At AIP's spring Governing Board meeting on March 28, we witnessed an important transition in AIP leadership and prepared for several other transitions as we discussed plans for 2008. The chair of our Governing Board for the last five years, MIT's professor Millie Dresselhaus (left), turned the gavel over to our new chair, Lou Lanzerotti (right), an esteemed geophysicist from Bell Labs who helped shape the country's science policies through service on many boards, including his present contributions to the National Science Board. We thanked Millie for her service to AIP during a "retirement" party held in the Great Hall of the National Academy of Sciences. Millie's friends and colleagues who attended noted the event was just another one of Millie's retirements. She is successively completing service assignments to many of the country's key scientific organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, and numerous National Academy committees. AIP is fortunate to have an equally qualified scientist and leader as its next chair: Lou Lanzerotti comes on board with the charge to implement AIP's three-year plans developed by its employees and advisors over the last year.
The current, seemingly unending, political campaign for the country's next president has exhausted our collective notion of the word "change." Nevertheless, the opportunities for a managed-change process are healthy for any organization. The transitions we experienced in the past year, and those in store for us in the next year, will keep us vibrant. Both Jim Stith, who has guided our Physics Resources Center for the past 10 years, and Darlene Walters, who has led our Publishing Center for the past 17 years, have announced their retirements. True to their dedication to AIP, both officers have pledged to stay hard at work until their successors are in place. When their respective transition dates approach, we will have the opportunity in this column and at special AIP events to fully recognize Jim's and Darlene's seminal contributions to AIP, which have benefited our many stakeholders and customers. In the meantime, the execution of AIP's plans to strengthen our service to the physics community continues through these leadership transitions and amid the pressures of our external environment (e.g., the rocky international economy and the rapid evolution of the publishing business), making the job of leading AIP a challenging adventure.
May the source be with you
A recent posting at Publishing Technology's weblog—The Technology Blog—lists some websites where "free and open-source software" (FOSS) can be found. These sites include BerliOS, SourceForge.net, Tigris.org, Google Code, and Codehaus. At AIP, FOSS can help streamline portions of the development process by providing ready-to-use solutions that can work alongside traditional closed-source software. Because FOSS is open source, developers are able to enhance existing FOSS by themselves or, by working with other developers in an open forum, create a collaborative environment conducive to the development of robust software applications.
No, not "green sheets" as in manuscript cover sheets, but rather "green" sheets as in environmentally friendly paper for printed journals. Two members of Production Operations & Customer Services attended a seminar last week in Alexandria, VA, hosted by Allen Press, which had a timely theme: "Publish Responsibly—Practical solutions for environmentally conscious organizations." One speaker, a paper supplier, spoke about sustainability solutions within the paper industry and the industry's commitment to environmentally responsible paper production. He urged the audience to ask their current printers questions about sustainable forestry certifications, the amount of recycled fiber contained in their paper, and energy-use credentials. Another speaker, from the Ecological Society of America (ESA), outlined efforts to "green up" ESA's working environment. Presenters introduced attendees to certification standards organizations, such as the Forestry Stewardship Council, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and the Alliance for Environmental Technology. The seminar's message was clear: Everyone shares in the responsibility of taking better care of our planet, and simple things we can do today can go a long way toward building a sustainable future.
The Web exhibits of the AIP Center for History of Physics attract millions of visitors; more people come upon AIP's site through the Einstein and Curie exhibit homepages than any other route. But we can keep folks coming only by recognizing the magic of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), a new specialty with its own experts who study how to get a site a high ranking in a Web search. For example, the AIP Marie Curie exhibit comes up in second place on a Google search for "Madame Curie." AIP's tracking software showed that many people came to our site after searching on that phrase, so we included it among the "keywords" that appear in code visible to search engines but not to ordinary users. The site that beat us for first place was Wikipedia, which has recently become almost as popular a starting point on the Web as Google itself. So we made sure our site is high on the list of links in Wikipedia's article on Marie Curie and are working to put links to our exhibits at useful places throughout Wikipedia. Contact the Web Management team for more tips on optimizing Web pages for search engines.
Taking home the nano
Three Society of Physics Students chapters are now proud owners of the world's smallest trophies. The SPS chapters at the College of Wooster; Angelo State University; and the University of California, Los Angeles received the trophies for videos they submitted to the American Physical Society's Nanobowl contest. Participants were challenged to create videos to demonstrate an aspect of the physics of football. The grand-prize-winning video, Nanobowl Xˆ-IX , was created by a group of high-school students from Rochester Hills, MI. They received a trophy and $1,000.
The nested Nanobowl trophy was designed and fabricated by Philip Waggoner and Benjamin Cipriany, graduate students working in Harold Craighead's group at Cornell University. The trophy is created in silicon and metal, and its smallest features are visible only under super high magnification electron or scanning microscopes. For more information and to watch the videos, visit Physics Central.
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