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FYI Number 118: September 18, 2001

AIP Gears Up to Select Science Fellows for 2002

In the coming months, AIP will hold competitions to select its State Department and Congressional Science Fellows for next year. The AIP Fellowship programs offer U.S. scientists an interesting opportunity to assist your country by providing technical advice and analysis to the nation's domestic or foreign policymakers.

Applications for the AIP State Department Science Fellowship must be postmarked by November 1, 2001. For the Congressional Science Fellowship, applications must be postmarked by January 15, 2002. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, be members of one or more of the ten AIP Member Societies, and have a PhD (in some cases, equivalent research experience may be considered). Both Fellowships will begin in the fall of 2002; see the web sites listed below for more details on how to apply.

Many of today's most challenging issues possess a scientific or technical component. Examples include access to and use of information technologies, implications of global warming, export controls and trade, intellectual property rights, security and intelligence capabilities, and energy policy. With its Fellowships, AIP seeks to provide a public service by enabling scientists to spend at least a year actively supporting the work of the Congress or the U.S. Department of State in addressing such issues. AIP State Department Science Fellows work in a bureau or office of the State Department, while Congressional Science Fellows serve in a Member's office or work for a congressional committee. AIP sponsors its Fellows - as do many other scientific societies - under the auspices of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The programs are intended to benefit the federal government, the science community, and the individual. Fellows offer their technical expertise to support the making of laws and policy; in return, they gain an understanding of the legislative and policymaking process, and they help to expand the dialogue and relationship between the government and the scientific community.


Applications must be postmarked by November 1, 2001; see for qualifications and application requirements.

In a report last year, the Department of State acknowledged "the growing significance of science and technology based issues in foreign policy," and pledged to "do what is necessary to respond to this challenge." The Department joined forces with AIP to establish the AIP State Department Science Fellowship, and in May, the first Fellow in this new program was selected. He is George Atkinson, a professor and former department head of Chemistry and Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, and President and CEO of Innovative Lasers Corp. He has taken a leave of absence from the university to serve his Fellowship term.

In a March 2001 speech, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, stated,

"I believe the State Department and its employees stand at the international intersection of ideas and information, of cultures and communities, and, in the final analysis, of peace and war in the international system. After all is said and done, it is your job to sort the complexity, make it comprehensible, and make it actionable in the national interest.... Because of this imperative, I believe you need cutting edge scientific and technical tools and expertise available to you to accomplish your mission." This program is intended to help make available that expertise.


Applications must be postmarked by January 15, 2002; see for qualifications and application requirements.

AIP has sponsored a Congressional Science Fellow annually since 1988. The 2001-2002 Fellow, Maureen Mellody, is a member of the Acoustical Society of America and completed her PhD in Applied Physics from the University of Michigan in December 2000; her thesis was on recognizing singer-specific properties in order to identify individual singing voices. She has also worked with a physician on analyzing vocal problems, and was involved in a study at the Chicago Board of Trade, seeking a correlation between the frequency of sound in the trading pit and the trading action.

In May, House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) called on the science community to become more involved, as citizens and constituents, with Congress:

"So I urge you to help us understand the value of science and to take the time to understand the world of politics and budgeting. That way each of our worlds can inform the other. And that's when the scientific enterprise and the nation will thrive."

Several AIP Member Societies - the American Physical Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the Optical Society of America - also sponsor Congressional Science Fellows. Links to these programs can be found on AIP's Congressional Science Fellowship web site.

Audrey T. Leath
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3094

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