Advice of the peers
AIP's Physics Resources Center (PRC) delivers education, outreach, and professional services to the physical sciences community, working with and on behalf of the members of AIP Member and Affiliated societies. PRC is known for unique expertise, products and services: preserving and making known the history of physics, documenting physics employment and education data, participation in study and outreach projects in physics education (including oversight of 700 Society of Physics Students chapters representing 5,000 students), operating a website for physics and engineering jobs, fostering relationships between academia and industry, multimedia publicity for frontier research projects, and public policy advocacy that supports scientific research and science education. PRC is also known for its two magazines—Physics Today and Computing in Science and Engineering.
But how do we know whether PRC is performing well? Essentially in the same manner the scientific community judges the effectiveness of any of its activities—through a peer review process. The annual review process for PRC culminated last week, when the PRC advisory committees met at the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland. The chairs of these committees are often members of the AIP Governing Board, and both the chairs and the committee members are recognized experts in the disciplines they are reviewing at AIP. Officers of Member Societies and AIP management devote considerable time and effort to nominating advisory committee chairs and members who are then approved by the AIP Governing Board.
All of these dedicated experts volunteer their time and expertise. To inform committee members and make the evaluations as efficient as possible, PRC staff spends several weeks preparing briefing books that summarize the previous year's activities and pose discussion questions. It is a lot of work for both the reviewers and the AIP staff, so is it worth the effort? Emphatically yes, from my perspective as a former member of several advisory committees and now in my new role of receiving the critical input of the committees. AIP management and staff take the advice of advisory committees seriously. We thank committee members for their work and dedication.
The outcome of this year's meetings will be presented at the next meeting of the Governing Board on March 28, 2008. I will report on the key recommendations in here, my message to you.
Physics of Fluids
This year, AIP's Physics of Fluids (PoF)—a leading journal in its field, founded in 1958—celebrates 50 years of publishing the best in fluid dynamics research. Physics of Fluids is published monthly by AIP in collaboration with The American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics (APS-DFD). The journal is devoted to the publication of original theoretical, computational, and experimental research of the dynamics of gases, liquids, and complex or multiphase fluids. PoF contains articles that describe flow at molecular and nano-scales, as well as descriptions of continental movements. Its scope reaches across several disciplines of applied science, chemistry, geophysics, and atmospheric sciences, among others.
Co-Editors John Kim of UCLA and L. Gary Leal of UCSB have kicked off the journal's golden anniversary by publishing two items that review the journal's history: an Editorial places the journal's future plans in perspective with its distinguished past, and a Retrospective, penned by retired AIP Journal Publisher John T. Scott, provides highlights from the journal's half-century of service to the community. One sees in both these items how the enduring relationship between the journal and the APS-DFD has enabled Physics of Fluids to meet the needs of the community it serves. On the journal's website, watch for news about the 50th anniversary celebrations, which will take place in November, 2008 at the APS-DFD 61st Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
New exhibit at the Niels Bohr Library and Archives highlights women
The Niels Bohr Library and Archives' newest exhibit focuses on women in physics and allied sciences. It includes selections from oral history interviews and books, as well as correspondence, research notebooks and other materials from two collections of personal papers—those of Melba Newell Phillips and Nancy Roman—and highlights collections from the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives. AIP's oral history collection includes interviews with Lise Meitner, Margaret Burbidge, Cecillia Payne Gaposchkin, Vera Rubin, Marie Tharp, Cherry Murray, and dozens of others. Our online archival catalog contains information on more than 200 archival collections at repositories in the U.S. and abroad. For more information about the exhibit, contact the reference staff at extension 3177.
Vera Rubin measuring spectra at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (circa 1970)
Nancy Grace Roman at NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland (1972)
AIP Employee Connection
Coming to a computer near you is the first issue of AIP Employee Connection—our new employee newsletter. Last week, we invited you to let us know about your professional accomplishments to be featured in AIP Matters. This week we invite you to share happy events or achievements from your personal life such as weddings, births, dream vacations, or building a model-T car on the weekends. Submit your stories and digital photos to Human Resources@aip.org.
Behind the scenes at the APS March Meeting
APS staff—and more than a few AIP staff—have finished preparations for the 2008 APS March Meeting, being held this week in New Orleans, Louisiana. With over 7,000 APS members and hundreds of vendors expected to attend, planning for such a large event takes many months. For its part in support of the APS March Meeting, AIP provides services behind the scenes, including exhibits sales and management of a large vendor exhibit (with over 130 display booths) and sponsorship, by Physics Today, of an Exhibitors Lounge where exhibit personnel can network and relax. Through Physics Today Career Network, AIP also provides services designed to bring together employers and job seekers at the APS Job Fair. This APS March Meeting presents new challenges with a very tight move-in and setup schedule at the New Orleans Convention Center. AIP and APS staff began working closely months ago, planning logistics so that all exhibit materials, poster boards, and vendor displays could be set up and ready in just one day.
As it has done for many years, AIP's MGR staff is working with APS' own media team to promote the March and April APS meetings. The APS March meeting is the largest physics gathering of the year and traditionally garners a lot of press attention. MGR spares no effort in alerting journalists in advance of the meeting and provides the tools they need for reporting during the meeting. This includes writing several news releases targeted to national and local news media, running a press room, hosting numerous press conferences, and this year hosting a reception for reporters along with AIP and APS VIPs. As this publication reaches your inbox, MGR staff is opening the press room doors for the first time. With briefings scheduled on the physics of climate change, optical lattices, the stock market, designer viruses, diamond computers, new materials, animal motions, and cell phone viruses, this should be an exciting week.
CiSE and APS team up
Computing in Science & Engineering (CiSE) magazine will be partnering with the American Physical Society in New Orleans. At the CiSE booth, APS members will be able to sign up for the Division of Computational Physics (DCOMP) for free. Typically, APS members pay a fee to join any of the various divisions, topical groups, and forums under the aegis of APS. Each new DCOMP member will also receive a one-year subscription to the magazine (a $45 value).
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For past issues of this newsletter, visit the AIP Matters archives.