AIP | Matters
-- -- June 18, 2012

Fred Dylla Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

A sense of place

We made an important announcement to AIP Publishing staff last week that will have a positive impact for many years. AIP Publishing currently occupies leased space in Melville, NY, that was designed for its publishing operations when we first occupied 2 Huntington Quadrangle in 1999. Our lease expires in two years, and a number of key questions for both staff and management center around where we should be located upon the expiration of the lease.

Should we stay on Long Island, the home of AIP Publishing for more than 25 years? What should a new workspace look and feel like? How can the workspace design support the business needs of AIP as a publisher for our own publications and for five of our Member Societies?

Publishing Center Anxieties were lowered and expectations were raised when I announced to the staff that AIP Publishing would be staying on Long Island, and that we would immediately involve architects, real estate consultants, and staff in the design of our new workspace. Our goal is not to provide just the basic amenities, but more importantly, include design elements that help us work better and enhance communication and collaboration. Done properly, the expense of optimizing the work environment pays off immensely in terms of employee engagement.

There are the inevitable tradeoffs—How much open space to encourage both formal and informal interactions versus quiet space for contemplative activities and private conversations? How does one integrate the ubiquitous electronic tools in today's office environment so that they continue to improve productivity without stifling face-to-face communication?

I am reminded that except for the electronics, the debate on the mix of open versus closed workspaces in the office environment is nothing new. Frank Lloyd Wright designed an open, naturally lit office environment for the SC Johnson Company in the midst of the great depression in 1938. That space still functions for this successful company. Did the business culture help incubate the groundbreaking design, or did the design help ensure the productivity of this company?

We are excited about the prospects of designing our Publishing Center's work environment to enhance our culture.
Publishing Matters

Biomicrofluidics video contest winner highlights the beauty of fluid dynamics on the tiny scale

Self-Running Droplets: The winning video shows the self-sustained motion of insoluble surfactant droplets on thin liquid films.  Droplets propel backward, meander across a film, and undulate in tandem in the video "Self-Running Droplets," which was named winner of the 2012 Biomicrofluidics Small Matters video contest. The video was produced by researchers from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, who placed a drop of insoluble surfactant on a silicon plate and then filmed the action as fluid flowing past lifted the droplet and set it in motion. The research might be useful in designing microfluidic systems that pick up small particles and route them to designated destinations.

The first Small Matters video contest was held in 2011 to showcase the field of micro- and nanofluidics. All entries are judged by a panel of scientists from the Biomicrofluidics Editorial Advisory Board based on their scientific merit, appropriateness of theme, originality, creativity, and artistry/aesthetic appeal. This year's winner was announced at the 3rd Conference on Advances in Microfluidics and Nanofluidics, held May 23–26 in Dalian, China. The winning group received an iPad 2 as a grand prize. All 2012 video entries can be viewed on the video contest gallery, including the winning entry and the two runners-up: "Particle Manipulation Using Bubble Streaming" and "Magnetic Domain Wall-Mediated Superparamagnetic Bead Transport."
Physics Resources Matters

A graphic celebration of Feynman

The Center for History of Physics recently celebrated the birthday of Richard Feynman, physicist and jokester, with a talk and book signing for the public. The evening featured the graphic novel Feynman, written by Jim Ottaviani and illustrated by Leland Myrick. Jim and Leland wanted their biography of the fascinating physicist to reach a new, younger audience, and there is no better way than through a graphic novel. Their book follows a long line of "comic books" with themes drawn from science. (The Niels Bohr Library & Archives currently has an exhibit on science comics.) From the first superhero comics of the 1930s, this genre has mixed serious topics with fun presentation. The US government issued comics about atomic power, and General Electric published a series of science comics in the 1950s.

Jim and Leland spoke of their own love of science. Jim, especially, related his fascination with Feynman, and the audience was clearly with him the whole way. About 50 members of the public were present, along with many ACP staff members with their teenage daughters and sons. The younger members of the audience were excited to meet an author and an illustrator and to hear about the process of going from an idea, to a much-too-long text, to a much leaner and illustrated book.

Many brought their own copies along for the book signing, and others made a donation to the History Center for the opportunity to receive a signed copy. Not only did Jim sign, but Leland sketched a wonderful caricature of Feynman on each title page.

This event was the first Science Heritage Public Lecture sponsored by AIP's History Center this year. Another is scheduled for the fall.
Member Society Spotlight

AAPM reaches out to China's medical physics community

AAPM logo Charlie Ma (professor of medical physics, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia), Anthony Seibert (professor of medical physics, University of California-Davis and chair of the AAPM Board of Directors), Bill Hendee (editor, Medical Physics and professor, Mayo Clinic, University of Colorado and Medical College of Wisconsin), and Xingtao Ai (chief representative, AIP Beijing Office) have just concluded a 10-day goodwill tour to universities, hospitals, and cancer centers in China.

Faculty and students of medical physics from Zhejiang University are pictured with Drs. Seibert (2nd from left), Hendee (3rd from left), Ma (3rd from right), and Ai (right). Zhejiang University was one of twelve institutions on the AAPM delegation’s rigorous itinerary.

The mission of the tour was to establish collaboration between medical physicists in China and those in North America, provide pathways to membership for Chinese medical physicists and students in the AAPM, and encourage Chinese physicists to submit papers to Medical Physics. Drs. Ma, Seibert, Hendee, and Ai were hosted graciously by all of the institutions, and several potential collaborations were discussed. Medical Physics is an emerging scientific discipline in China, and there is an unmet need for more physicists in the research laboratories and clinics of China.

Prior to tour, the AAPM representatives attended the World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering from May 26–31. AIP’s Beijing office staff assisted with the exhibit. Seibert remarked, "Our goodwill ambassador trip on behalf of the AAPM, the Medical Physics journal, and AIP has been very gratifying as well as eye-opening. The presence of diagnostic medical physicists in China is practically nonexistent, and only a small number of therapy medical physicists are trained each year. Communications with our hosts have opened potential venues of collaboration that can be mutually beneficial in the areas of education, research, and clinical and professional activities to increase the opportunities for students to enter the field of medical physics and enhance the professional status in China. We are very positive about the impact of our trip and look forward to future interactions."

The travelling members of the US Physics Team have been selected! See the AAPT website to see who will be representing the United States at next month's international competition in Estonia.
Coming Up

Tuesday, June 19

  • ACP summer picnic, 12–2:30 pm (College Park, MD)

June 22–24

  • AIP Executive Committee retreat (Lambertville, NJ)

June 25–28

  • Workshop for new physics and astronomy faculty (AAPT/APS/AAS) (College Park, MD)

June 29

  • SPS Executive Committee meeting (College Park, MD)