Report from the APS International Affairs Office (INTAF)

Amy Flatten


It is a pleasure to begin 2015 by thanking the members of the Forum on International Physics (FIP) for their contributions to the international programs of the APS. The partnership between FIP and the APS International Affairs Office (INTAF) has launched programs that have served our fellow APS members and our physics colleagues worldwide.

As FIP members are well aware, physics is international in nature. Many of you may not realize, however, that 23% of APS members live outside of the United States. To serve our international members, as well as the international physics community, INTAF partnered with FIP and with organizations across the globe to offer exchanges, travel awards, and training programs.

In looking back over the past year, a few opportunities stand out — these are ongoing, sustainable programs to which FIP members and other physicists may wish to apply in the future. For example, in partnership with the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) and the Sociedade Brasileira de Física (SBF), APS offered the Brazil & India Physics Ph.D. Student & Professor Exchange Programs. These exchange programs enabled graduate students and post-docs to work overseas with a professor in his/her field of study, and funded senior physicists to teach a short course or deliver a lecture series in the other country. Watch for our next call for proposals for the Brazil program in the spring. The India program will issue a call for proposals this coming fall. All of these and more are announced on our website:

The Society continues to bring international physicists to speak at APS meetings through both the Marshak and Beller Lectureships, which support distinguished physicists from the developed and developing countries respectively. Here, Chairs of APS Units are invited to submit nominations for international speakers during their sessions at the March and April meetings. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Beller and Marshak Lectureship Recipients for 2015:

Beller Lectureships:
  • Professor Michael Coey, Trinity College Dublin
    Nominated by the Topical Group on Magnetism and its Applications (GMAG)
  • Professor Balasubramanian Iyer, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, India
    Nominated by the Topical Group in Gravitation (GGR)
  • Professor Karin Jacobs, University of Saarland, Germany
    Nominated by the Division of Materials Physics (DMP)
Marshak Lectureship
  • Dr. Giorgio Paolucci, SESAME, Jordan
    Nominated by the Forum on Graduate Student Affairs (FGSA)


pie chart showing percentage of APS members who live outside the USLikewise, the APS also partnered with scientific societies in Europe and the United States toward the SESAME Travel Award Program that supports training opportunities for scientists in the Middle East. The SESAME project — the synchrotron light source under construction in Amman, Jordan — brings together physicists from Arab countries & Israel for international scientific collaboration and serves as a wonderful example of science for diplomacy.

In partnership with the UK Institute of Physics (IOP) and the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the APS continued to co-sponsor the Entrepreneurship Workshops for Physicists and Engineers in Developing Countries. This past year, the partners co-sponsored workshops in Trieste, Ghana and Kenya. The Society also underscored its ongoing commitment to developing country physicists through its International Travel Grant Award Program (ITGAP), which supports developing scientists’ travel to visit collaborators in developed countries. As some of you may already know, FIP and INTAF launched ITGAP in 2004, and it has grown over the past decade to include financial contributions from every APS Division and many APS Topical Groups.

Through the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, and the APS Committee on International Freedom of Scientists (CIFS), APS advocated for the human rights of scientists in the US and around the world. The APS also remains vigilant regarding important US Government policies that impact international scientific collaboration and will continue to work with federal leaders to ensure national security concerns do not unduly restrict scientific research with international colleagues.

Along with reflecting upon this past year’s activities of INTAF and FIP, I look forward to the upcoming events of this New Year. As some of you may remember from my column in the last issue of the FIP newsletter, the American Physical Society (APS) and the Chinese Physical Society (CPS) have been working to bring together young physicists from our two countries. As many graduate students from the United States and China already plan to attend the 2015 APS March Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, the APS and CPS will hold a “U.S.-China Young Physicists Forum” on February 28 - March 1, 2015 (the weekend before the March Meeting officially begins on Monday, March 2.)

The U.S.-China Young Physicists Forum will combine scientific sessions with career development and networking opportunities for graduate students, with each country sending 30 students (60 total for this meeting). The meeting will span a day and a half, and focus upon Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Physics graduate students. Through special topical and technical sessions, it will provide graduate students from the United States and China with a broader view of physics beyond their own classrooms and laboratories. Moreover, the event will foster an appreciation for international scientific collaboration and networking among young physics researchers, and promote long-term connections among graduate students from our two countries. 

In fact, FIP Past-Chair, Ercan Alp, serves on the Advisory Committee for the US-China Young Physicists Forum. We hope that the event will instill in these young physicists an even greater appreciation for the global nature of physics — an understanding shared by all FIP members. Hopefully, we can host some of the student participants at the FIP reception at this 2015 March Meeting.

Lastly, I want to say thank you again to all of the FIP members that have taken an interest in the APS international programs over this past year, and to those that are helping me to build the programs we will share in the upcoming year. I look forward to seeing some of you at the upcoming APS March and April Meetings.

Dr. Amy Flatten is Director of International Affairs at the American Physical Society.

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.