of Wisdom from the Poet of the Soul” ISBN: 006062017X, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY (2000)

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Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff

August/September 2006 (Volume 15, Number 8)

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Articles in this Issue
APS Awards 27 Minority Scholarships for 2006-2007
Student Member Survey Fosters Two-Way Communication
Outreach Project Seeks APS Member Volunteers
"A New World View" Hits the Road
Blewett Scholarship Helps Mother of Two Return to Full-Time Research
High School Teachers Conduct Gravity-Defying Experiments
All Aboard the "Vomit Comet"
US Team Garners 4 Gold, 1 Silver at Physics Olympiad in Singapore
Letters from the Middle East
Professional Skills Development for Women Physicists
Viewpoint: Wen Ho Lee's Settlement
Inside the Beltway
The Back Page
Members in the Media
This Month in Physics History
International News
Ask the Ethicist