H. Frederick Dylla Director's Matters

Citizen scientists
This first week of October is also the first week of a new fiscal year for the US federal government, which funds basic research and a healthy portion of applied research. In most fiscal years, many program budgets would be adjusted modestly upward for inflation; funds for new projects and grants would be made available and some projects would come to a close. But this is hardly a "normal" year, with a highly contested presidential election, a contentious Congress, and turbulent financial markets. Almost lost amid last week's turmoil on Capitol Hill over the so-called "bailout legislation" was the passing of a continuing resolution that funded most of the federal agencies from October 1, 2008, through March 6, 2009. What this continuing resolution means for funding of science is clearly explained by AIP's Dick Jones in his FYI column last week. The news is not good for science. Despite the efforts of many, both within and outside of the science community, science budgets are well below the targets that Congress had authorized by passing the bipartisan America COMPETES Act in August 2007. To change things for the better will require scientists, and those who appreciate what science and math education and literacy do for the economic health of the nation, to be more vocal advocates—to become citizen scientists.

2008 Quadrennial Congress of Sigma Pi Sigma logo Scientific citizenship is the theme of next month's 2008 Quadrennial Congress of Sigma Pi Sigma (ΣΠΣ), November 6–8, at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois. The congress features speakers who walk the talk, including former NSF director Neal Lane, Nobel Prize winner Leon Lederman, and AIP Governing Board Chair Lou Lanzerotti. There are many ways in which scientists can contribute as citizens, such as advancing a national issue (e.g., alternative energy), contributing to the public understanding of science (as educators, writers, or spokespersons), promoting minority representation in the field, or becoming active in politics (e.g., holding office, lobbying, or campaigning for candidates who support science and science funding).

The Sigma Pi Sigma Congress will be held at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to introduce students and alumni to science, technology, and history at one of the country's most extraordinary national laboratories. We have scheduled the fall meeting of AIP's Governing Board as a satellite meeting to the congress to encourage its members to participate in the congress.

Lanzerotti AIP and Member Society staff at College Park have an opportunity to attend a brown bag lunch today, featuring AIP Governing Board Chair Lanzerotti, at noon in Conference Room A. Lanzerotti will speak and take questions on the same topic he will address at the congress: "From Researcher to Representative: What it means to be (and the importance of being) a citizen scientist," tracing his distinguished career at Bell Labs to his present positions: serving a six-year term on the National Science Board, and as the Harding Township (New Jersey) mayor.

Sincerely,
Fred

 

Marketing and Fulfillment is in high gear, with subscription renewal season well under way. For the membership management partners with calendar-year renewal cycles, September is generally the "launch" month. The American Geophysical Union and the Acoustical Society of America launched their e-commerce renewals in the early part of September, and the Society of Rheology and National Association of Geoscience Teachers will launch shortly. For the 2008 subscription year, Marketing and Fulfillment staff processed more than $124 million for AIP and our partners, from customers all over the globe. For 2009 subscription renewals, notices started going out to agents in late August, followed by notices to direct subscribers in early September. To add to the flurry of activity, AIP has acquired two new publishing partners for subscription management services, the  Geological Society of America and Physics Essays. The 2009 subscription renewal season should be quite successful.

Jumbo microscopes and high-powered nanotubes 
AVS Symposium logo
The AVS 55th International Symposium and Exhibition, October 19–24 in Boston, will showcase research from across the spectrum of science and engineering devoted to discoveries on the edge—in a vacuum, at interfaces, in plasmas, and in other controlled environments used to develop new materials and technologies. AIP's 2008 Industrial Physics Forum (IPF), a multifaceted meeting that presents industrial, academic, and governmental views on significant issues in physics and related fields, will be held in conjunction with the symposium. This year's IPF is themed "Frontiers in Imaging: From Cosmos to Nano." AIP's Media and Government Relations is providing a full range of media services for the meetings, working to alert reporters in Boston and worldwide of noteworthy presentations. For more information, see AIP's recent press release.

New assistant director of SPS
Thomas Olsen AIP Education welcomes Thomas Olsen, former physics department chair at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon, as assistant director of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society. This position was created to increase AIP services to students.

Olsen led his campus's chapter of SPS to numerous national awards, and in 2006, he was recognized as Teacher of the Year at Lewis and Clark College. He has served on the SPS National Council for more than a decade, first as the faculty representative from Zone 17 (Northwest US), then as the president of Sigma Pi Sigma from 1998-2002; most recently, he served as SPS/Sigma Pi Sigma national historian before joining our staff.

Card access system upgrade
Business Systems and Operations recently performed an overhaul of AIP's card access system in Melville, bringing it up to date with the latest software release: CA3000 from Continental Access. The CA3000 system comes complete with many new features, including more robust reporting capabilities and the ability to fine-tune security access levels. The upgrade will provide enhanced statistics and better security overall and allow staff to quickly track problems.

NY staff: AIP Education is sponsoring a popcorn break for Melville office staff on Tuesday, October 7, at 2:00 pm in the cafeteria to raise awareness for the upcoming Sigma Pi Sigma Congress. Please come and enjoy!

 

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