Physics 2005 Gets Underway
In June 2004 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted Resolution 58/293, noting that "the year 2005 is the centenary of seminal scientific discoveries by Albert Einstein" and proclaiming 2005 the "International Year of Physics." Notwithstanding, many of the organizations that were already deeply involved in preparations are continuing to call it the "World Year of Physics" (see this Newsletter Spring 2004). Along with dozens of planning meetings, organizers have already begun to hold public events celebrating Einstein and the accomplishments of modern physics. When centenaries loom, magazines often try to publish their special issues ahead of others, before public interest is saturated. Discover magazine won the early-bird prize with a splendidly illustrated special Einstein issue of September 2004.
The 2005 international launch conference will take place in Paris January 13-15, supported by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, the European Physical Society, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and other organizations and foundations. Nobel Prize Laureates and leaders from science, industry and politics will come together with young physics students from all over the world to share their vision of "Physics for Tomorrow."
A random sample of planned events: a truck with physics experiments to tour Austria; a WYP2005 poster and tee-shirts to be produced for university students in Brazil; a WYP2005 calendar to be distributed to Canadian high schools; an Asia Physics Olympiad to be held in Riau, Indonesia, with participation by 20 countries; the inauguration of a Tanzania Physical Society, synchronized with WYP, to assemble secondary school physics teachers at the University of Dar-es-Salaam; oral histories of ethnic chinese physicists to be collected in Taiwan; a "Measure the Earth with Shadows"event to coordinate students around the United States who will determine the Earth's diameter in the manner of the ancient Greek Eratosthenes.... For these and the many other events and activities planned, please check periodically the Web site www.wyp2005.org and also the (mainly American) Web site www.physics2005.org.
It is not too late for physicists, historians of science and science archivists to take advantage of this unique opportunity to improve public understanding of science through its historical context by planning local events. A list of ideas may be found at www.physics2005.org/events/ideas.html. Among other services, in North America you can request a speaker through the WYP Speakers Program, at www.physics2005.org/events/speakers