FIP Sessions at the APS March and April 2018 Meetings

Jerry Peterson, Chair of FIP 2018

Our Forum was allotted 3 sessions at each of the two 2018 APS meetings, which we parlayed into 3.5 sessions for March in Los Angeles, and four for April in Columbus. Most sessions were chaired by the member of the FIP Program Committee who suggested the theme and invited the speakers. Maria Longobardi, FIP Newsletter Editor and chair of the FECS, created special reprints of our Newsletter which were used to advertise our sessions for March and April meetings. We also passed around forms to sign up for FIP membership, with very good responses at both meetings.

Welcome to our new FIP members!

The March meeting, as usual, emphasized broad areas of condensed matter physics, and set a new meeting record with 11,263 registered attendees, and much going on.

FIP sessions and titles were:

Physics Teaching in Gateway Classes: Global Perspective – Session H16
Chair - Surajit Sen, Member at large of FIP

This session presented experiments in the education of physicists, across a wide range of teaching methods and scales. One speaker was unable to attend. The final talk by a noted psychiatrist may even be a start on a unified theory of such education. “Teaching Introductory Physics Courses to Freshmen and Sophomores at Addis Ababa University”

  • “International Student Experiences in Introductory Physics MOOCs”
  • “Deriving Kepler’s Laws as Kepler Did—From (simulated) Noisy Data”
  • “Awareness and Optimizing the ‘Yes Brain’ During Adolescent Neural Remodeling: A Teaching Opportunity”

Major Physics Organizations and their Role in the Future of Physics – Session L16
Chair - R. J. (Jerry) Peterso, Chair of FIP

This session was a summit of leaderships of major international physics organizations. The speakers agreed on the importance of international collaborations, in scientific and other arenas.

  • “Physics and the Clinton Whitehouse Office of Science and Technology Policy”
  • “The APS Task Force on Expanding International Engagement”
  • “Light Sources for Africa, the Americas and Middle East Project (LAAMP): An IUPAP and IUCr-funded Project”
  • “ICTP: A Successful Model of International Scientific Collaboration”
  • “EPS: Promoting Scientific Cooperation in Europe in a Global Context”

We also hosted an invited luncheon for these five speakers, plus our own Noemi Mirkin (FIP Secretary/Treasurer), Roger Falcone (2018 APS President), and Joe Niemela from the ICTP. These five speakers and others at the luncheon amplified their remarks, with remarkable agreement on where and how international physics projects will be proceeding.

Condensed Matter Experiments on the International Space Station (Co-sponsored by the FECS) – Session Y32
Chair—Maria Longobardi, FIP Newsletter Editor and Chair of the FECS

In this session, the speakers presented recent experiments performed on the ISS, matching the meeting theme and (by definition) broadly international.

  • “Kinetic Bottlenecks of Colloidal Self-Assembly”
  • “Smectic Bubbles in Space: Fluid Physics in Two Dimensions”
  • “Complex Plasma Research under Microgravity Conditions on the ISS”
  • “Coolest Spot in the Universe: Facility for Ultracold Atom Experiments aboard the ISS”
  • “Colloid Physics Experiments on the ISS”.

We also shared a session Materials and Fuels for the New Energy Economy, with the Group on Energy Research and Applications (GERA),with FIP providing a speaker on the nuclear reactor production of hydrogen, as feed stock for many processes and as input for new fuel cell technologies. Other speakers covered new battery, fuel cell and photovoltaic materials.

At the March meeting we hosted a crowded reception, co-sponsored with the FECS and with the support from several international associations of physicists working in the US. These associations were the International Association of Chinese Physicists and Astronomers, the Association of Korean Physicists in America, the Iranian-American Physicists Network Group and the Turkish-American physicists, with a contribution from a Turkish firm VAKSIS. Also helping to support this reception were the APS Office of International Affairs and the Forum on Early Career Scientists. All of FIP thanks these supporters of our mission.

At the April meeting in Columbus OH, FIP arranged four sessions, each of three speakers.

Opportunities in Global Nuclear Science Industries – Session B06
Chair — Jerry Peterson, Chair of FIP

This April meeting is attended by many young people studying nuclear and particle physicists, so this session was designed to show the many job opportunities available, such as in the FIP session “Applications of Accelerators in Nuclear Science

  • “Radiation Testing Electronics with Heavy Ions — The Best Way to Hit a Target Moving Ever Exponentially Faster”
  • “Advancements in the Global Use of Isotopes for Medicine, Industry and Environmental Science”

Other FIP sessions are reported in the following.

Physics Experiments in Antarctica, What They Tell Us about the South Pole and the Changing Climate – Session U03
Chair- Noemi Mirkin, Secretary/ Treasurer of FIP

This session showed that simple physics concepts, applied to complex problems, can yield good understanding of nature, especially changes that will influence the future of us all.

  • “The Microphysics of Antarctic Clouds: What We Know and What We’re Trying to Discover”
  • “Observing Antarctic Ice-sheet Conditions Using Ice Penetrating Radar”
  • “Breaking the Ice: An Exploration of Material Behavior, Boundary Conditions, and (Ice) Failure in Antarctica”

Progress and Challenges for Women Physicists in Africa, Asia and the Middle East – Session X06
Chair- Cherril Spencer- Past Chair of FIP

This session demonstrated (again) that grit and determination can create successes in tough environments, such as faced by women trying to do physics in some regions of the world.

  • “Women in Physics in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African Countries; Progress and Challenges”, Ibiyinka Fuwape/Michael and Cecilia Ibru University/ Nigeria. Winner of the APS Marshak Lectureship.
  • “Women Physicists in India and Other Asian Countries”, Rohini Godbole/Centre for High Energy Physics, Indian Inst. of Science.
  • “The Status of Women Physicists in Egypt and the Middle East”, Mona Mohamed abd Latif Mohsen/Ain Shams U/Egypt, winner of the APS Beller lectureship. Professor Mohsen was unable to attend and speak, so her text was read by Cherrill Spencer, 2018 Past chair of FIP.

Sakharov Prize Session (Co-sponsored by the FECS) - Session E17
Substitute Chair- Cherrill Spencer, Past Chair of FIP

For 2019, FIP anticipates again three sessions of five speakers each for the March meeting in Boston, and three sessions of three speakers each for April in Denver. Our FIP Program Committee, chaired by Elena Aprile, is awaiting your suggestions for themes and speakers for these meetings.

Several of the speakers at your FIP invited sessions for March and April 2018 have posted their slide shows on the APS web site. Go to, select ‘Meetings’, then select ‘View Meeting Presentations’.

Ravi Kuchimanchi

Ravi Kuchimanchi gives his Sakharov Prize winner speech during session

Mayereh Tohidi

Nayereh Tohidi gaves speech written by her friend Narges Mohammadi (while in jail in Tehran) at the Sakharov Prize winner session

Jerry Patterson photo