Stars over Texas
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the American Astronomical Society (AAS) 211th Meeting in Austin, TX. AAS joined AIP in 1966, bringing a rich array of programs devoted to astronomy and astrophysics into our community. Students of all ages, the general public, scientists and engineers alike are fascinated with the expanding view of the universe revealed to us in part through the work of AAS members. This widespread fascination with astronomy helps the science community point to the excitement of science and the value of scientific research.
AAS press officers do an excellent job of hosting press events highlighting the dazzling results (and images) beamed earthward from cosmic probes and the world's great observatories.
There is clearly a growing effort within the astronomy community to undertake more rigorous educational research and apply the lessons learned. With the large enrollment in the general astronomy introductory course, the possibility for considerable impact on the public's attitude toward science is significant. The meeting typically attracts a sizeable contingent of graduate, undergraduate and even ambitious high school students. This year, a good portion of its 2,500 attendees was students. AAS opened the conference with a free science exhibit, Astrozone, for area students and families. The Society makes it worth the students' time to attend the meeting by offering dedicated technical and social events for them. A Society of Physics Students' reporter covered the meeting, delivering some of the first news from it.
AIP saw the AAS meeting as the most appropriate venue to present the 2007 AIP Andrew W. Gemant Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of a person who has made significant contributions to the cultural, artistic, or humanistic dimension of physics. Andrew Fraknoi (right) was honored "for more than thirty years of effectively communicating his deep understanding and passion for physics and astronomy." Fraknoi gave a superb invited talk: From the West Wing to Pink Floyd to Einstein Advertising: Astronomy in Popular Culture.
Increased federal funding for scientific research and education this year is a concern for all scientific societies. AAS devoted a plenary session to NASA funding. NASA administrator Michael Griffin and his science directors described the progress, priorities and budget-induced tensions in the various NASA science programs. The session was followed by a town hall discussion.
An important part of serving as AIP Executive Director is to learn about the science and the culture of our Member Societies, and attending meetings advances this goal. Last Monday, I appreciated the opportunity to address the AAS Council on how AIP serves and collaborates with their Society. I plan to attend Member Society meetings on a rotating basis, with AAPT, APS, OSA, ASA, AVS and AGU visits already on my 2008 calendar.
Agile development team strikes again
AIP's cross-departmental Agile Development Team—dubbed the "A-Team"—has deployed a second and third wave of enhancements to the recently redesigned abstract views of the AIP journals, including the new abstract view to Biomicrofluidics. Team members representing both Online Services and Publishing Technology groups are successfully reaching project milestones while responding to incoming user and publisher feedback. Among the latest wave of abstract-view enhancements are:
- improved cross-browser and cross-platform support;
- addition of guided searches from linked PACS codes in the "PACS and KEYWORDS" section;
- easier identification of download and cart icons;
- better positioning of "Download Citation" actions tools into their own link, reachable from the abstract page;
- ability to download citations to COinS format; and
- additions of ISSN to "Article Data" section and article price to "Full Text Options" section.
The "A-Team" will add more enhancements, with one more release planned before the abstract design becomes the new baseline abstract for Scitation in mid-January and becomes available to AIP publishing partners.
Physics Trends flyers
What's a PhD worth? How many years of study does it take to earn the big bucks? Who's going to graduate school? And, where do recent college grads find work? Find out by reading the Statistical Research Center's (SRC) recent crop of Physics Trends flyers:
- PhD Salaries - 10 Years Later
- Physics PhDs - How Long Does It Take?
- First-Year Graduate Student Enrollments
- Predominant Work Activities
Physics Trends flyers are designed to be easily understood and are intended for posting in public areas frequented by students. If you want to receive hard copies of the Physics Trends flyers, contact Julius Dollison. You can also download flyers produced over the last seven years at the SRC website.
Physics Today Career Network and the DPP Job Fair
Physics Today Career Network (PTCN) recently managed a job fair at the annual American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics Meeting in Orlando, FL. The fair attracted 295 job seekers and 38 scientific employers recruiting for more than 100 jobs. To attract participants, PTCN handled pre-event marketing, sales, and administrative work. Similarly, PTCN contracted with APS to run its annual March Meeting job fair in New Orleans, LA, as well as with AAPT to manage its Winter Meeting job fair in Baltimore,MD, which begins this coming weekend.
Ouch . . . that smarts!
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