AIP | Matters
-- -- December 17, 2012

Greg Good Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

Down to the wire

Hopefully, in the days since this was written congressional leaders and the Obama Administration will have reached an agreement to head off what has become known as “the fiscal cliff.” If when going home tonight you hear on the radio that negotiations still haven’t yielded a solution, the nation will be even closer to changes—all of them undesirable—on a number of fronts.

Most immediately, every payroll department—including that for AIP—will shift to new tax schedules. Temporary reductions in income taxes and Social Security taxes will automatically disappear, meaning less take-home pay for every American.

Federal agencies will see their budgets for this year—again, automatically—reduced. Nondefense departments and agencies will see a decline of 8.2 percent in the amount of money they will have for this year. Defense budgets will be reduced by an even larger amount—9.4 percent. Making it even more difficult will be the need to fit these 12-month reductions into the 10 remaining months of this fiscal year.

The impacts of these cuts in the budgets for federal departments and agencies will not be as immediately apparent as will the reductions in our net pay, but they will be significant. While there have been no official numbers about how many research grants will not be made or facility upgrades delayed, there have been estimates. FYI #126 summarizes a September report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) about the immediate effect of these cuts on federal R&D and the projected impact on the US economy as follows:

“ITIF predicts federally funded R&D will be reduced by 8.8 percent or $12.5 billion in this fiscal year (2013) as compared to FY 2011. This would be only the first year of such reductions; cuts of this magnitude would occur every year through 2021. In all, one ITIF calculation estimates a reduction of $95 billion in federal R&D would be made if sequestration is allowed to run its full course.

“The foundation estimates the ripple effect of this reduction in research would result in a decline in the Gross Domestic Product of between $203 and $860 billion (depending on the baseline used) over nine years. The employment impacts are significant, ITIF stating ‘We estimate that sequestration of R&D would result in the US economy having approximately 200,000 fewer jobs per year between 2013 and 2016. This would result in the US unemployment rate being 0.2 percentage points higher than it otherwise would be.’ Of note, the report explains: ‘We estimate that sequestration would result in US scientific journal publications declining almost 8 percent and patents near 3 percent over the 9-year period, when compared to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline'."

There are mixed messages about how close congressional and administration officials are to agree on a plan to reduce the federal deficit through a mixture of changes in entitlement programs like Medicaid, tax changes, and spending. AIP and some of its Member Societies have written to the President and key members of Congress, urging them to find a solution to avoid the January 2 sequestration. (See FYI #110.) The solution to this impasse—if there is one—will likely be in the final days of this month. And any agreement must be translated into legislation that will be passed by both the House and Senate. We are down to the wire.

member Society Spotlight

AGU draws attention to geophysics in San Francisco

When a professional society brings roughly 22,000 people to town, people take notice—especially when the local inhabitants can personally relate to the topic! San Francisco has first-hand experience with powerful geological forces, and its mayor extended an official welcome to AGU Fall Meeting-goers. Those who attended the meeting can attest to the uninterrupted activity throughout the December 3–7 conference, and those who didn't can still get a taste of what transpired. Check out AGU's blogroll, and nearly 100 lectures and sessions taped for video on demand. See how AIP connected with the AGU community in the Publishing Matters and Physics Resources Matters columns below.

Physics Resources Matters

From sea to sea: AIP Publishing visits AGU and MRS conferences in San Francisco and Boston

Journal manager Jennifer Simmerer exhibits AIP journals at the AGU meeting

AIP Publishing was present at two recent conferences—AGU's 45th Annual Fall Meeting in San Francisco and the Materials Research Society (MRS) Fall Meeting in Boston.

Several hundred researchers in a variety of fields—such as meteorology, hydrology, and space and plasma physics—stopped by the AIP booth at the AGU to discuss our journals. Many people expressed interest in one of AIP's newest journals, the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, by signing up for its newsletter. Journal manager Jennifer Simmerer met with distinguished scientists in nonlinear geophysics and in geothermal energy to get feedback about the future of science in both of these growing areas. Members of these communities emphasized the need for fundamental research and for established outlets for high-quality papers.

MRS meeting attendee Feng Li (left) meets new APL Materials editor Judith MacManus-Driscoll.

More than 700 authors stopped by the AIP booth at MRS to discuss their experience with AIP journals and to learn more about the new AIP materials science journal, APL Materials. Authors had the chance to meet new APL Materials editor Judith MacManus-Driscoll, as well as to pick up copies of the Applied Physics Letters (APL) and Journal of Chemical Physics (JCP) editor's choice collections. Visitors also received copies of the APL calendar and participated in a raffle for an iPad. Finally, APL celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special symposium, where seven distinguished speakers from among APL's most cited authors presented milestones from their respective scientific fields.

Member Society News

Physics outreach at AGU

AIP Physics Resources Center staff interacted with AGU meeting goers in many ways. For example, Bo Hammer, associate vice president of physics resources (left), presented a poster, “Scientific Society Partnerships & Effective Strategies for Advancing Policy Objectives,” which he coauthored with AIP Government Relations team member Jennifer Greenamoyer. The poster focused on AIP’s collaboration with AGU on three policy areas: federal science funding and the fiscal cliff, Pu-238, and STEM education.

Greg Good, director for the Center for History of Physics, also presented a poster on the recent accession of the AGU’s archival records by AIP’s Niels Bohr Library and Archives. With these records, AIP now houses one of the most important collections for research in the history of geophysics. Greg also met with Alik Ismail-Zadeh, secretary general of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), regarding the organization of the IUGG’s all-union Working Group on the History of Geophysics.

Jeff Beebe manning the PTOL boothMagazine marketing director Jeff Bebee (right) ran Physics Today’s exhibit. Jeff, along with publisher Randy Nanna, surveyed attendees about their Physics Today reading habits. Randy also attended a professional networking luncheon for AGU students of all levels—postdoc, graduate, and undergraduate.

SalmonChris Gorski, writer and editor for AIP’s Inside Science, was drawn in by researcher Daniele Tonina’s presentation, and wrote a news story about the significant footprint salmon leave behind on the landscape. Gorski also captured a bit of the science on the Inside Science Currents blog, see: Detecting Quakes With Smartphones, How Waterfalls Grow, And More; Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations; and Science Experiments In Space. Expect to see a geophysics-related subject featured in Inside Science TV in the near future.

SPS was one of 25 exhibitors at the AGU Exploration Station, a free family-oriented outreach event conducted on December 2, prior to the opening of the meeting. SPS director Toni Sauncy was joined by SPS Zone 18 councilor, Brook Haage, and five officers from the Hartnell College SPS chapter. The group demonstrated “Invisible Fields in the Universe” with a giant spandex “space time” fabric, magnetic field challenge games, and spectrum glass to explore the electromagnetic spectrum (at least the visible part!). The group stayed busy for the entire four hours, with a constant stream of inquisitive young students and their family members.

Member Society News

W-2 reporting of employer-sponsored health coverage

On the last pay stub of the year, eligible employees will see MEMO code “E” with a value (employer and employee share) of employer-sponsored health care coverage; it will also appear in Box 12 code DD of their W-2. This satisfies a new IRS requirement to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan. Employer-paid health coverage continues to be not taxable. According to the IRS, “This reporting is for informational purposes only and will provide employees useful and comparable consumer information on the cost of their health care coverage.”

AIP employees can access their current and past W-2s online at

Coming Up

Wednesday, December 19

  • Holiday party (College Park)
  • Last day for ACP holiday gift drive (College Park)

December 24–25

  • AIP closed for the holidays (Melville and College Park)

December 31–January 1

  • AIP closed for New Year's Day (Melville and College Park)