Summer: Time for transitions and science
The traditional start of summer—the Memorial Day weekend—is behind us. Whatever you did with friends and family, I hope your weekend was memorable. Many of you experienced important transitions: perhaps a party for a graduating student, the joy of a wedding, the poignancy of a Memorial Day ceremony, or simply an opportunity to relax and contemplate the coming summer season.
A very important group of high school students spent most of the weekend hard at work: 24 of the top physics students in the country and semifinalists in the 2008 U.S. Physics Olympiad were knee deep in physics training camp at the University of Maryland, College Park. Today, five of these "best and brightest" students will emerge as finalists. In July they will travel to Hanoi, Vietnam to join the best students from more than 80 other nations for the Olympiad competition. Our friends at the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) organize this event annually, and AIP supports the effort by raising the necessary funds for the team through generous donations from all 10 AIP Member Societies, former competitors and their families, companies and other generous donors. We will keep you informed of the team's progress through AIP Matters and links to the AAPT and AIP Web sites.
The national news this summer will be dominated by the run-up to the other Olympics (you know—the games in Beijing), the U.S. presidential campaign, record-high gasoline prices, and an occasional mention of a summer festival to lighten the headlines. I hope many of you will take the opportunity to participate in the four-day World Science Festival in New York City this week. Led by Brian Greene, a multi-talented theoretical physicist from Columbia University (who is also an accomplished teacher, writer and actor), and Tracy Day, an Emmy award–winning television producer, the festival kicks off this Thursday and hosts 40 different events throughout the city. Its goal is to demonstrate that science is an integral part of life and culture, and "to move science from the cultural fringes to the center," as Greene says. Festival events cover a spectrum of topics, from quantum weirdness and parallel universes to the genetics of aging and the challenges of the energy and climate problems—all presented by talented scientists who simultaneously educate and entertain. In addition, attendees can experience the traditional art, music and theater of a summer festival where the connections to the science of sight and sound will be made evident. The festival is a great way to spend a summer weekend, and it is only a train ride away for both New York and Maryland employees.
Save the date!
The AIP annual picnics are planned for June 23 at ACP and September 18 in Melville. Stay tuned for more information.
Publishing Services Subcommittee meets in Melville
In early May, the AIP Subcommittee on Publishing Services held a very productive meeting at the Melville Publishing Center. The Subcommittee—which reports to the AIP Committee on Publishing Policy—is charged with maintaining an overview of the Institute's umbrella publishing services provided to AIP Member and Affiliate Societies and to the scientific community at large. The subcommittee, which meets twice a year, consists of representatives designated by each of the Member Societies that use AIP Publishing Services. It is currently chaired by A. Jeffrey Giacomin, who represents The Society of Rheology. Besides the usual updates on current and planned initiatives, much of the discussion at this recent meeting centered on the vision for the future of AIP publishing services.
Partnership raises sales from visual archives
Marketing specialized and limited-use items, such as the photos of physicists and astronomers in the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives of the Niels Bohr Library & Archives, can be difficult. So we were pleased when, back in 2000, we were approached by Science Photo Library, a UK-based commercial firm that claims to be "the leading provider of science images." Most of the firm's sales are images of contemporary science, but it does get occasional requests for historical photos. We sent them copies of a few hundred portraits of Nobel Prize winners and the like, with a non-exclusive license to market those items for any purpose that had educational value—essentially any use that would not demean, satirize or misinterpret the pioneers of our field. Over the years, we have regularly sent Science Photo Library more images, and the sales have steadily increased. The licensing fees now amount to more than a third of the Visual Archives' revenue.
Welcome U.S. Physics Team
Last week, the U.S. Physics Team convened at the University of Maryland for an intensive nine-day training camp. Most of that time was spent studying advanced physics principles, but each year the AIP Government Relations team arranges for the students to visit the nation's capital to meet with their senators and representatives. This helps students learn to communicate important science to legislators and others who don't usually hear about science. On one stop, the students presented Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts with a puzzle key ring that is solved with the physics concept of centrifugal force. The key ring carried a flyer that read "Science Education Pays Off."
As the end of another school year approaches and our thoughts drift toward long summer days filled with sunshine, remember that time flies when you are having fun. Before you know it, your little one will be heading off to college. AIP offers you the opportunity to save for that educational expense through a 529 tax-advantaged savings plan that enables you to invest for college—free of federal and sometimes state income taxes. You can use this investment for tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and other qualified higher-education expenses. To learn more about your state's 529 savings program, or to enroll, go to http://www.nysaves.org/, http://www.collegesavingsmd.org/ or http://www.virginia529.com/.
Serving those who seek a sustainable future
Developing new methods of cleaner "green" energy is arguably one of the most important issues facing our society today. To assist the development of basic research in this area, AIP is establishing a new journal—the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (JRSE)—that will foster the basic research behind renewable and sustainable energy production, including solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and nuclear, among others. JRSE—an interdisciplinary, international, peer-reviewed journal—will serve the needs of researchers in the forefront of this rapidly developing field. Via Peer X-Press, JRSE is scheduled to open for manuscript submissions in the summer of 2008, with the first issue of this rapid-publication, online-only journal to be published in January 2009. AIP is pleased to have three leaders in the field serving as co-editors of this exciting new publication—Lawrence Kazmerski and John A. Turner from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, and P. Craig Taylor from the Colorado School of Mines. Watch the JRSE homepage for more news.
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