Director's Matters

Guest column by Catherine O'Riordan, VP, Physics Resources

Cathy O'Riordan

Synergies at AIP
In these challenging financial times, it is more important than ever for organizations to identify innovative approaches to providing quality products, services, and programs to customers. AIP continually strives to add value to our suite of offerings for the mutual benefit of our Member Societies and other partners. Toward this end, AIP operating units are tasked with identifying and building synergies within the organization. Synergy is the interaction of two or more forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects. By working together on joint initiatives, business units can leverage capabilities that exist throughout AIP to enhance existing programs or create new ones with greater depth and richness.

Some recent examples include integration of projects across the Physics Resources Center (PRC) and between PRC and the Publishing Center. The Statistical Resources Center (SRC) has conducted surveys and analysis for several units, including a survey of authors in nine AIP journals and a satisfaction survey for attendees of AIP's Industrial Physics Forum, held at last fall's AVS Symposium. SRC is also working with the Education Division and the Physics Today Career Network (PTCN) on a study to examine the career trajectories of physics bachelor's degree holders. Media and Government Relations (MGR) helped drive publicity for the launch of the new AIP Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy; that effort resulted in an interview on NPR for one of the editors. MGR is also working with Education and the Member Societies to develop a legislative agenda for math and science education. This summer, Society of Physics Students interns will be working across AIP, including one in the History Center to develop a new web exhibit on the magnetosphere. PTCN works often with SRC and Education to help identify employers of physicists. In addition to these specific projects, AIP web designers and IT experts are often collaborating across departments to streamline projects and to optimize AIP communications.

These synergies improve staff morale by providing an understanding of the broader mission of AIP. By working closely with staff in other departments, individuals contribute new insight to enrich existing programs and brainstorm to launch new ones. As we move forward, let's all think outside our immediate work group and see if we can identify new synergies to strengthen and improve the quality of all AIP programs and services.


Fast track to PACS
racecar Efforts are in full swing to bring out the biennial revision of the Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme (PACS) for fall 2009. The 23 eminent scientists who make up six PACS working groups have completed the first stage of the revision. These volunteers lent both time and expertise to bring selected topical sections of the scheme up to date to address scientific advances in those areas. The PACS working groups transitioned from email communications to using a secure wiki site, centralizing the information and accelerating the revision process. PACS, first published by AIP in 1970, is currently the primary classification scheme used by the worldwide physics community and has been adopted by more than 160 international journals. Watch the PACS website for the September 2009 release of PACS 2010.

Physics in the classroom
The Niels Bohr Library & Archives (NBL&A) reading room boasts a new exhibit, titled "Physics in the Classroom," which highlights our outstanding collection of educational materials, including textbooks, photographs, and student course notes and lecturers' notes from the classrooms of well-known physicists. How one generation passes knowledge to another is at the core of every discipline, but it's usually hard to trace. Textbooks are discarded when they're no longer current, and course notes are lost and forgotten. However, the Library has carefully collected successive editions of textbooks, lecture notes, and similar materials so that historians can use them to trace the evolution of physics theories, see how new discoveries were presented in the classroom, and witness the ideas being passed along to the students who will soon rework them further. The NBL&A collections are especially rich in documentation of the 20th-century revolution of atomic, nuclear, and quantum physics.

Archivist Melanie Brown (left) and Librarian Julie Gass put the finishing touches on the new exhibit in the Niels Bohr Library & Archives. Featured in the exhibit are a complete set of Arnold Sommerfeld's classic textbook, Atombau und Spectrallinien, revised many times between 1919 and 1944 to keep up with new discoveries in quantum physics; notes from Robert Millikan's lecture on electron theory at Caltech in 1919; notes from a quantum electrodynamics lecture by Richard Feynman during a University of Michigan Summer Symposium in 1949; and lecture notebooks on quantum mechanics lectures from 1947 by Enrico Fermi. Many other related books, collections, and photographs can be found in the Library & Archives. Please stop by the reading room to visit the exhibit and for help in locating these materials in our online catalogs.

Extending our reach
Linked in logo Physics professionals, AIP, and AIP Member Societies use online social networking to engage the science community in meaningful dialogue to advance their missions and programs. One rapidly growing example of these new social networks is LinkedIn, where groups from four Member Societies (APS, ASA, OSA, and SOR) and Sigma Pi Sigma already have an established presence. Several other LinkedIn groups closely align with Member Societies, such as Medical Physicists (AAPM) and Rock Physicists (AGU).

Last year AIP started an Industrial Physicists group, a platform for physicists employed in industry to interface, seek and contribute advice, and share ideas and information. AIP uses this tool to promote events and advance the goals of its industrial outreach programs, reaching beyond the base of AIP Corporate Associates to a much broader, international audience.

Recognizing value in the essentials
This Wednesday, April 22, marks two important events in your workplace: Earth Day and Administrative Professionals Day. Many events will take place on Earth Day to recognize and reinforce worldwide efforts to develop renewable, sustainable energy and gain the commitment of the world's population to responsible consumption. As part of an organization that supports green practices, you can continue to do your part in being environmentally responsible every day while at work.

Coincidentally, this Earth Day coincides with the day set aside to thank the salt of the earth – administrative professionals. These hard-working individuals help their business units run smoothly, usually from behind the scenes. The organizational and communication skills they bring to AIP are vital to our daily operations. Be sure to say "thank you" – often – to the administrative professionals in your area.

Who we are—Publication Sales and Market Development
The Publication Sales and Market Development department (see page 25 of the organizational chart) provides a service to publishers on the Scitation platform by promoting and selling their online content to academic library consortia and, more broadly, to any customer that requires a multisite license in order to share electronic content at several sites. Such customers include large corporations and government labs and agencies.

Our Consortia Sales team is responsible for more than $3 million in revenue for AIP and more than $6 million in revenue for the 18 publishers we represent. While many of these licensing deals are directly negotiated with our customers, we also rely on a network of sales agents to work for us around the globe – Kinokuniya in Japan; iGroup in China, Korea, and Taiwan; EBSCO in Brazil; Integrated Information Network in the Middle East; and so on. A good part of department director Doug LaFrenier's job involves identifying, hiring, and managing such agents.

"Market development" covers a range of activities, from finding new customers in emerging economies to developing new products to suit niche customers. Left to right:  Patricia Hartner, Joanne Vernieri, Douglas LaFrenier, Gurdeep (Bobbie) Sokhey, Monica Dragovich Related activities include working with international partners to provide free and low-cost access to our content in developing countries. In one of our more prominent programs, we are working with APS to provide a free trial of all AIP and APS content to historically black colleges and universities.

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