Director's Matters

Guest column by Catherine O'Riordan, VP, Physics Resources

Cathy O'Riordan

Mission, goals, programs and services, and the scientific community define who we are as an organization. Our mission is our driving purpose; our goals, what we want to accomplish; our programs and services, paths by which we pursue the goals; and the scientific community, whom we serve. AIP offers programs and services to 127,000 members of its Member Societies, who constitute an integral part of the scientific community we serve. The beneficiaries of AIP programs and services are more than "valued customers"; they are part of the support structure itself. More than 300 volunteers from the scientific community, most of whom belong to one of the Member Societies, currently serve on 31 AIP committees. They have a vested interest in our success, and there is no group better suited to lend expertise and advice to help guide and build our programs.

Last week, the Physics Resources Center (PRC) directors and staff consulted with their advisory committees to see if we're making the mark. A total of eight PRC advisory committee meetings took place March 5-6 in College Park. Some of the questions discussed: Are division goals on track to optimally advance the institute's mission? Given our capabilities and resources, do PRC programs and services fulfill the community's needs? What are the major issues and concerns in the physics community with respect to education? What are the priorities for science in general and for physics specifically that warrant Media and Government Relations' attention? Which elements of the Physics Today Career Network and partner websites work well, and which do not? Each committee prepared written recommendations, which committee chairs brought forward to the PRC Policy Committee on Saturday, March 7. In follow-up, the PRC division directors will construct formal responses to the committees' advice within 30 days, and the PRC Policy Committee will report its top recommendations to the Governing Board when they meet on March 27.

A list of AIP committee volunteers can be found on the AIP website. As the new vice president for Physics Resources, these meetings were my first opportunity to meet many of our volunteers. If you are in contact with any of these committee members, please join me in thanking them for the valuable service they contribute on behalf of the AIP community.


Did you hear? On March 3, the Wall Street Journal published AIP Executive Director Fred Dylla's letter to the editor, in response to L. Gordon Crovitz's column of February 23, "Information Wants to Be Expensive: Newspapers need to act like they're worth something." Fred's letter draws the analogy between the newspaper situation and scientific publishing, and sheds light on the business realities of open access.

4th Annual Electronic Resources and Libraries Conference
AIP was a proud sponsor of ER&L 2009—the 4th Annual Electronic Resources and Libraries Conference, held in February on the UCLA campus. The conference dealt with the unique challenges facing electronic resource librarians: vendor relations, collections development, statistics, e-resource delivery, and so on. Julie Zhu, senior project coordinator in the Online Services Division, and Bruce Shriver, senior marketing manager for Journals and Conference Proceedings, attended sessions and represented AIP at the sponsors' reception. They discussed the AIP Digital Archive, online access to the extended backfiles of Physics Today and the AIP Conference Proceedings series, and recent enhancements to Scitation's Library Service Center, among other topics. By reaching out to librarians at conferences such as this one, AIP strengthens its ties to this important community.

Pictured (from left to right), at the JRSE booth, are Yvonne Reyes, Marketing Manager; Brandon Miller, Journal Development Associate, and Catherine O'Riordan, Vice President, Physics Resources Center. Generating attention at AAPT/AAAS 2009
AIP hosted a Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (JRSE) booth at the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Winter Meeting, held February 12-16 in Chicago in conjunction with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2009 Annual Meeting. The theme of the joint meeting was "Our Planet and Its Life: Origins and Futures," which made JRSE a good promotional fit for this audience. More than 7,000 scientists and physics teachers attended. To introduce JRSE and draw attention to AIP's presence, an e-mail invitation was sent to pre-registered attendees, encouraging them to stop by the booth for information and a gift. Likewise, AIP used the occasion to publicize the upcoming launch of the first JRSE e-mail newsletter, set to debut in March. Nearly 50% of all the booth visitors signed up to receive the newsletter's first issue, and JRSE was very well received at this important event.

Cathy O'Riordan and Randy Nanna at CiSE booth PTCN and CiSE representatives also attend AAPT/AAAS Winter Meeting
Representatives from Physics Today Career Network (PTCN) managed the job fair at the joint AAPT/AAAS meeting. Bonnie Feldman, PTCN manager, and Alix Brice, senior marketing and sales representative, put together the event, met with employers and job seekers, and helped set up nearly 100 on-site interviews. AAPT is a PTCN partner.

Also in attendance were Cathy O'Riordan and Randy Nanna, publisher of Physics Today, both pictured here at the Computing in Science and Engineering (CiSE) booth. AAPT partners with AIP and the IEEE Computer Society to offer AAPT members a reduced individual subscription rate for CiSE.

What's around ACP, literally?
M square The University of Maryland and its partners have ambitious plans for the M Square Research Park, where the American Center for Physics is situated. If you haven't plugged into the M Square website, it's worth a few minutes of your time. The park now features three main technology areas: food safety and agriculture, language and national security, and climate change and weather prediction. See the tenants and neighbors page for a profile of the organizations involved. We've seen construction across the street for a few years now on the "anchor" for the research park, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center. Construction has been delayed, but is expected to resume once government funding clears. The master plan for the park includes several phases, and, when completed, could employ 6,500 people. The Rethink College Park website also provides some information about development plans for M Square, in addition to other projects underway in the city. ACP has its own "New in the Neighborhood" site, which highlights these recent development efforts.

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