H. Frederick Dylla Director's Matters

The changing of the guard
The American Institute of Physics has consistently flourished under the guiding hands of its experienced and talented corporate officers. It is a testament to their dedication that when Jim Stith and Darlene Walters announced plans to retire in 2008, they both offered to continue in their present jobs to assure a smooth transition until a suitable successor was in place. This is a luxury that is rarely enjoyed in the corporate world, where transitions in senior management can be precipitous and unexpected.

Jim Stith's expert management of the Physics Resources Center (PRC) for the past 10 years will be a tough act to follow. During Jim's tenure as Vice President, the PRC has expanded the extent and breadth of its services to the community. Within PRC are Media and Government Relations, the Center for History of Physics, the Niels Bohr Library & Archives, the Statistical Research Center, Physics Today and the Physics Today Career Network, Education, the Society of Physics Students, Sigma Pi Sigma, and Industrial Outreach. When Jim announced his plans to retire last November, he gave AIP ample time to conduct a national search for his successor. I asked Bernie Khoury, retired Executive Officer of AAPT, to lead the effort. Bernie assembled a committee capable of analyzing the full range of products and services that the PRC offers to our Member Societies and other customers in the physics community: Larry Crum (University of Washington), Demetrius Venable (Howard University), Betsy Beise (University of Maryland), and Jerry Friedman (MIT). The committee asked the PRC Directors to identify the key characteristics viable candidates should possess, and included the Directors in the interview process. As some of you know from last Wednesday's posting of the press release on the AIP home page and Physics Today Online, the search has come to a successful conclusion.

Catherine O'Riordan I am delighted to announce that Catherine O'Riordan has been named the next Vice President of the Physics Resources Center and will join our staff on September 2, 2008. I personally could not be more pleased with the search committee's choice and Cathy's acceptance of our offer. She brings an excellent mixture of scientific credentials (in oceanography and fluid mechanics) and association management to her new position at AIP. For the last 18 months, Cathy has served as the Director of Science Development and Education for the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, where she managed a number of national and international basic research programs in oceanography. Cathy is passionate about science outreach and served as Manager of Public Affairs and of Societies Activities for the American Geophysical Union, one of AIP's largest Member Societies, from 1999 to 2007. She impressed the search committee and me with her vision of PRC's role and with her grasp of PRC's strategic plan, which was completed under Jim Stith's leadership last year. Please join me in welcoming Cathy to our staff.

I will keep you informed as we continue to plan this transition in PRC leadership, and as we plan a proper send-off for Jim.

Sincerely,
Fred

 

Ronald C. Davidson Prize-winning Editor
The APS Division of Plasma Physics has announced the name of the 2008 recipient of the prestigious James Clerk Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics. The recipient is our long-time colleague Ronald C. Davidson of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (right), Editor of the AIP journal Physics of Plasmas. The 2008 Maxwell Prize, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of plasma physics, will be presented at the Division's 50th annual meeting in November. Read more about Ron Davidson's contributions to the field at the PPPL website. The entire AIP family congratulates Ron on this well-deserved honor!

SPS awards more than $56,000 in scholarships
Twenty-six undergraduate physics students are proud recipients of Society of Physics Students (SPS) scholarships. Here's a little information about our top winners:

Ann Deml Ann Deml of the University of Wisconsin—River Falls, is a past SPS summer intern and Associate Zone Councilor Representative to the SPS Executive Committee. She recently completed a national student exchange at Rhode Island College, where she conducted research with the deposition and characterization of thin films.

Jodie Tvedtnes In her thank-you letter to Sigma Pi Sigma donors who support the scholarships, Jodie Barker-Tvedtnes of Utah State University (USU) wrote, "my involvement in SPS has proven to be valuable in many different aspects. Working with other students at USU as the chapter president taught me leadership skills, which will help me for the rest of my life, and the friendships that have been formed within our chapter are some that I hope will last well beyond graduation. It has also given me the opportunity to become more involved with community outreach, taking physics demonstrations into grade school classrooms, and setting up public star parties on campus." Jodie will travel to Poland to represent SPS and the United States at the International Conference of Physics Students in August.

Tamela Maciel Tamela Maciel of the University of Oregon (UO) wrote in her thank-you letter, "In the two years that I have been at UO, I have come to absolutely love physics! There's something very satisfying about being able to spend my days learning how the universe works. I plan to graduate in June of 2010 and pursue a PhD in astrophysics."

Jeremy May Jeremy May of Colorado State University, is the recipient of the SPS Future Teacher Scholarship. Jeremy is preparing for a trip to Ecuador with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), where he will be constructing potable water systems for a group of communities in the Andes (Chimborazo).

For a complete list of scholarship winners, visit the SPS website.

High-class upgrade
Our database administrators have recently finished upgrading the Scitation and MACS databases to Oracle Database 10g. This upgrade provides improved performance tuning tools and new optimization rules; it also helps preserve uptime by allowing more administration operations to occur while the database is in use. Oracle financials and the databases supporting publishing production will be upgraded by the end of the year. Thanks to everyone in Business Systems and Operations, Fulfillment and Marketing, Publishing Technology, and Online Services who worked over the past few months to test the new versions and provide support during the upgrade weekends.

Recently posted employment opportunities at AIP

· Vice President, Publishing (NY)
· Assistant Director, Society of Physics Students and Sigma Pi Sigma (MD)
· Jr. Systems Administrator (NY)
· Intern, Accounts Receivable (NY)
· Intern, Web Design (NY)

Visit AIP Human Resources' job openings webpage for more details about these positions and a complete list of current openings. Refer the right person to fill a job, and you qualify for an employee referral bonus.

AAPT at Edmonton Centenary
Edmonton '08
The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) 2008 Summer Meeting, July 19-23, is underway in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The meeting is themed "Physics from the Ground Up," and is an official part of the Centenary of the University of Alberta and its physics department, both established in 1908. The University's first President, Dr. Henry Marshall Tory, was also its first physics professor.

University Chancellor Eric P. Newell welcomed meeting participants yesterday evening at the opening reception. The five-day event offers AAPT members from both sides of the border a look at the University's scientific achievements and a chance to sample the natural and cultural treasures of western Canada.

Terry Singleton, AAPT Alberta section representative, was instrumental in bringing AAPT to the campus as part of the 100-year celebration. Terry refers to the meeting as a "once in a lifetime event," and worked with his colleagues in the University of Alberta physics department, John Beamish and Isaac-Yakoub Isaac, to help plan this multi-faceted conference.

Attendees will catch up on the latest in physics and physics education, through plenary talks, contributed papers, poster sessions, science demos, and workshops. Invited speakers include luminaries Eric Mazur of Harvard University and Michio Kaku, author of Physics of the Impossible. In off-hours participants will have the opportunity to visit Edmonton's world-class museums, shops, and restaurants, or head for the wild in search of elk and bison.

AIP and the Society of Physics Students are participating. SPS members are also presenting their research today . . . stay tuned for more on this exciting event.

 

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