James StithLeadership Matters

Jim Stith's farewell message
Today is Catherine O'Riordan's first day as Vice President of the Physics Resources Center (PRC), and I ask you to join me in welcoming her to the AIP family. Cathy brings unique and valuable experience to AIP, and with your help and cooperation, she will have a significant impact.

With Cathy’s arrival, it is time for me to say "so long," and "thank you."  I thank you for 10-plus years of support and camaraderie, but most of all, for your friendship. My time at AIP has come to a close, and I look forward to spending time with family, spoiling grandkids, and trying to pare down the long list of "honey do's."

Looking back at my tenure at AIP, what makes me most proud?  Well, honestly, the PRC itself. The Center is as great as the sum of its parts. I was blessed with outstanding directors and superb employees, who worked together as a family to develop a superior suite of diverse programs and services to the physics and physics-related community.

Physics Today (PT), a respected and highly valued source of information that serves as a bridge between the diverse specialties that make up the AIP Member Societies, has created an online presence that gives new meaning to the term "physics today." PT, along with Career Network, has significantly expanded its reach to effectively serve and support the broader physical science community.

The Education division, through the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and Sigma Pi Sigma (ΣΠΣ), the national physics honor society, provide unique leadership opportunities for literally thousands of students and play a huge role in the professional development of scientists. We help students find a place within the physics community, where they contribute to the body of knowledge or grow the public's appreciation for the wonders of physics. From outreach programs to undergraduate research reported at Member Society and other national meetings, the combined 1100-plus chapters located at more than 700 institutions show an unprecedented level of activity.

The efforts of the world-class Center for History of Physics and the Niels Bohr Library and Archives to "preserve and make known the history of modern physics and allied fields" are clearly recognized by the larger community. The successful $3M fundraising campaign completed several years ago and the recent gift of $3M to endow the position of the Director of the Center are testaments to the high regard of the community for the professionalism, productivity, and work ethic of the staff.

The activity and impact of the Media and Government Relations division is especially noteworthy, as partially reflected in their increased staff presence on Capitol Hill and their ability to consistently support all 10 Member Societies. The NSF-funded research on our TV news service - Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science - has allowed us to better understand how to reach the general public with quality science news segments. Inside Science Research - Physics News Update, and the solid reputation of FYI, a science policy news bulletin, afford AIP the opportunity to effectively serve an unprecedented number of people.

The Statistical Research Center is unique among federations of professional societies in its ability to provide timely and accurate data that reflect the health and vitality of the field. I know of no other data collection effort that consistently reports response rates in the 90+ percentile.

While I am exceptionally proud of the contributions and work of the PRC units, I recognize that without the support and professionalism of our colleagues who work for the CFO, the VP for Human Resources and the Senior VP for Publishing, PRC could not have been successful. To those that I interacted with on a frequent basis, and to those whose work behind the scenes made all of us "look good," I truly thank you.

AIP has provided me with a rich set of challenges and experiences, and I believe that I am a better person as a consequence of my having been here. But the part of the experience that I will forever treasure will be remembrances of the people whose paths crossed mine these last 10 years. Thanks for the memories. I wish you Godspeed and good luck.


Jim will remain on staff through September, helping with the transition in leadership.


Fueling AIP's newest journal JRSE
Manuscript submissions are being received by AIP’s brand-new research journal, Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (JRSE). For JRSE's submission and peer review website, the Peer X-Press team developed a new look and feel that better reflects the look of the JRSE homepage on Scitation. Since the journal began accepting submissions at the beginning of August, the co-editors and support staff at the Melville Publishing Center have been fielding questions from potential authors and other members of the community. The journal’s first submissions have already entered the peer review process. AIP's advertising sales team has also interacted with clients, informing them of opportunities available through JRSE.

JRSE is the first journal that AIP Online and Publishing Technology staff have released on the new Polopoly platform. One of Europe's leading content management software providers, Polopoly's content manager is suited for applications that need to manage large volumes of information at high speed. Several new items were rolled into JRSE's launch, including the ability to syndicate on RSS or Atom feeds. On the JRSE homepage is a "Most Recent Related Articles" section, which is actually a stored RSS search into Scitation that is fully dynamic and updated regularly to show new articles as they become available. Keep up to date with developments about AIP's newest journal at jrse.aip.org.

Physics Today blogs the conventionsPhysics Today Campign blog banner
One of the realities of American politics is that politicians rarely worry about science. But science is more visible in this election than it has been in past ones, thanks to new concerns about the state of US education, global warming, and the energy crisis, which are forcing candidates to provide plans to help solve these issues.

On a specific Campaign 2008 website that is updated weekly, Physics Today is tracking the candidates' positions and statements related to a broad range of science issues. On a daily basis, Maryland convention delegate Ryan Ewing provided blog entries from inside the Democratic Convention. Jill Burcum from the Star Tribune will take over this role and blog the Republican convention from the Twin Cities. The Physics Today Campaign 2008 website is a joint project of Physics Today magazine and AIP's Inside Science News Service.

Ice cream? For me?
Dishing out ice creamOn Friday, August 22, AIP officers dished out frozen delights to College Park employees at the annual ice cream social. Jim Stith and Richard Baccante also helped raise awareness for the upcoming Sigma Pi Sigma Congress at Fermilab this November. The turnout was great...who knew so many people would leave their offices for ice cream?

Know any college students looking for professional experience and spending money?  Several positions are available for interns: Neils Bohr Library (MD); History Center (MD); Information Services (MD); Human Resources (NY); and Web Design (NY). See the AIP Employment Opportunities website for more details on these and other open positions.

We invite your feedback to this newsletter via e-mail to aipmatters@aip.org.

For past issues of this newsletter, visit the AIP Matters archives.