As we approach the centenary of AIP's founding, we are pursuing a unifying vision for the physical sciences by listening to the diverse voices that comprise our community. This diversity is our core strength.”
- David J. Helfand, Board Chair
When I look back on the past few years, two words sum up my AIP story since I joined as CEO in 2018: change and transformation.
And 2021 was no different. We have continued to be guided by the four pillars of our Strategic Framework, using them to help us move closer toward its vision of AIP-2025. This year saw us make critical progress in each of the four pillars: AIP’s role as a federation of physical science societies; an institute that drives progress in our fields; a trusted, reputable source of information and analysis; and our standing as having an engaged, talented and diverse staff that delivers excellence to our stakeholders.
When I look back on 2021, I am proud for all that the AIP team and our Member Societies have been able to accomplish during these challenging times of COVID-19. I am hopeful and eager for what awaits us in the future as we move from the planning phase to the implementation phase of our transformation.
In reading this Annual Report, you can learn about the many ways we continue to deliver on our mission—to advance, promote and serve the physical sciences for the benefit of humanity. But before you do, I’d like to highlight three specific areas of our work from 2021 that stand out to me.
First, we’ve reimagined how we can better support our Member Societies through the establishment of a new Federation Office, as well as hiring our first Chief Federation Officer, Kevin Watkins.
This new role helps AIP to further our goal of being a vibrant federation that advances the success of our 10 Member Societies whose membership in turn comprises 116,000 members of the physical sciences community—researchers, teachers, students, scientists, engineers, and other practitioners.
I’m also proud of the work we’ve done this year to reinforce our work in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and accessibility. Our efforts have grown organically from the 2020 TEAM-UP Report, which you can read more about in the “On Diversity” section of this Annual Report. TEAM-UP has been a game changer for us. But more importantly we are working to ensure the actions that follow change the narrative for underrepresented groups of the physical sciences community. We see first-hand how much needed community of support for DEIBA is evolving and expanding.
Finally, I feel a personal sense of responsibility for the new vault that houses our growing rare books collection. While building a vault itself may not seem particularly exciting, what the vault represents is a big deal: our library’s collection contains more than 4,000 rare books and manuscripts that document important discoveries in physics and physical sciences going back centuries, with some of the earliest books in our collection dating from the 1500s. There are only a handful of collections in the world of this scale and importance, and our collection contains some amazing treasures, like the first edition of Galileo’s Dialogo and Richard Feynman’s laboratory notebooks. We have a duty to preserve this unique resource of global importance for future generations. You can read about our 2021 acquisitions here.
By the time we reach AIP-2025, we will have invested an estimated $7million in our strategic transformation journey. In addition, we have also invested about $10 million over the past five years to re-envision the future of the Center for History of Physics and the Niels Bohr Library & Archives. Such significant investments are due to the careful stewardship of our finances.
These are indeed exciting times at AIP as we continue to change and evolve in important and meaningful ways. Thank you for being a part of our journey. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for AIP-2025 and beyond.
Michael H. Moloney
Chief Executive Officer
“I’m excited to join AIP at this critical time. Working together, the Institute, our Member Societies, and AIP Affiliates are well-positioned to provide unparalleled resources and leadership to advance not only AIP’s federation but also the entire physical sciences community.”
— Kevin Watkins, Chief Federation Officer
AIP assembled an expert panel with insight into the various aspects of the association conference value chain, from planning and design to execution and delivery. Their task was to reimagine meetings of the future to be more impactful for and valuable to scientific society stakeholders. The panel’s report offers ideas and suggestions on how scientific conferences — and association conferences in general — can integrate valuable lessons learned during the pandemic, from retooling in-person meetings to fine-tooling hybrid, virtual and asynchronous formats.
The result was the FACETS Report, the Future of Association Convening: Envisioning for The Sciences. The report, which received media and leadership attention in both the association and scientific communities, is an example of how AIP can position the Institute as a thought leader in the physical sciences community and beyond.
To position AIP as a vibrant federation that advances the success of its Member Societies, AIP established a new Federation Office. In the fall we hired our first Chief Federation Officer, Kevin Watkins, to refocus, refine, and reimagine AIP’s efforts to better support our members. Watkins is actively engaging Member Society leadership to gain a better understanding of their strategic priorities and ways AIP can help to support their larger, strategic goals.
To leverage our collective strengths to advance the physical sciences with a unifying voice of strength from diversity, in 2021 AIP began planning for the formation of two new convenings: the Federation Assembly and the Assembly Forum. The Federation Assembly is a new standing body of AIP Member Society representative leaders, focused on working together as a federation on issues, actions, and partnerships. The Federation Assembly will also guide the work of the AIP Federation Office and identify areas for collective action and shared impact.
The Assembly Forum will convene for the first time in 2022 and build on the former Assembly of Society Officers. The event will convene the leadership of AIP’s Member Societies, Affiliates, Board and other members of the AIP community for a day of learning and discourse, designed to address in a workshop format areas of mutual concern and expand the capabilities of all members of the AIP Federation. In 2021 convenings under the former name, the longstanding Assembly of Society Officers convened virtually for informative discussions around key topics: Part 1: New Constructs for Science Policy and Part 2: Future of Association Convening: Envisioning for The Sciences (FACETS).
“I know firsthand how challenging it can be…where not many, if any, people look like you or share similar cultural backgrounds. I want to change the narrative and help create supportive environments where diverse scientists can thrive and feel valued and welcomed.”
- Jovonni Spinner, Diversity, Equity, and Belonging Officer
AIP continued to build on the work of the Task Force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics & Astronomy — better known as TEAM-UP. The national task force was formed in 2017 to investigate the drivers of the persistent underrepresentation of African Americans in physics and astronomy. Its groundbreaking report, The Time is Now: Systemic Changes to Increase African Americans with Bachelor’s Degrees in Physics and Astronomy, identified five key factors contributing to African American students pursuing degrees in physics and astronomy: belonging, physics identity, academic support, personal support, and leadership & structures.
TEAM-UP organized two virtual webinars aimed at educating the public and diving deeper into the factors identified in the TEAM-UP Report. The first two webinars, Belonging: African American Women in Physics & Astronomy and Physics Identity: Empowering African American Undergraduates in Building their Physics Identities, saw more than 300 participants. Future webinars in 2022 will explore the remaining three factors.
In 2020, TEAM-UP also was awarded a $200,000 grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation to conduct workshops to educate and support selected physics and astronomy departmental teams in taking action to bolster African American student success. In 2021, 47 departments participated in these workshops, during which they engaged in specific topics, built networks, and shared information in support of building strategic action plans for cultivating an environment that supports African American students.
“TEAM-UP has given us the essential tools for recruiting African-American students into the Physics major. At Lamar University, a Black-serving institution, this is especially important because half the population in our city is African American. It inspires us even more to ramp up our outreach efforts.”
- Philip L. Cole, Professor & Chair, Department of Physics, Lamar University
AIP and seven Member Societies kicked off the year by joining more than 1,500 other leaders in signing the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion pledge, to demonstrate their organizations commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The pledge, currently signed by CEOs across 85 industries, was created by CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, a fellowship to advance racial equity through public policy.
AIP partnered with the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) to present the inaugural Joseph A. Johnson III Award for Excellence to Howard University professor and physicist Thomas A. Searles. The award is named in honor of the renowned experimental physicist and former president of NSBP. The award will be given annually to recognize an early career NSBP physicist who exemplifies Johnson’s ingenuity as a scientist and passion for mentorship and service. The honor comes with a $5,000 award along with an invitation to give physics department colloquia.
In celebration of Black History Month in February, AIP partnered with Black in Physics to host a Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon to address inaccuracies and incomplete information on the popular resource website about Black scientists.
AIP also welcomed Jovonni Spinner as the leader of AIP’s new Office of Diversity, Equity, Belonging and Accessibility. Spinner will spearhead and expand AIP's efforts to lead the physical sciences community toward an impactful understanding of how to be more welcoming to and supportive of diverse physical scientists throughout their careers, as well as lead activities that build off the success of TEAM-UP.
…the physical sciences’ contribution to the COVID-19 pandemic has stressed the importance of our nation’s investments in the science and engineering research ecosystem.
- Open letter to the Biden Administration
In the spring, AIP and six Member Societies — American Association of Physicists in Medicine, American Association of Physics Teachers, American Crystallographic Association, American Meteorological Society, American Physical Society, and AVS: Science & Technology of Materials, Interfaces, and Processing — called on President Biden and Congressional leaders to support research and education in the physical sciences to address critical issues facing society. The letter identified six areas in need of investment: research funding, equity, education, immigration, research security, and infrastructure.
“We have a window of opportunity, with the support for science already shown by the Biden administration and congressional leadership at the highest levels, to rebuild America’s scientific leadership in the world with a renewed commitment toward research and development,” said AIP CEO Michael H. Moloney.
In June, AIP convened its first government relations webinar, “Conducting Effective Virtual Meetings with Congress.” Seth Turner, director of citizen engagement for the Congressional Management Foundation, a Washington-DC based nonprofit organization that educates groups about how Congress operates, talked about how advocacy has changed in today’s virtual world. He offered some strategies and best practices for how Member Societies can engage with Congressional representatives to better ensure their messages are heard, stressing the importance of conducting ongoing engagement versus simply participating in a once-a-year legislative “fly-in.”
In November, AIP put its virtual skills to the test and assisted the American Association of Physics Teachers with a virtual Congressional Visit Day. AIP helped to develop messaging, outline meeting expectations, and schedule visits for five executives who conducted a total of 12 online visits.
FYI was the first science outlet to report on several major developments related to the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a landmark science policy bill. FYI staff also were consulted for their science policy expertise, being interviewed by several major news outlets, including The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and Scientific American.
In addition, our Federal Science Leadership Tracker was expanded to include more positions and a more dynamic interface. The upgrade was timed with the changeover in presidential administrations, in part because that is a time of heightened interest in the Senate confirmation process for nominees to top science positions.
FYI appeared on the inaugural episode of a new podcast by Issues in Science and Technology: https://issues.org/episode-1-science-policymakers-required-reading-fyi/
“I feel a personal sense of responsibility for AIP’s collection of rare books. We have a duty to preserve this treasure of global importance for future generations.”
— AIP CEO Michael H. Moloney>
Thanks to the generous support of the American Center for Physics, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and many other donors, in 2021 we continued to build out a new preservation vault to house our rare books and archival collections of the Niels Bohr Library & Archives. The vault adds approximately 3,000 linear feet of secure and environmentally controlled storage, doubling our archival storage capacity. The completed vault marks the end of the first phase of expanding and rebuilding our collection storage. The next phase will focus on the environmental controls in our original storage areas. The completion of the new vault storage area gives us room to grow, while the remediation of our other storage areas gives us the ability to control our storage environments for long-term preservation.
While the pandemic brought many challenges, it also brought opportunities, including the ability to significantly expand our oral histories, providing insight into the lives, work and personalities of modern-day scientists and helping to further build AIP’s reputation as a go-to resource in the physical sciences community.
Prior to the pandemic, conducting interviews was often a lengthy process that involved coordinating the schedules of multiple people to conduct on-site video shoots. But the pandemic required us to transition to conducting these interviews virtually, resulting in a surprise; we went from producing 20-30 oral histories a year to nearly 150 in 2021, with double as much in the production queue to make accessible for our audiences.
Our Lyne Starling Trimble History of Science Public Lecture Series, which features prominent science historians and writers who highlight the important roles that science plays in modern society and culture, continued to be conducted virtually this year and reached more and varied attendees than ever before. In 2021, AIP held four virtual events: Science in the Post-truth Era: A Decolonial Approach, How Prussian Precision Became Political, Campaigning for More Marie Curies: The Movement to Expand Young Women's STEM Participation, 1950-2021, and The Rochester-Chandigarh Cyclotron.
In our ongoing effort to make history accessible to all, the story of R/V Vema — a 1923 luxury yacht that was converted to a scientific research platform — is now chronicled in a new web exhibit. The interactive exhibit brings together oral history interviews, geographical mapping and historical and scientific data, highlighting memorable events and discoveries during R/V Vema’s nearly 30 years of research, including the contributions of women on board the research vessel.
Anyone who is searching for historical images of laboratories, headshots, and candid photos of physical scientists can now have access to more than 28,000 digital images from the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives for free via the Niels Bohr Library & Archives.
There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a student have that ‘aha’ moment.
- James H. Stith, VP Emeritus, AIP
SPS awarded an estimated $170,000 to more than 100 students in 2021. These funds were awarded as scholarships to help students continue their education, as well as service grants, research grants, student travel to meetings and regional gatherings, awards for excellence in physics, and emergency funding for students impacted by COVID-19, such as through its Food for Hungry Physics and Astronomy Students and AIP-SPS Undergraduate Education Pandemic Assistance programs.
AIP’s William F. and Edith R. Meggers Project Award provides up to $25,000 biennially for projects aimed at boosting interest in physics and improving the quality of high school physics education. Two proposals were awarded this year.
The first award went to University of Florida’s Brian Lane, Grace Bosse, and Terrie Galanti to provide tools and development for high school physics teachers to use more computational skills in their scientific curriculum. The $12,500 will be used to partner with Duval County Public Schools in Florida to implement, test, and access the effectiveness of their program, including exploring the relationships between development of student attitudes toward physics, student attitudes toward computation in physics, and participation in computational activities.
The second award went to the University of Mount Union’s Richelle Teeling-Smith and Ohio State University’s Chris Orban to create a new curriculum that features a data science course based on physical-science informed ideas. The $12,500 award will create materials to be used in physics, astronomy, and earth sciences, and highlight computational thinking and data processing tools for “The STEMcoding High School Data Science Curriculum” program.
In response to market research, AIP retired its print version of GradSchoolShopper. The popular resource was rebranded and relaunched as an online directory housed on a new website, gradschoolshopper.com. The site includes several hundred graduate programs in a searchable, sortable format. GradSchoolShopper.com is the only global online graduate program network dedicated exclusively to physics, astronomy, and other fields within the physical sciences.
In addition, AIP launched a new annual publication in collaboration with the Society of Physics Students and Physics Today, GradSchoolShopper magazine. The publication, which features articles and advice from students, was distributed with the September issue of Physics Today in both print and digital versions.
Initial engagement on the website is encouraging, with students using the site in more depth and for longer periods.
“I wanted to take a moment to thank you and AIP for your tremendous work in statistical research. It is a huge benefit to the community, and it makes my job as a professor easier.”
- Mike Daugherity, Department of Engineering and Physics, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas
According to the Roster of Physics Departments with Enrollment and Degree Data, 2020, (published in 2021 by AIP’s Statistical Research Center) the overall number of students graduating with a physics bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution has been steadily increasing, from 3,646 in 1999 to 9,296 in 2020. Over about the same period, the percentages of physics bachelor’s degrees earned by women and African Americans have stayed roughly flat or even decreased.
AIP is also in year four of a five-year study looking at undergraduate students who have expressed an interest in majoring in physics. The study examines what makes some students persist while others do not. For students who’ve indicated they are no longer interested in physics, the survey delves into the factors that contributed to their decision to not pursue a degree in physics. Data from this study will be used to inform future AIP programmatic efforts to support students in obtaining a physics degree.
A November 2021 article in Physics Today highlighted some of the challenges physics undergraduate students have faced in the age of COVID-19 and what departments can do to support them.
The data came from our survey of senior physics and astronomy students, which found that new and returning students, particularly those from underrepresented groups, have faced pandemic-related challenges. Key findings included:
Alongside webinars from the magazine’s advertisers was the launch of a new Editor’s Series, providing researchers with a platform to discuss their latest work. This year’s topics included the first generation of stars, microscopic robots, and the physics of rare earth elements.
Physics Today’s third Annual Careers Issue focused on the sector that employs the most graduates in physics and its related sciences: private industry. Articles included Mike Tamor’s lessons from his career in research and research management at Ford Motor Company, Physics Today’s Christine Middleton’s report on physics-based startups, and an article based on Jorijn van Duijn’s book, Fortunes of High Tech: A History of Innovation at ASM International, 1958–2008, where he recounts the history of the semiconductor company.
In other exciting news, News Editor David Kramer scooped the world’s science media with his August story, “Lawrence Livermore claims a milestone in laser fusion.” He was the first to report that a tiny pellet of deuterium and tritium released more energy than it absorbed from the bank of 192 lasers at Livermore’s National Ignition Facility.
Inside Science continued to make science accessible and educational for audiences in 2021, with some coverage highlights including the cellular basis of fractal patterns in Romanesco and cauliflower, the surprising link between saliva and concussions, and our coverage of the 2021 Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine, Physics and Chemistry. Articles for Inside Science regularly appear in Google Chrome Discover, ABCNews.com, Discovermagazine.com, and Astronomy.com.
Our Media Services team fielded more than 260 media requests and produced more than 680 pieces of content in 2021. The team produced 424 Scilights and nearly 260 press releases for AIP, AIP Publishing, and our Member Societies.
Media Services secured high-value media engagement around coverage of the Nobel Prize in Physics, including interviews with CNN and ScienceNews. Other notable media pick-ups for AIP, our journals and Member Societies in 2021 include: Killer Whales Find Prey Bonanza in Melting Arctic, Stopwatch Rounding Errors, and What Happens to the Brain on Sudden Impact?
“As a signatory of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Publishers Compact, AIPP has pledged to: broaden access to published research and data, sustainably and equitably; amplify diverse voices in the physical sciences; and seek partnerships in the scholarly and scientific communities, helping the physical sciences community to address the world’s most challenging problems with science.”
— Alix Vance, CEO AIP Publishing
AIP Publishing adopted a new mission statement in 2021 that extends AIP’s: “to advance, promote, and serve the physical sciences for the benefit of humanity by breaking barriers to open, equitable research communication and empowering researchers to accelerate global progress.”
AIPP is an active participant in the Joint Commitment for Action on Inclusion and Diversity in Publishing, working to collaboratively advance DEI in the research pipeline. In 2021, we announced a new policy that allows authors to change their names on previously published articles privately and for any reason (such as to reflect their gender identity, marital status, or religious conversion) so that they continue to receive proper credit for their work. And we are facilitating a research project with our AIP Member Society publishing partners to collect baseline data on gender and race to understand the demographics of our communities of authors, reviewers, editors, and advisors.
Our commitment to broadening access to research is evinced by the highest historic usage of AIP Publishing’s peer-reviewed journals in 2021, with many titles also receiving their highest Impact Factor. The rapid expansion of Read & Publish agreements with global academic institutions encourages and streamlines Open Access publishing. In 2021, we realized a 24% increase in the number of OA articles published, and we announced two new OA titles launching in 2022, APL Energy and APL Machine Learning.
In 2021, AIP Foundation celebrated its one-year mark. The nonprofit was formed to amplify the work of AIP as a federation and an institute committed to science, with the following goals:
While AIP Foundation was not able to have the in-person, public launch it had initially planned due to the pandemic, it hosted a successful online launch event. Executive Director Tanya Easton talked about the five areas the Foundation provides financial support to: Center for History of Physics, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, Society of Physics Students, Sigma Pi Sigma, and Diversity initiatives.
Speakers, ranging from New York Times Journalist James Glanz to former astronaut Ellen Ochoa to 2006 Nobel Physics Laureate John Mather, and others, talked about their passion and commitment to science and AIP. Students spoke about the many ways they’ve benefited from the support provided by the physical sciences community.
Click here to learn more about the AIP Foundation.
Here’s a snapshot of the people and programs that benefited from the money that was raised due to the generosity of our donor community.
Through AIP, we’ve seen how great things come when we engage and mobilize the power of voluntary support to propel our mission forward, which in turn benefits our Member Societies, the physical sciences, and society at large.
Want to make an impact in the physical sciences community? Find out how you can help.
In 2021, AIP posted its 12th consecutive year of positive net operating results, a testament to our long-term commitment to overall operational excellence. 2021 also served as a transition year in developing key actions for implementation of our Strategic Framework that will build our commitment to our overarching strategy and our audiences’ digital experience of AIP for the coming years.
From an operational standpoint, 2021 was an extension of the recurring themes of 2020, which were heavily influenced by the global pandemic. Though many of our meetings in 2021 continued to be held virtually, we were able to coordinate safely a few of our leadership gatherings in a hybrid model with in-person and virtual attendance. We are eager for what the future holds for AIP as we continue to refine how to navigate the new and emerging realities of work. AIP was able to remain financially strong, build on its organizational excellence and manage operating expenses below budget.
Some noteworthy 2021 financial highlights include:
Each year, AIP goes through the process of reviewing and evaluating its financial assets and aligning them with the Institute’s core goals and priorities. The Board Designations are the culmination of this effort. In 2021, total net assets released from restrictions totaled $12.5M, coming from donor restrictions ($3.0M) and board-designated funds ($9.5M). These funds provided valuable resources for implementing numerous priorities for 2021, which included the new vault for our rare books collection, the funding of the new AIP Endowed Professor of History of Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland, Venture Fund grants for Member Societies and Affiliates, and the funding of strategic initiatives focused on technology, content and portfolio development.
The Board continues to focus on how AIP is working to build out the overall stability and sustainability of our financial future, partly by using a multi-pronged approach that considers items for oversight of the operational budget and of spending formulas from quasi-endowments and other board-designated funds, the special purpose funds that are guided by donor intentions, and the operational risk reserves fund for managing financial risk in the longer term. We continue watching the trends and benchmarks of our peers, mitigating risks with uncertainty ahead in terms of market performance, general inflation and real growth in AIP’s expense base. This Board mandate provides financial discipline that allows for long-term financial stability balanced with a diversified investment approach that seeks stable asset appreciation.
AIP is grateful for the generous support provided by donors and sponsors for its programs and awards and will continue to be a disciplined steward of its financial assets.
Here are some quick facts regarding AIP’s financial position: