Hints for Meeting Hosts Details

Two - Four Years Prior to Meeting


Traditionally there are two meetings per year. Each meeting is held on a Friday and Saturday, with the first OS/APS symposium convening about 2:00 PM on Friday, and the last adjourning around noon on Saturday. At times, the Student Physics Society (SPS) advisors from our region have requested to hold their meeting just after the OS/APS meeting adjourns. In recent years, both the Southern Ohio Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers (SOS/AAPT), the Ohio Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers (OS/AAPT), representing teachers in the northern part of the state, and the Western Pennsylvania (WPAS/AAPT) have elected to hold their typically one-day meetings jointly with the OS/APS on Saturday. It's up to the local host to seek out and encourage or arrange such cooperation with the AAPT officers in your part of the state if you seek to sponsor a joint meeting. A session or more of contributed papers by AAPT members can easily be arranged to run parallel with our OS/APS contributed papers early on Saturday morning. The AAPT group will likely seek to run their own program of invited presentations on Saturday afternoon following the official OS/APS adjournment. Separate registration (fees may be different) or some cooperative venture is a local option.

The Fall meeting has usually been on the weekend nearest the middle of October, and the Spring meeting has been held from mid-April to mid-May. Local circumstances may dictate shifting the dates somewhat, but be aware that most attendees are from academic institutions. Too early in the Fall (academic calendars vary from a start in late August to near the first of October), or too late in the Spring (schools finish classes from late-April or early-May to mid-June) could strongly influence attendance and participation at your meeting. Also, avoid events on your campus such as Homecoming football weekends, unless you have a lot of parking space and motel rooms! The second weekend in October has traditionally been the date for administration of the Graduate Record Examination. In order to encourage attendance by undergraduate and those graduate students who need to take this examination, it is suggested that the GRE weekend be avoided.

Please notify the current OS/APS Chairperson by letter if your institution seeks to host a meeting. Suggest a date most convenient to your circumstance, but be aware that our Ohio Section Meetings must be approved by the national office of the American Physical Society (APS), and must be appropriately spaced so as not to interfere with national meetings of the APS. The OS/APS Executive Committee has stated that the deadline for receipt of abstracts for contributed papers (which must also be approved) will be no more than three weeks prior to the meeting in order to encourage submission of more abstracts to the Section Meeting. The OS/APS Executive Committee meets twice a year on Friday morning before each scheduled OS/APS meeting, and normally seeks to have meeting hosts committed at least two years in advance.

18 Months - 1 Year In Advance


The current OS/APS Chairman, following Executive Committee action will request approval of the desired dates for your meeting from the national APS office.


A Local Meeting Chairperson is appointed by the host institution. It is the responsibility of each Local Meeting Chairperson to make sure that all things go smoothly at the hosted meeting. Certainly, various local committees of faculty and other local people will be necessary to carry out the large number of details, but someone (the Local Meeting Chairperson) has to be responsible to coordinate the work of these local committees. Members of the OS/APS Executive Committee can provide information about policies and traditions, but the actual execution of the meeting is up to the Local Meeting Chairperson and these committees. It would be wise to arrange that the Local Meeting Chairperson has NO scheduled duties on Meeting Days in order to be available to handle unscheduled problems.

The Local Meeting Chairperson from each institution scheduled to host an upcoming meeting has a standing invitation and is expected to attend OS/APS Executive Committee meetings for two years prior to the hosted meeting to report on progress, at the hosted meeting itself to report last minute developments, and at the meeting following, for submission of the formal report on the hosted meeting. The Local Meeting Chairperson may bring along another person from the host institution such as the Chairman of the Department; if two are attending, inform the OS/APS Chairperson so enough places can be reserved at the Executive Committee luncheon.


A look at the final reports of recent meetings will give the Local Meeting Chairperson and the Department some indication of the scope of the financial undertaking. Expenses have been running from several to about eight thousand dollars for recent meetings. What fraction represents "real" dollars is a matter of your accounting, and how much is offset by generated income is to a large extent dependent on how you run your meeting. Obviously, co-sponsors are helpful; consider local industry and neighboring institutions, and special projects funds at your own institution. The largest single budget item is likely to be the invited speakers; four or five speakers receiving an honorarium plus travel and expense costs can mount to a substantial sum. It is a good idea to consult with previous hosts regarding the honorarium amounts that are in custom at the time.

A registration fee is authorized by Executive Committee of the OS/APS to help the host institution defray the cost of the meeting. It is collected and managed by the host institution; it is the host institution's money to spend as needed to put on a quality program. As of 1997 the registration fee has been set at $30.00 for advanced registration of regular members, and up to $35.00 if collected at the meeting. Retired members and students pay no meeting registration fee. See Appendix II for a sample registration form. Pre-registration is a handy way to get an idea of how many people are coming to your meeting and to obtain funds in advance to pay bills that may need to be paid at or even before the meeting. Obviously an attractive meeting that gathers a large attendance is desirable for your financial well being.

The banquet also represents a sizable cash flow. It is certainly a necessity to secure advanced registration and payment for the banquet. Some have subsidized the cost of the meal from registration income in an attempt to keep the cost reasonable and attractive to attendees.

Some host institutions have generated extra income by inviting commercial exhibits at the registration areas, charging an exhibitor fee.

The OS/APS customarily pays the cost of the Executive Committee luncheon meeting (but it will not refuse the offer of lunch from the host institution). The OS/APS will also authorize, if requested, a payment of up to $3,000 from the treasury (annual dues collections) to the host institution when a host institution is in need of additional funds to meet obligations for a meeting.

So that taxes on food service, etc. would not be charged for our meetings, the Assistant Treasurer of the national American Physical Society (APS) in 1977 authorized the use of the following statement: "The Ohio Section of the American Physical Society is an official part of the American Physical Society, a tax-exempt organization with tax identification number 13-1656610. Therefore tax should not be charged in addition to the cost for services rendered."

Ideas on "where to keep the money" include opening a special checking account or credit union account in the name of the meeting. Your institution's accounting office or development office might be willing to create an account and process your bill paying for you.


It is traditional that the invited papers have a unifying theme dealing with recent progress in basic or applied physics. Appendix I lists topics and locations of past meetings. A survey conducted in 1978, which asked for suggestions for future meetings, produced as many suggestions as there were responses. If your institution has a particular specialty or current interest, that would be an obvious choice for your theme. A good question to ask is "who do you know, and how much is it going to cost to get them?" (As Dr. Yaney's earlier list pointed out in his inimitable prose, "California is many dollars away".) Go for quality....but be realistic!

A special note: Some organizations honor distinguished persons by dedicating symposia or special sessions to such individuals. Please note that APS does not allow symposia to honor living physicists and that dedicated sessions need the approval of the national APS executive committee. You should also check with the OS/APS Honors and Awards Committee if the question of alternatives arises. The OS/APS accepts nominations through its Honors and Awards Committee for recipients of two Awards, designated the Distinguished Physicist Award and the Distinguished Service Award, respectively. These Awards are normally presented in a short ceremony at an OS/APS meeting.

Most often there have been four invited speakers, two on Friday afternoon and two on Saturday; as many as six 40-minute talks have been used, but that could be somewhat tiring unless well correlated and is perhaps too costly. Possibilities that have been suggested for variety include panel discussions, short "tutorial" sessions, or even replacing an invited talk with a session of "my favorite physics demonstrations".

In addition, there is usually an after-dinner or evening speaker, usually in a lighter vein. This is a good spot for "audio-visual spectaculars" or popular topics of interest to a broader audience. Some have been held as actual after-dinner talks at the banquet location, but most often a move to a larger lecture hall or auditorium (not too far away - don't let people get lost) allows the evening program to be a showcase event for the host institution. It permits cooperation with other associated organizations and additional attendance (a host institution distinguished speaker series, high school honor groups, Sigma Xi chapters, etc.).

In selecting speakers and topics, remember that the largest number of regularly attending OS/APS members have been teachers from smaller colleges and universities. It would be very desirable if a choice of theme could hang onto this audience while expanding it to include others, such as more scientists from Ohio's industrial sector. If you are located in or near a larger metropolitan area, consider the attractiveness of a topic to high school teachers as well as the two year and four year schools. Special local mailings and personal phone calls would be needed to attract such local audiences to your event. It may be useful to contact the APS Administrator of Education to obtain lists of speakers provided by the Committee on the Status of Women and the Committee on Minorities, as well as the subsidy programs in effect in these areas.

There is a real fact that must be faced. Top people expect and deserve a good audience. If you are going to bring in quality speakers, then you must also spend the time and effort to publicize your event and to get people to attend. No matter how you cut it, and notwithstanding speakers who are personal friends, a poorly attended meeting is hard to swallow. A good meeting comes from careful choices of topics and titles, choices of speakers, and careful planning that includes repeated invitations, announcements, and proper publicity.

Consider using the co-sponsor technique to obtain top quality speakers. Perhaps a local industry has access to consultants that could be brought in to do "double duty". This both minimizes your financial outlay for travel costs and provides an entree to acquiring the speaker. Perhaps your institution has a distinguished speakers fund with which you might cooperate.

In order to get your speakers confirmed and scheduled in a timely manner, start EARLY with your invitations! You should have most of the speakers and their topics complete and confirmed by six to ten months prior to the meeting date. (A recent local chairperson has suggested this should be done more than one year in advance!) A phone call or e-mail followed by a confirming letter is efficient but perhaps costly if many phone calls are required; on the other hand, written invitations are often put aside without timely responses.


Make all reservations for your smaller meeting rooms, large room or auditorium, and dining rooms for both the Executive Committee luncheon and the OS/APS banquet early. If your audio-visual equipment is obtained from a central facility at your institution, arrange to reserve that early also. The necessary arrangements usually include:

One large room or auditorium with capacity for 150-200 people for the Friday afternoon symposium from 2:00 - 5:00 PM and for the Saturday symposium from about 10:00 AM till 1:00 PM. If you invite the public and/or a broader audience to the after-dinner session, the large room will also be needed on Friday evening. If the AAPT is meeting on Saturday in conjunction with the OS/APS meeting, they may also want the auditorium for a Saturday afternoon session.

Four, to as many as six or seven, smaller meeting rooms with capacity for perhaps 30 people for the Saturday morning 8:00 - 10:00 AM contributed paper sessions. There are usually fewer contributed papers at the Fall Meeting, but the number is perhaps most dependent on the efforts of the local faculty and committees in "urging" their friends at nearby institutions and industrial or government labs, their peers, and their students to prepare early to present a paper at the contributed sessions. If there is joint meeting with AAPT, this will also increase the number of papers presented. The Local Chairperson will know the exact number of rooms needed after the abstract deadline. Give some thought to ease of access and movement of attendees among the various parallel sessions.

Banquet location for perhaps 75 - 150 people on Friday from about 6:00 to 8:00 PM; again the number is very dependent on the work of the local committees in "inviting" people and on the attractiveness of the evening program that follows. Consider your local situation when determining costs, menu selection, whether it will be a served or buffet dinner, etc. when you make your plans. Pre-payment for the banquet is considered a MUST via the normal meeting pre-registration process. A "social hour" usually precedes the banquet, so also give consideration to its location and type. Great variety has existed here depending on local rules, traditions, and customs of the host institution; the possibilities range from punch and pop with snacks, to wine and cheese, or beer and munchies, or a reasonably priced pay-as-you-drink bar with hors d'oeuvres or perhaps an open bar extravaganza sponsored by a local firm in true industrial style - all have been used. Can you run your own social in the interest of cost and having enough of what you want, or are you constrained by the system? Who brings the bottles, provides set ups, and tends bar?

The OS/APS Executive Committee luncheon on Friday at noon needs to be arranged for about 15-20 people. Preferably the location is near the meeting room for this group which usually meets about 10:00 AM on Friday. On occasion their meeting is a luncheon meeting, so the room should be conducive to discussion and interaction both before and after the meal.

You might want to give some consideration to contingency plans in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Perhaps an unexpectedly large crowd will arrive! Once it actually happened that the day of the meeting a construction jackhammer severed the main power line into the scheduled meeting building, leaving the whole place dark until after the Friday sessions were over. You might check also to see who or what else is going on on-campus during your meeting. Once a student sponsored group was about to have a large tent erected for a band and party just adjacent to the building entrance and meeting room of the Friday evening session (after all nothing else usually went on in that building on Friday night that would be affected).

One Year - Six Months In Advance


All invited speakers should be firm, confirmed, and re-affirmed by the meeting date minus six-month mark! Speakers should be mailed an advance copy of your preliminary announcement showing the total lineup of speakers for the meeting, and the final development of the symposium topic should be clarified so that the speakers know what is expected of them.


The national office of the APS requests that the Ohio Section provide the copy to be published in the "Announcements of Sectional Meetings" portion of the American Physical Society Meeting News. They want this at least six months in advance of your meeting date! Consult a recent edition of the APS Meeting News for the proper style and content. This copy is also put on the APS Meetings web page. These contacts will provide an introduction to the APS Meetings Coordination Office, which will be important as the time of the meeting draws closer. The Local Meeting Chairperson is responsible for the content and must provide the Chairman of OS/APS with the typed copy who will give it to the Secretary for filing. The APS also requires that only one individual be listed as the invited speaker for each talk. Co-workers should be credited separately in a footnote.


It is especially helpful to be able to publicize your meeting at the meeting that immediately precedes it. Prepare a single sheet flyer which gives the dates, topic and the invited speakers (if possible) for inclusion in the registration packet of the preceding meeting. Be sure to include the contact information for those who might be interested in registering. For this purpose, contact should be made with the Local Organizing Committee of the preceding meeting at least 6 weeks ahead of the meeting.

Six Months To Three Months In Advance


Set up an Advanced Registration Form for your meeting. See Appendix II for a sample, but be certain that it includes any and all items that are needed to meet your particular situation. It should be included both in the mailing of the Preliminary Announcement, and also with the mailing of the Program Summary and Call For Contributed Papers which contains the final meeting details. The Advance Registration Form should request advance payment of the fee for publishing the abstract of submitted papers. The abstract publication fee is $40. At the Fall 1996 meeting of the OS/APS Executive Committee, the registration fee was increased for the first time in many years to $30 due to the increasing costs associated with hosting the meetings.


Set up and refine your Preliminary Announcement of the meeting in preparation for the first general mailing that should go out at least THREE MONTHS prior to your meeting. It should contain information on the theme or topic of your meeting, meeting dates and date of the abstract deadline, meeting location, and information on the invited speakers. Not only is it mailed to all those on the OS/APS mailing list, but will also be put on the APS web page through the Meeting Publications Coordinator. Contact the Membership Chair of OS/APS for the current (about 1700) mailing list and/or address labels. The Membership Chair (or Associate) will request that the national office send 2 sets of mailing labels in zip code order. The Membership Chair will send 2 sets of labels for local OS/APS members who may not be on the national list. This list would include students and others who have attended recent meetings. Be sure to send all mailings to all persons on both lists. The Local Chair can use his/her discretion regarding mailings to foreign addresses. If you are having a joint meeting with the area AAPT you will also need to contact them and either get their mailing list or arrange to have them include your meeting information in their mailings. You may also wish to compile an additional list of names and addresses that is unique to your particular local situation (industrial scientists, local teachers, science faculty at your institution, etc. ).

The dilemma of having to use bulk mail!! Because of recent increases in the number of people on the mailing list, the expense associated with using first class mail has become quite a burden (1700 X 2 mailings X 0.32 = $1088 = 1 speaker !). The alternative is of course, bulk mail. You should expect delays of up to three weeks before your bundle is mailed by the local post office when using this service. In order to ensure that all announcements or other mailings that must arrive in a timely fashion do so, the Executive Committee recently authorized the use of bulk mail for all meeting notices with due regard to the delays inherent in using this service. It is of course up to the host committee to ensure that the expected delays are taken into account so that the notices arrive on time.


To conduct a meeting is a major investment of time and money. It will take the combined efforts of quite a few dated and trusted individuals. Much of the work comes at the last month or so, but three to six months in advance is the time to make the appointments, enlist their involvement, and have them also thinking about their duties and how they are going to accomplish their tasks. This is also a good time to plan for additional secretarial help, student assistance, and other person-power to assist you with the meeting. How many local committees you choose to appoint, and how many of your faculty you involve is a matter of choice, but listed below are a number of pre-meeting tidbits that somehow must be covered:

PRINTING and MAILING - There are two or three mailings: 1) the Preliminary Announcement, 2) the Program Summary and Call for Contributed Papers, and , possibly , 3) the Final Program with contributed paper authors and abstracts (Both mailing lists, national and local, available from OS/APS Membership Chair). Don't forget to include maps and directions for participants to find the general location of the meeting as well as the specific buildings where it is being held. Since the abstract deadline has been set so close to the meeting date, the Executive Committee decided that the mailing of the Final Program would no longer be required. A Final Program mailing one week before the meeting would be great if you can get it out. At the very least, the authors of contributed papers should receive a mailing with contributed paper authors and titles only early in the week before the meeting; this will save answering phone calls from authors concerning their placement. The Final Program with details of invited and contributed papers, including all abstracts, must be available for distribution at registration.

FINAL PROGRAM / CONTRIBUTED PAPER ABSTRACTS - The vast majority of abstracts are now submitted electronically directly to the APS Meetings Coordination Office. About three weeks before the meeting, the APS Meetings Coordination Office will be in contact with you to assist with arranging the electronically submitted abstracts. The electronically submitted and the "paper" abstracts that are received by mail or fax must be arranged into sessions and prepared for printing in the meeting Final Program. This information is also relayed to the APS Meetings Coordinator for publication on the APS web page. An "authors and titles only" list can be made available for an optional third mailing about 10 days before the meeting if so desired. Grouping of sessions so that one institution has the majority representation should be avoided, even though some latitude must be taken in trying to keep session topics similar.

SESSION CHAIRPERSONS - Each of the sessions will require a chairperson. In most cases, the local hosts or their close associates who know the invited speakers should be engaged for these tasks since they can provide a "warmer" personal introduction. The Chairman of OS/APS, however, should be scheduled to call the meeting to order at the beginning of Session A, give a short welcome, and introduce your Session A chairperson. This Session A chairperson will normally be one of the local hosts, often the Local Meeting Chairperson. He or she will introduce any local university official (president, dean, etc.,) scheduled to give a welcome, and then the invited speakers for that session. Similarly, the Vice-Chairperson of OS/APS will call the Saturday morning invited session to order, introduce OS/APS officers and upcoming meeting local chairpersons in attendance, very briefly summarize any previously held business meeting, and turn the meeting over to that session chairperson. The Saturday morning parallel contributed paper sessions will each require a session chairperson. Friends from nearby institutions can often be scheduled for these; remember they start very early! It may also increase your attendance if friends from other institutions have this additional reason to attend. Make your invitations early enough so that the session chairperson's name can be included in the printed program. Make sure the meeting chairpersons have timers and ask them to enforce the ten-minute limit on contributed papers. OS/APS owns eight electronic timers for this purpose; they may be obtained from the Secretary before the meeting and must be returned afterwards. Also, if a contributor is absent, make sure that the session chairpersons adhere to the printed schedule and "kill" the 12 minutes allotted to the absent speaker. Many persons move from session to session in order to hear specific papers, and an unannounced change is disruptive. Be sure each room is equipped with overhead projectors, at minimum; some contributed papers may require special facilities such as slide projectors, larger tables for demonstration equipment, extra electrical outlets, etc.. You may wish to supply a projectionist for some sessions. The session chairperson should be informed of procedures to follow should technical difficulties arise. Ask that the number of the talk being given be written on the board or otherwise prominently displayed so that session hoppers can determine the session progress. The after dinner or evening session will likewise require a session chairperson.

SPEAKER HOSTS - It's a good idea to have one of your colleagues lined up to feed and otherwise care for each of your invited speakers. Transportation to and from the airport as well as transportation to and from the motel and the meeting must often be arranged to meet the schedule of the guest. Many speakers try to minimize the time spent at the symposium, so they may need special arrangements. However, perhaps you can suggest travel plans that help you get several to the airport at the same time or to and from the same motel. Each speaker host should know the details of room reservations, travel plans, etc., and should be available to provide company for the speaker if necessary at the meeting, make sure that they get breakfast, check on any special needs for props required for their talk, and get them to the proper room at the correct time to speak. If you have a co-sponsor, perhaps that sponsor wishes to have a chance to meet privately with a speaker (when a co-sponsor is looking after a guest you don't have to). Are you arranging any special chance for the speaker to interact with students? You may wish to make out an agenda for each speaker, showing where and with whom the speaker will be at what times. Don't forget some time for rest! If you need travel vouchers or other papers signed by your guests, plan to do that early in their visit.

PUBLICITY - Do you have a press release for distribution to local newspapers, radio, TV, etc.? How about your institution's newspaper or the "house organ" newspaper of your co-sponsors and other local industries.

INVITATIONS - Are you making personal invitations to selected individuals for the meeting, either by phone or by letter? Be conscious of your local "politics" here. Any dignitary that you invite (perhaps a dean or president to welcome the group to campus) should be provided with a copy of the program and be briefed concerning the theme of the meeting, who will be there, etc.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING(S) and LUNCHEON - The OS/APS Executive Committee meets early on Friday (usually at 10:00 am - 12:00) before the opening session. A comfortable room for 15-20 people is needed and a luncheon for the group must be set up. Officers of the Ohio Section and Local Chairpersons for future and immediate past OS/APS meetings will attend. Consult with the Chairman of OS/APS concerning the exact number as the date approaches. A fixed menu is advised for the lunch; coffee (and tea) and doughnuts (or the like) should be provided at the start of the meeting. The cost of the food for this meeting can be recovered from the OS/APS. Name tags should be available. (Often the symposium pre-registration packet is distributed to the officers at the Executive Committee meeting which should contain the symposium name tag). Working OS/APS committees of a few to perhaps ten people often meet in the 1:00 to 2:00 time slot. Possible places for several of them to meet should be considered. Consult with the Chairman concerning the number (if any) of such committee meetings

REFRESHMENTS - It has become customary for the host institution to provide coffee and tea at the registration line and for the break between sessions on Friday. Likewise, coffee and tea with doughnuts or the like should be available early on Saturday morning during the contributed paper sessions up to the break before the start of the Saturday morning invited session. Early Saturday service may take some careful arrangements at institutions that utilize student help. Self service is fine. Someone needs to be designated to be alert to assure that deliveries are timely and to know what to do about it if there are delays.

SOCIAL HOUR - A "social hour" preceding the banquet on Friday has become customary. Some careful consideration should be given both to the desires and expectations of the attendees and to the constraints of the local system. Great variety has existed here depending on local rules, traditions, and customs of the host institution; the possibilities range from punch and pop with snacks, to wine and cheese, or beer and munchies, or a reasonably priced pay-as-you-drink bar with hors d'oeuvres or perhaps an open bar extravaganza sponsored by a local firm in true industrial style - all have been used. If you are going to run your own event, a full committee needs to be assigned to this task (who brings the glasses, the ice, the bottles, tends bar, etc); if you are arranging it through the food service then one person needs to be assigned to arrange and monitor the progress of the plans. Some people like to sit down after the final evening session and talk for a while around a beer keg. If you seek to provide this popular but only occasionally offered option, you need a room and a keg.

CO-SPONSORS - Local industrial organizations are often willing to underwrite part of your meeting costs either with real dollar gifts (perhaps to sponsor your social hour) or by taking on the responsibility for bringing in one or more of your invited speakers. If the symposium topic is right, perhaps a consultant trip can be set up to coincide with your meeting dates and the invited speaker can do "double duty" for the same travel costs. A good "salesperson" is required to present such opportunities to the right people in such organizations. Experience has shown that if you can convince some of the working R+D scientists in these companies of the value of cooperation then they are usually capable of carrying your message to their management. Sometimes they may wish to set up a display at your meeting. For the Friday evening speaker, sometimes another campus group or organization (Sigma Xi, distinguished speaker series) can be convinced to provide the speaker to a larger audience that includes the OS/APS members.

BANQUET - This is often a buffet, but in selecting your options be aware of time and cost constraints. A reasonable meal at a reasonable cost is desirable. Seventy-five to 150 members have normally attended the banquets. Sometimes the meeting registration fees and funds from co-sponsors can partially subsidize the banquet expenses. There is also a delicate issue of "freebies". You will likely wish to give some people (invited speakers, your president or dean, etc.) a free meal; it's your money. The use of a head table is optional; seating with a large enough number of chairs to encourage mixing from different institutions is advisable. If you use banquet tickets, you will need to get tickets to them, perhaps along with their name tags. Experience has shown that banquet tickets are always issued but seldom collected at OS/APS banquets. People are basically honest, so it may not be worth the hassle to set up an elaborate ticket collection system if it's not a standard part of your food service method of operation. A clear label on your banquet line will keep away unintentional crashers if there are other banquets going on in the same building. Your food service people will probably give you a deadline of two weeks or 10 days before the banquet for a 10% count on meals. Pre-registration with required pre-payment is a standard way to avoid catastrophe here, but some attendees will want to purchase tickets at Friday registration. You can likely hold a few tickets aside and sell them at the meeting date; there are always a few latecomers who seek to be included in the banquet and they might be people that you want to accommodate. Do you have to pay the bill in advance or perhaps at the banquet itself? If so, who handles this?

STUDENT ACTIVITIES - Does your local SPS group wish to arrange some activities that will encourage students to participate? Do they wish to set up projects for display and explanation in their laboratories, for example?

CLEAN UP - Who puts away all the paraphernalia when the session ends and everyone heads for the door?

OPEN HOUSE - If you have recently opened a new building or revised laboratories you may wish to present an Open House as part of your meeting. This is a good way to provide information about graduate programs at your institution and to generally make your program known to both students and faculty who advise students.

REGISTRATION - You can greatly speed up the registration line by carefully designing your registration form (sample in Appendix II), maximizing the use of pre-registration (make sure it is clear that money has to be sent with pre-registration), and having the desk run by competent and knowledgeable personnel. Working on pre-registration often helps to familiarize personnel with the questions that might arise. A pre-registration "packet" consisting of name tag, receipt, banquet ticket(s) or other paid-in-advance items, maps, final meeting program including the abstracts of invited papers, and any other descriptive literature that you may wish to distribute. Any item that has to be taken care of in the line can cause delays, so do as much as possible in advance. Develop a method for providing receipts. Don't forget pens for the registration table so that attendees can fill out the necessary forms before approaching the registration desk, and bold pens (or typewriters) for name tags. Arrange for chairs and tables for your registration personnel. Perhaps special name tags or other unique identification helps visitors to recognize them. Registration should be open from about 1:00 P.M. until after the last afternoon speaker is started on Friday, and from before 8:00 A.M. until about 10:30 on Saturday morning. Ordinarily, the biggest crowd will be before 2:00 on Friday. About four well prepared people then, and fewer later on Friday and on Saturday is suggested. Staff who know the answers to questions due to proper training and instruction will greatly speed up the process. Do they collect dues as well as meeting fees? how about abstract fees? Have EVERYONE register (even if no fee is required of some attendees) for your meeting attendance records. Separate lines (clearly labeled) for pre-registered guests is usually helpful in getting the crowd away from the registration desk. Proper placement of coffee and doughnuts, displays, etc. are helpful in influencing the attendees to move.
MOTELS - People from out of town need to be advised on the local guest house and motel situation. Check out the quality of nearby motels and try to arrange a special "convention" price at least for early pre-registrations at these motels. Your invited speakers will often expect you to make their reservations. Attendees should be advised to make their own reservations directly with the motel, but an information sheet with locations, telephone numbers for reservations, prices, etc. to be included with the mailings is welcome. If your institution has a guest house or other on-campus accommodations are they available for meeting attendees? Are adequate breakfast facilities available nearby? (Saturday morning is usually a rush deal with little time available for waiting if they are to get to the meetings before the 8:00 start.

PARKING - Where should your visitors park? Are lots clearly marked on your maps? It's advisable to have the local Security people informed of your meeting dates and times, and the approximate number of parking spaces involved. Security officers and gate personnel often get involved when attendees are temporarily lost, so if these people are aware of your meeting they can be helpful. Can you arrange free or reduced rate parking if there is a charge for guests? Temporary parking passes mailed to pre-registrants is often convenient, but in any case visitors need be advised about the parking conditions at your location.

SIGNS and MAPS - You will need signs to direct attendees to the proper locations on campus. Helpful locations for signs (weatherproof if outside) include the parking lot to be used by attendees, the entrances of the building(s) used for the meeting, inside the building directing people to the registration desk and meeting rooms, on the doors of the actual sessions so attendees know what is going on inside (especially for the contributed sessions). Maps may be necessary if getting around the building is tricky. If you are having a "tour" (perhaps on Friday afternoon before the social with contented students working in the labs, etc.) appropriate maps and signs will be needed. Student tour guides are also useful and provide a way to get the students involved in your meeting (and assures that your students get some information about their own departments. You might make this a SPS (Student Physics Society) activity at your institution. Also, do you wish to place signs around campus in advance of the meeting and put displays in display cases to assure your students that they are welcome to participate? Display cases lauding the virtues of your institution might be considered also.

AUDIO-VISUAL EQUIPMENT - All the meeting rooms (don't forget the after dinner talk which often presents unique problems) need to be provided with the proper audio-visual equipment and informed operators need to be available in each room. Pre-prepared transparencies for use on overhead projectors are now the "standard" for most presenters, but you should have a supply of pens that write, a supply of blank transparencies, spare bulbs for all projectors, pointers, screens of adequate size, and perhaps extension cords for proper projector placement (check in advance). You should also look into providing RGB video projectors for those whose presentations utilize a laptop computer. The projectionists should be trained in advance on bulb replacement and other details of operation of the equipment. For the large lecture hall and the invited sessions you need to be concerned about a lectern with a working light, the details of operation of the P.A. system, a throat microphone (speakers wander away from stationary mikes), and adequate water with drinking cups. If the invited talks are to be taped (you need the speakers permission) someone with the equipment must be available to do the job. Each room should have available a chalk board with good chalk and erasers. A timer with a bell is needed for each session (the OS/APS owns eight timers that can be obtained from the Secretary). Learn the idiosyncrasies of your meeting rooms: Can the lights be operated unobtrusively in your arrangement? What happens when a circuit breaker trips? Will those window blinds actually come down and darken the room? Will the rooms become soporificly hot? Is quiet entry and exit available for the inevitable late arrivals and perhaps your local Dignitary who comes to welcome the conferees? (oiling the door hinges and taping the door latch is sometimes wise).

TIMERS - Do not forget to supply the chair of each session with a timer. The timers owned by OS/APS may be collected from the Local Host of the most recent OS/APS meeting at the end of that meeting, or from the OS/APS Secretary , who has the responsibility for keeping track of them. Be sure at the end of your meeting that you either return the timers to the Secretary or inform the Secretary that you have given them to the Local Host of the upcoming meeting.

BUILDING MAINTENANCE - Weekend meetings can often cause some building maintenance concerns if there is no crew on duty between Friday night and early Saturday morning. Make sure that the maintenance people have the buildings and rooms unlocked on time.

Is your first aid kit properly stocked?

Where are your fire extinguishers?

Three - Four Months Before Meeting


The Preliminary Announcements of your meeting giving the meeting dates, abstract deadline for contributed papers, meeting location, theme or topic, and information on invited speakers should be mailed. Include a pre-registration form.

Check with the OS/APS Chairman before you mail; perhaps there is a newsletter or other items that could be included in this mailing.


In an effort to promote student participation, the Executive Committee has authorized the use of a sum of money ($500 is the current amount) for each meeting to be used to support travel and lodging expenses of students who are making presentations. Some hosts have also subsidized the banquet costs for them, so that the experience is totally cost-free for them. Be sure to include a statement similar to the following in all meeting announcements and mailings.


The OS/APS Executive Committee recognizes that many departments, particularly those in the smaller colleges, are unable to fund travel expenses for students to these meetings. In an effort to encourage student participation and particularly student presentation of papers at the contributed papers session on Saturday morning, the Executive Committee has authorized the use of up to $500 to cover all such applications for each meeting. The Committee has set a limit of up to $20 per student for travel and up to $25 per student for lodging. of Section funds to help cover the cost of travel, lodging and the banquet for those students attending the meeting and delivering a contributed paper but for whom departmental funds are unavailable. The funds will be awarded on a first come-first serve basis. To find out if funds are available for your students, we request that the faculty advisor or a representative of the department contact:



Organization, with the committed and knowledgeable support of committees, is the key to a successful meeting. Committee personnel however need to be "reminded" of their duties and they need to interact with the Local Chairman concerning their progress.

Two Months to Six Weeks In Advance


This is the time to really "sell" your meeting and insure a return on your previous investment of time and effort. The Program Summary and Call For Contributed Papers is one of the most critical items leading to a successful meeting. The deadline for final receipt of abstracts of contributed papers has been fixed at usually between two and three weeks before the actual meeting to give potential participants the maximum latitude possible and yet allow the host to assemble and arrange rooms for the needed sessions. If this mailing is too early, participants will lay it aside; if too late, they will give up the idea of presenting a paper. About a month before the abstract deadline seems to be about right, but take into account the delay associated with bulk mail! In the Fall the timing can especially critical; it has to be early enough to allow adequate time for response, but not so early that academic members returning from the summer absence miss it in the heap of accumulated mail. You might consider partial mailings determined by the different academic calendars of the recipients. Make sure that this mailing goes to all persons on both local and national membership lists.

The biggest single feature in assuring good attendance is often the choice of invited speakers and the titles of their presentations. You have fixed that long ago, and now you must market it. It would be wise and appropriate to include the abstracts of the invited talks if you can extract them from the invited speakers far enough in advance. If you are not centrally located, this could go a long way toward overcoming a potential geographical disadvantage. The mailing should go to all OS/APS members, and any other special mailing lists that you have generated in previous months.

Consult recent meeting announcements for possible format and style. Among the items you might wish to include in the Program Summary are:

  • Dates,times, and locations of invited and contributed papers
  • Location and time of Executive Committee meeting
  • Location and time of the social hour and banquet
  • Pre-registration requirements for the banquet
  • Details (Checks payable...) of registration and pre-registration
  • Proper name and address for pre-registration returns
  • Deadline date for receipt of abstracts of contributed papers
  • Proper name and address for abstracts of contributed papers
  • Registration table location and times when open
  • Good maps to reach your institution; mark activities locations
  • Parking arrangements and fee information
  • Motel locations, rates, suggestions with phone numbers
  • Meal suggestions other than the banquet (lunch, breakfast)
  • Advice on activities for families


It is important that all involved parties know what is going on and who is responsible for which details. If last minute emergencies arise in a particular case, others must be in position to pick up and proceed.

Two Weeks In Advance


Once the abstract deadline has passed (allow a little leeway for stragglers), the contributed paper sessions can be defined. The contributed paper program is placed on the web through the APS home page. It is usual to collect papers devoted to a single or to similar topics in one session. There are two exceptions, however: if there are more papers than the 2 hour contributed paper session allows (about 10), then obviously some mixing with other sections is inevitable; also, if the papers on one topic originate from a single institution, it is a good idea to have them distributed among several other sessions so as to induce more heterogeneity. It's the decision of the Local Chair how best to accomplish these sometimes contradictory goals.


A final mailing with full meeting details including the schedule (listing of session chairpersons, times, room locations, and titles with abstracts) of the contributed "10-minute" papers is not an absolute requirement. Some have been able to do so, but it may not be practical in view of the cost associated with multi-page mailings and the time constraints imposed by typical late deadlines on the submission of abstracts. A few years ago, the Executive Committee agreed that the "Final Program" need NOT be made available prior to the meeting day itself.

However, it would be very nice and it is certainly very desirable that you consider mailing a copy of the final program by first class postage to a restricted list of the authors (or at least the "first authors") of such contributed papers. If they do not have web access, they are often put into the position of having to call the meeting chairman to check on the placement of their paper, and perhaps even having to check to see if the abstract has been received and that it is indeed scheduled. It is especially helpful to those who must travel on Saturday morning to know when they must arrive to present a paper.

After The Meeting


The task of preparing the minutes of each meeting for publication in the Bulletin of the American Physical Society is now handled by the APS Meeting Publications Coordinator. The information that is needed can only be supplied by the local meeting chairman of the host institution. The minutes of a meeting include a preamble which contains statistical data and descriptive information regarding the meeting. A checklist is provided below to remind each host of the information which is needed to prepare this preamble. The APS Meetings Coordinator is quite helpful in providing guidance. In addition, the minutes contain the Epitome which includes titles and abstracts (if the abstract fee has been paid) of papers delivered at the meeting.

Immediately after your meeting you should assemble the necessary data and all the abstracts from the meeting and submit them to the APS Meetings Coordinator. This includes BOTH the abstracts of your Invited Papers (if available) and those Contributed Papers that the authors indicated by their fee payment that they wished to be published.

See Appendix III for instructions for preparing abstracts of Invited Papers and for a sample of such an abstract. (You may have to accept abstracts from invited speakers over the phone and/or rewrite your invited speaker's abstract, with their approval, unless you have had them prepare an abstract in proper format in advance.) Contributed Papers should also be in the proper format, and contributing authors are instructed and required to have their abstracts in the format prescribed in the Bulletin of the APS when they submitted them to your meeting. Note that contributed abstracts must either be authored by a member of APS or carry the signature of an APS member.

  • List of sponsors for acknowledgement in the preamble.
  • Attendance figures including:
    • number of members registered
    • number of retired members registered
    • number of students registered
    • number of nonmembers registered
    • number of XXX/AAPT members registered
    • number attending the banquet
  • Titles (abstracts if possible) of invited papers in special format (Cf., Appendix III)
  • Title of after-dinner speech (abstract not usually included)
  • Titles and abstracts of contributed papers, in the standard APS Bulletin format, for which abstract fees have been paid.
  • Copy of the final and complete program including assignment of abstracts of contributed papers. If the names of your session chairpersons are not listed on this program be sure to provide them separately. Session locations should also be provided.

Many authors are eager to see their abstracts appear in the Bulletin. You should be aware that the APS publishes these minutes of Sectional Meetings only in the Supplemental Issues of the Bulletin of the APS. The Fall Meeting abstracts are published in the Fall issue (December), and the Spring meeting abstracts are published in the Spring issue (July). Copies of these issues can be purchased by non-members for $55.00 each. To request a copy, a person should call the AIP Circulation Office and ask for Customer Service. The telephone number is: (516) 576-2270. Members of the APS can receive the Supplemental Issues when they renew their membership.

The deadlines for submission of the abstracts to the APS are the first Friday in October and the last Friday in May, respectively. Clearly, it is best if every effort is made to submit the abstracts as soon as possible after the meeting is held. Any effort to speed up the process at any stage will be appreciated. Since the local meeting chairman and host is the first, crucial step, please try to get all the information submitted no later than one month after your meeting. It may be necessary for you to enforce a deadline on such items as payment of the abstract fee, to omit an abstract of an invited paper, etc. in an effort to complete this task in a timely fashion.


The list of attendee names and actual mailing addresses along with information on dues paid should be sent to the OS/APS Membership Chair within one or two weeks of the meeting, so that the mailing labels for the next meeting can be updated prior to the first mailing for that meeting. The following information should be submitted for each registrant:

  • NAME
  • STATUS CODE (S tudent, F aculty, E ducation, I ndustry, G overnment, R etired, O ther)
  • OS/APS dues paid (use notation DP if paid--otherwise nothing)

If dues and/or abstract fees were collected, that information needs to be reported to the OS/APS Treasurer in a timely fashion, and also included as part of the Final Report. Collecting the needed information is relatively painless if you carefully design your registration form and keep careful account of the registrants.


You should submit 25 copies of a Final Report to the Executive Committee prior to or at the next Executive Committee meeting. Much of the information in this report is the same as the Secretary needed earlier. Please report the total number of people attending the meeting, the total number attending the banquet, and the total number of papers presented. Also please compile a list of those attending, including for each: name, institution and address, status (OS/APS member? Guest? Retired? Student?), etc. You are encouraged to submit a complete financial report, giving (at the minimum) full details of any charges made to the Ohio Section.

Appendix I - List of Meeting Topics and Locales 
Appendix II-Sample Registration Form - version 1 — pdf format 
Appendix II-Sample Registration Form - version 2 — pdf format 
Appendix III-Sample Abstract — pdf format