Working under the umbrella
AIP was formed in 1931 by five of its current Member Societies to provide common services, such as journal publishing, for the societies. As AIP grew to the current membership of 10 societies and several dozen Affiliated Societies, its mission expanded to include other services and outreach activities to the physical science community at large. One advantage of being part of an umbrella organization such as AIP is the opportunity to frankly discuss and share ideas on common concerns. About twice a year one of the societies hosts an informal get-together for the executive officers of the Member Societies. This forum is a constructive means of collaboration and relationship building.
The topics on the agenda for last week's Member Society Executives Meeting included: Serving international members, addressing the challenges of the open-access movement for scientific publishing, and planning for upcoming celebrations of the International Year of Astronomy in 2009 and the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser in 2010.
Outreach to international members of Member Societies has become an increasingly important issue as the advancement of science grows more global. Countries in Eastern Europe, the Far East, and South America are experiencing rapid growth in their science programs. International members cannot often take full advantage of society programs and benefits originally developed to serve a national membership base. Providing online access to society publications, hosting joint meetings abroad, and inviting participation in society committees are means of encouraging international membership. For several of the societies, international members account for 35-45% of their membership. This broad membership base brings prestige to both the member and the society.
All of AIP's Member Societies share similar concerns on the dangers of the rapidly changing economic model of journal publications from dependency on subscriptions and consortia licenses to open access that may not be sustainable. AIP pledged to carefully monitor developments in this important business, which provides peer review and wide dissemination of the research developments in high-quality, archival journals.
The meeting finished with a lively discussion of how all the societies can work together for the special worldwide science celebrations planned for 2009 and 2010. The American Astronomical Society is taking the lead in the US for promoting the International Year of Astronomy, and the Optical Society of America and the American Physical Society will jointly coordinate events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my favorite invention—the laser. Stay tuned; you will be hearing lots more about both of these exciting events.
PACS to the max!
In late July, AIP's Subcommittee on Classification and Information Retrieval, chaired by Elias Greenbaum of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, met in Melville, NY. At this annual meeting, plans were made for the next edition of AIP's internationally adopted Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme® (PACS®). The subcommittee endorsed recommendations from AIP staff to employ the latest Web tools in both the revision and the publishing processes. With twin goals of increasing the efficiency and frequency of updates and increasing the value of the published scheme to end users, the new generation of PACS will be greatly enhanced—more dynamic and less static.
Physics Today dives into the physics of sport
As thousands of competitors gathered in Beijing, China, for the 2008 Summer Olympics, many of them either used scientific advancements such as high-tech swimsuits to gain a perceived performance edge, or applied physics subconsciously to sail boats, ride bikes, or play baseball. The Physics Today Online staff have gathered together a popular collection of science- and sports-related articles from the Physics Today archive and elsewhere from the Web to celebrate the Olympic Games.
The collection covers numerous topics: What advantage did ancient Olympians gain by carrying weights in the long jump? Are high-speed serves and larger rackets ruining the sport of tennis? Is technology damaging the sport of baseball? Is it hard to calculate the stability of the bicycle? What is the "dolphin kick" that helped Michael Phelps succeed in the Olympic pool? How is air quality affecting the athletes' performance in Beijing? To read these and other articles, go to the highlights section of the Physics Today homepage.
Knock, knock. Who's there?
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Green tip – Key in to better cleaning
Standard keyboard cleaners contain toxins you don't want to inhale. Just one 10-oz. can of chemical duster has the same greenhouse gas-creating effect as burning 100 gallons of gas! Take CTRL: Just turn your keyboard upside down, give it a little shake, and slide a piece of two-sided adhesive tape between the keys.
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