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Edmond L Berger
This is my second report to you as Chair of the Forum on International Physics (FIP) of the American Physical Society (APS). In 2016, Maria Spiropulu advances to Chair, and I graduate to Past-Chair.
The organization of invited paper sessions at APS General Meetings is one of our principal activities. At the 2015 March Meeting in San Antonio, March 2 - 6, the theme of the FIP sessions was “Condensed Matter Physics in Latin America,” with invited speakers from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. Executive Committee member Alejandro De Lozanne played a key role in the organization of these March sessions. The speakers did an outstanding job of communicating, and audience participation was lively. However, I must confess to being disappointed by the turnout of FIP members. Let’s do better in future years. We also hosted a very well attended and spirited FIP reception on March 3. Photos taken at the reception appear elsewhere in this Newsletter.
For the 2015 April Meeting in Baltimore, April 11 – 14, Maria Spiropulu and I organized two sessions on “Models of International Partnership,” with invited speakers reporting on the organization and management of international collaborative efforts in astrophysics, particle physics, nuclear physics, fusion, and gravity research. The speakers were David Gross (Santa Barbara), Sergio Bertolucci (CERN), Joseph Lykken (Fermilab), Thomas Glasmacher (FRIB, Michigan State), Roger Blandford (Stanford), Robert Iotti (Chair, ITER Council), and Gabriela Gonzalez (LIGO Spokesperson). A panel discussion followed these presentations. The Panel included all the speakers plus William Colglazier (recently the Science and Technology Adviser to the US Secretary of State), Saul Gonzalez of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and James Siegrist of the DOE Office of High Energy Physics. In addition, at the April meeting FIP co-sponsored an invited paper session with the Division of Physics of Beams (DPB) on the topic “International Photon Science Facilities,” organized principally by Stuart Henderson (Argonne), as well as a joint session organized by FIP Vice-Chair Cherrill Spencer with the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP).
Our FIP colleague Per Nordblad, Professor in Solid State Physics, Uppsala University, was the 2015 recipient of the John Wheatley Award of the American Physical Society, for his sustained efforts of nearly three decades in nurturing physics research and education in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, and Eritrea. The award was presented at the April meeting. Please consider making nominations of appropriate individuals for the 2017 Wheatley award.
It may be worthwhile to write a few words about APS Fellowships. Any active APS member is eligible for nomination and election to Fellowship. The criterion for election is “exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise”. The procedure for nominations is spelled out on the Requirements for Fellowship Nomination page. Nominators are asked to indicate which APS unit (division, topical group, or forum) is best qualified to assess the nomination. In 2015, 15 nominations were sent to FIP for examination, and we were limited to recommending at most 8. In addition to the exceptional contribution criterion, those advanced by FIP should have identifiable contributions to the development of programs and collaborations between physicists and their communities from diverse cultural backgrounds. FIP’s evaluation committee is made up of the 6 members-at-large of the Executive Committee, with the FIP Chair serving as Chair of the evaluation committee. Nominations were due by May 15. The FIP Fellowship evaluation committee concluded its conscientious examination in mid-July of the 15 files assigned to us for review. Our recommendations were forwarded at that time to the full APS Fellowship Committee. If there are no concerns regarding the selected nominees, this APS committee will forward the names to the APS Council of Representatives for a vote to elect to Fellowship during their November meeting. All approved recommendations, sponsors, and units will be notified of the results fairly soon afterwards. Until then, our recommendations must remain confidential.
I want to call your attention to the APS International Research Travel Award Program, IRTAP (formerly ITGAP). This program was a FIP initiative that has since drawn sponsors from many APS units. Its purpose is to promote international scientific collaborations between APS members and physicists in developing countries. Up to $2,000 (US) per recipient is awarded for travel and lodging expenses for international travel while visiting a collaborator. In her capacity as Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee in 2015, Cherrill Spencer is now responsible for the review process, with expert assistance from other sponsoring APS units. For more information and application guidelines, please see the International Research Travel Award Program page.
FIP’s Executive Committee met on Saturday, April 11 in Baltimore during the APS General Meeting. Among the agenda items, special attention was devoted to the planning for the March and April 2016 APS invited session programs, APS Fellowships, and the FIP Newsletter. Ernie Malamud, our dedicated Newsletter Editor, has produced 10 FIP newsletters, each requiring a substantial commitment of time and concentration. Ernie suggested that FIP should be thinking ahead to appointing a new Editor. There is wide consensus that Ernie has done a superb job as Editor. He will be hard to replace. The importance of the Newsletter for communicating FIP’s activities to the FIP membership, and more broadly, means we cannot leave the job to the Editor alone. Members of the Chair line have begun speaking with Ernie about the kinds of added support the Editor needs.
Our Secretary/Treasurer Noemi Mirkin deserves special and well-earned accolades from all of us. Noemi is now in the 3rd year of her second term as Secretary-Treasurer. FIP would not function, and the Chair and the Executive Committee could not do their work, without the benefit of her corporate knowledge, wisdom, dedication, and gentle reminders.
The nomination process is underway for new members of the Chair line and members-at-large of the Executive Committee. Past-Chair Ercan Alp heads up the nomination committee. VOTE when you receive the ballot, and please consider becoming a candidate in the future. Encourage more of your friends to join the Forum and to participate actively!
Edmond L Berger, FIP Chair 2015, is a high energy elementary particle theorist and Distinguished Fellow at Argonne National Laboratory. He is a Fellow of the APS and served previously as Chair of the Division of Particles and Fields (1990); Chair of APS Committee on Constitution and Bylaws (2011); and Chair of the APS Committee on Meetings (1995).