AIP | Matters
-- -- March 19, 2012

Cathy O'Riordan Director's Matters

Guest column by Catherine O'Riordan, vice president, Physics Resources

Advice and strategic direction

The lead-up to March madness at AIP's Physics Resources Center (PRC) began in February with preparation for the PRC advisory committee meetings. Over 60 members of the physical sciences community, many of whom were nominated by the Member Societies, converged at ACP on Friday and Saturday, March 9–10, to provide essential advice and counsel for six of the PRC division's programs. The six volunteer committees met with division directors and staff on Friday: Career Network, Education, Media Relations, Government Relations, Statistical Research, and History Programs. The Physics Today Advisory Committee met in January. All committee chairs reconvened on Saturday to report their recommendations to the Physics Resources Policy Committee (PRPC). That committee summarized recommendations across the PRC and will report to the Governing Board at its meeting on March 23.

We kicked off the meetings on Friday with a plenary session to provide volunteers with a high-level view of AIP and to portray the exciting developments across the PRC, setting the context for the individual advisory committee discussions. Fred Dylla welcomed the group with a summary of program highlights across the institute in the past year, with a special focus on changes in our Publishing Center. He also gave an overview of the financial resources used to support PRC outreach programs. My presentation concentrated on the PRC, its successes and challenges of the past year, and the 2012 program budget. The budget slides included a snapshot of costs by division and the diverse sources of revenue that support their important efforts. The committees then spent the rest of the day in session, hearing from the staff about division programs and services, and discussing how to best serve the diversity of PRC program audiences: scientists, students, historians, journalists, physics departments, job seekers, and the general public.

From the left:  Karen Jo Matsler, Jack Hehn, and Diane Jacobs (Education Advisory Committee meeting participants) and Marie Plumb (Statistical Research Advisory Committee member) network during the break. A highlight of the day was the opportunity for committee members to mingle and network during the lunch hour. The discussions between committee members deepen the volunteers' understanding of how PRC programs work, both individually and in collaboration. Many volunteers stayed into the evening to enjoy a reception and dinner together.

The following day, the PRPC met with the advisory committee chairs. After a review of progress made on the recommendations from the previous year, each chair reported their committee's program recommendations. Time was allotted for ample discussion between PRPC members, committee chairs, and AIP senior staff. The PRPC takes a broad perspective of cumulative reports from the various PRC divisions and distills the collected recommendations into a comprehensive report to management and the Governing Board. This year, discussion centered on the visibility of PRC programs, performance metrics, development efforts, succession, and collaborations with Member Societies. The results of the discussions will factor into the development of the PRC Strategic Plan, currently in progress.

On behalf of the entire PRC, thank you to all the volunteers who contributed their valuable time and wisdom to advising AIP on its vast array of PRC programs.
Publishing Matters

AIP Advances publishes special section on the physics of cancer

Cancer may traditionally be seen as a topic of study for the medical community, but starting this week the journal AIP Advances will draw attention to the role that physics can play in understanding the disease. AIP Advances Executive Editor Robert Austin and other respected scientists will contribute papers to a special section that examines the behavior of tumors from a physical science perspective. The goal is to enable new ideas grounded in the physical and mathematical sciences to flow to the cancer research community. The main themes for the special section came from a workshop held in June 2011 at Princeton Physical Sciences Oncology Center and a follow-up session at the recent APS March Meeting. AIP Publishing will post links to articles on Twitter using #PhysofCancer, while Media Services will help publicize a subset of the articles in a news release.
Physics Resources Matters

Join the circus: Big Top Physics and Six Flags' Physics Day

Six Flags logo This spring volunteers from AIP and several of its Member Societies will collaborate on two high-profile public outreach events: Physics Day at Six Flags and the "Big Top Physics" exhibit at the second USA Science and Engineering Festival. We are seeking volunteers for both events.

Each spring, thousands of high-school physics students descend on Six Flags America and its gut-wrenching, free-falling, thrilling rides—and physics enthusiasts from across the Mid-Atlantic region are there to welcome them! Consider volunteering for Physics Day on April 20, 2012. Helpers will host information tables, run accelerometer stations near popular rides, show off physics demonstrations, and talk to students about what it's like to study physics. And yes, there will also be plenty of time to play!

Big Top Physics The following weekend, AIP will join forces with five other physics organizations to create a one-of-a-kind physics circus for the second USA Science and Engineering Festival! The festival will feature over 3,000 fun, interactive exhibits. SPS, APS, AAPT, ASA, OSA, and the University of Maryland's MRSEC program are coming together to present a jumbo exhibit, "Big Top Physics." An estimated 10,000 people could visit our booth over the three days (April 27–29), so we need YOU!

Volunteers will receive a free event t-shirt, snacks, and the opportunity to celebrate science with SPS students, staff, and thousands of science enthusiasts. Register here and you will be contacted about signing up to volunteer for a 3-hour shift.
Member Society Spotlight

AAPT 2012 meeting logoThe wave nature of light and matter

The latest issue of AAPT's eNNOUNCER points to highlights from the 2012 AAPT Winter Meeting, hosted by AAPT's Southern California section. On the convergence of theme and setting:
The meeting theme was "The Wave Nature of Light & Matter." Maxwell's equations were formalized 150 years ago, and this is the 75th anniversary of the Davisson-Germer Nobel Prize. California is known for its water waves, and fluid dynamics is an important area in the beautiful animated movies we have come to enjoy and associate with this region.
Read more about the plenary sessions, the annual Symposium on Physics Education, the distinguished award winners, and more on the AAPT website.
Around AIP
Cinzia Chiang

AIP's Beijing office welcomes a new staff member

On March 15, Cinzia Chiang joined the AIP Beijing office staff as regional sales manager. Cinzia comes to AIP from Ingram Digital where she served as China sales manager for CALIS (Academic Chinese Consortia). Prior to that, she worked for Beijing Zhongke, an STM importing publication company. Complementing her professional experience is a science background; Cinzia holds a Master's degree in genetic breeding from Northeast Agricultural University. Please join us in welcoming Cinzia to AIP.
Coming Up

*All AIP Events listed below are in College Park, MD

Wednesday, March 21

  • Audit Committee meeting
  • AIP Executive Committee meeting

Thursday, March 22

  • Assembly of Society Officers

Friday, March 23

  • AIP Governing Board meeting

March 31–April 3

  • APS April Meeting, "100 Years of Cosmic Ray Physics" (Atlanta, GA)