View from the Chair

Esen Ercan Alp

Esen Ercan Alp
Photo Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

It is a distinct honor and pleasure to welcome you to the spring 2014 Newsletter, as this year’s Chair of the Forum on International Physics.  As always, our Editor, Ernie Malamud, has prepared a great issue with articles from several contributors and diverse points of view. I would like to thank him for his relentless pursuit and dedication.

FIP is your platform to bring issues that are related to you as members of the APS that has an international dimension. We are eager to hear from you, receive your suggestions. Or even better, please volunteer to serve on any capacity you feel you can contribute.

International Developments

In line with one of the key elements of the APS Strategic Plan, as presented to the Unit Convocation in February 2013 by Kate Kirby, the APS’s Executive Director, FIP feels a renewed mission to increase the participation of our international members in the governance of the American Physical Society. This includes more participation at the Division and Forum levels, membership at the chair-line, as well as more invited speakers at the Society’s March and April meetings.

FIP takes these objectives seriously. In the March and April 2014 meetings, FIP is organizing and co-sponsoring several exciting sessions that are closely related to our international members.

In particular, for the March 2014 meeting in Denver, Colorado, we have the following sessions:

1. Visa and Immigration Policies for 21st Century Science, Chair: Amy Flatten, Director of International Affairs, APS, Room: 703 (See article by Flatten and Teich in this issue)

2. Condensed Matter Physics in China, Chair: Esen Alp, Argonne National Laboratory
Tuesday, March 04, 2014, 11:15 am, Room: 703. The invited speakers are: Yupeng Wang, Chinese Academy of Science, Enge Wang, President of Peking University, Changqing Jin, Chinese Academy of Science, Hong Ding, Chinese Academy of Science, Lu Yu, Chinese Academy of Science (See the section on March and April meeting)

3. We are co-sponsoring a session: Twentieth-Century Chinese Physicists and Physics, Thursday March 06, 2014, 14:30 pm, Sponsoring Units: FHP, FIP, Chair: Danian Hu, City College of New York Room: 709/711. The invited speakers are:  Xhu Yuelin, Harvard University “Chien-Shiung Wu: An Icon of Physicist and Woman Scientist in China”, Yin Xiadong, Capital Normal University, China,  Beller Award, “Chinese Physicists Educated in Great Britain During the First Half of the 20th Century” Tian Yu Cao, Boston University “Mao and Physics Research in China in the 1950s-1960s: the H-bomb Project and the Straton Model”, Liu Bing, Tsinghua University “Some Problems in the Competition of High-temperature Superconductivity Research During the Late 1980s”, and Liu Jinyan, Chinese Academy of Science “A Brief History of the Institute of Theoretical Physics in the Chinese Academy of Sciences Since 1978”

For the April 2014 meeting in Savannah, Georgia, we have also lined up some exciting speakers in these sessions:

Session E13 Saturday, April 5, 3:30 PM room 101
Sakharov Prize Session
  • Boris Alshuler, P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences “Sakharov Prize Talk: Creativity of Physicists in the Struggle for Human Rights”
  • Omid Kokabee, Evin Prison, Tehran, CITATION “For his courage in refusing to use his physics knowledge to work on projects that he deemed harmful to humanity, in the face of extreme physical psychological pressure.” (Kokabee has been imprisoned since 2011)
  • Herb Berk, University of Texas at Austin, “Free Omid Kokabee; Science Interrupted”
SessionJ10 Sunday, April 6, 10:45 AM room 204
Large Scale International Facilities I: Photon sources
Chaired by Esen Alp, Argonne National Laboratory,
Chair, APS Forum on International Physics
  • Uwe Bergman, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, “Linear Coherent Light Source: The Upgrade Path”
  • Serguei Molodtsov, EuropeanXFEL, GMBH,  “EuroXFEL: An x-ray Free Electron Laser”
  • Mikael Eriksson, Max IV Laboratory, Lund University, “MAX IV: Design and Construction of a New Generation Storage Ring”
Session K10 Sunday, April 6, 1:30 PM room 204
Large Scale International Facilities II: Particle Accelerators
Chaired by Christine Darve, European Spallation Source
  • Jim Yeck, European Spallation Source,“European Spallation Source and Neutron Science”
  • Tetsuya Ishikawa, RIKEN SPring-8 Center, “SPring-8 and SACLA Plans for the Future”

Support for Collaborative International Work

The International Travel Grant Award Program is sponsored by FIP and we oversee the proposal evaluations. I want to thank Ed Berger, the incoming vice-chair who will handle the proposals this year. The intent of ITGAP is to promote international scientific collaborations between APS members and physicists in developing countries. The award is up to US $2,000 for travel and lodging expenses for international travel, which can be used in 5 years after it is granted. We encourage our members to consider applying with their international partners. For more information, please go to the International Travel Grant Program page. With support from many units in APS and the leadership and support of the leadership of the Office of International Affairs, the ITGAP program increased the number of awards from 3 to 5, thanks to additional financial contributions from FIP and APS.  Since it was initiated in 2004, more than 60 awards have been made. We are glad that this program continues strong and with excellent outcomes.

As you may know, APS is also in the midst of an expansion in the number of International Councilors.  The current two (of the planned four) are Annick Suzor-Weiner (University Paris Sud) and Marcia Barbosa (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, UFRGS, in Brazil).  We have extended invitations for them to join our FIP meetings whenever possible and offered our help in communicating with the FIP membership.  We are very excited by these developments, as they strengthen the international mission of the APS.  I urge you to heed the yearly call for nominations of new officers, including the election of a new International Councilor.  It is important that we nominate excellent candidates to join those already elected and enhance the voice of international concerns within the APS Council.

Thank You and Welcome!

The start of the year brings new faces to the FIP Executive Committee. We welcome to the Chair-Elect, Ed Berger from Argonne National Laboratory, and new Vice Chair, Maria Spiropulu of Caltech. She will be in line to succeed Ed Berger as Chair in 2016. We are also glad to welcome two new Members-at-Large, Maria Longobardi of the University of Geneva, and Susan Seestrom of Los Alamos National Laboratory; they will serve until December 2016. Our new Councilor is Young-Kee Kim of the University of Chicago.  We look forward to their contributions

FIP is also fortunate to have continued services of Noemi Mirkin, University of Michigan, who serves as Secretary/Treasurer. She is the person we turn to for institutional memory.  We are thankful for her years of excellent service carrying out the tasks performed in this position as well as overseeing the Forum's finances. 

Acknowledgements are due to the departing members of the Executive Committee for their efforts with FIP: Past Chair William Barletta Director of the USPAS as well as on the faculties of MIT, UCLA and Ljubljana, and Members-at-Large Carl Akerloff of the University of Michigan and Eugene Chudnovsky of CUN Y-Lehman College and Herman Winick of SLAC.

This Year

I look forward to a year of new efforts at FIP.  I believe it is important that we listen to your ideas and concerns.  A great opportunity to meet is at the upcoming FIP reception, which will take place during the 2014 March Meeting in Denver, CO.  Apart from meeting many FIP members, and to meet and congratulate some of the newly elected APS Fellows nominated by FIP, the reception gives us the opportunity to gather with colleagues from several overseas physics groups who share many of our interests. See the announcement in this newsletter.  We look forward to seeing you there!

For those not attending the March Meeting, I invite you to drop an email to me ( or any of the Executive Committee members.  We want to hear your ideas for initiatives, newsletter articles, or anything else on your mind.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Esen Ercan Alp is a Senior Scientist at the Advanced Photon Source of Argonne National Laboratory. His interests, apart from international affairs are x-ray spectroscopy, x-ray optics, and synchrotron radiation.  He also serves as the Chair of the International Scientific Advisory Committee of Turkish Accelerator Center project, as well as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of SESAME, the synchrotron light project for the Middle East.

Disclaimer - The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on International Physics Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS.