H. Frederick Dylla Director's Matters

The pursuit of gender equity in physics
Because of the importance of women in physics, AIP collects and publicizes a host of data on the representation and status of women in the field. AIP's Statistical Research Center (SRC) has built a strong program on gender studies that has drawn national attention on more than one occasion. Nine years ago SRC published the first of two reports on women in physics and astronomy. When the second report was published in 2005, the findings were covered by the New York Times and on National Public Radio.

SRC collects data on the representation of women at all levels of the physics education system, from the percentage of women enrolled in high-school physics to the number of women who are full professors at colleges and universities. But SRC's efforts extend beyond documenting the representation of women in physics. It also has data on salary differences for men and women in physics and has collected extensive information about working environments for women physicists. In the first-ever longitudinal study of astronomy graduate students, SRC is documenting differences between the experiences of men and women. The studies include women outside the US; SRC is now conducting its third global survey for the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics' Working Group on Women in Physics.

One of SRC's recent projects has received national acclaim. Last month the National Research Council released a report titled Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty. The survey data collection for the study was managed by SRC's assistant director Rachel Ivie, under contract to the National Academies. Using data that have never before been collected systematically in a single study, the report answers questions about the factors that inhibit or encourage the academic careers of women and men in the sciences. The unique data from the report include the following: the gender split of the applicant pool for assistant professor openings; gender differences in who was interviewed and who was hired; startup funds by discipline and gender of applicant; gender differences in tenure and promotion; and the impact of research, mentoring, and committee work on career development.

AIP is committed to supporting all physicists, and accurate data on the status of women in physics and related fields is just the starting point for advancing equity. SRC also collects data on minorities in physics. I urge you to use SRC's resources to educate yourself about these issues, because changing demographics will surely affect the future of our field.


New Scitation usage reporting service now available for publishers
scitation The Online Services group at AIP has launched the highly anticipated Scitation Usage Report Service for publishers. The new service is a robust Web analytics reporting tool that provides Scitation publishers with usage data. The data are updated daily to capture the most current information on visitor behavior, including page views. With a user-friendly interface, the reporting service allows publishers to drill into usage patterns, so they may spot trends and make better-informed business decisions. The service is COUNTER-compliant, conforming to a set of industry-recognized standards and protocols. After this month's scheduled COUNTER 3 compliance audit, even more reporting tools will be made available—notably SUSHI, the Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative protocol of the National Information Standards Organization.

Telling the story of the laser far and wide
ESVA The Niels Bohr Library and Archives (NBL&A) has been digitizing and putting online some of its original resources on the discovery of the laser in preparation for next year's 50th anniversary celebration. The resources include publications, manuscript collections, photographs, and oral histories with more than 50 of the scientists who developed the laser. Most of those interviews were conducted by historian Joan Bromberg, who headed the Laser History Project that AIP helped sponsor. Bromberg's research resulted in her book The Laser in America, 1950-1970 (MIT Press, 1991). The resources have been used by scholars, but NBL&A is offering collection to nonspecialists, students, and the general public via the Web.  To find photos, publications, oral histories, and other resources on the history of the laser, search the Library's online catalogs "laser."

These efforts will complement a new Web exhibit being designed by the Center for History of Physics, which is tentatively titled Bright Idea: The Invention of the Laser. The exhibit is set to launch in January 2010 as part of the Moments of Discovery series.

Who we are—Physics Today magazine group
Under the direction of Randy Nanna, the Physics Today magazine group (see the organizational chart, page 58) publishes the print magazine Physics Today, runs the Physics Today Online website (PTOL), produces the Physics Today Buyers Guide (PTBG), and manages the Physics Today Career Network (PTCN). AIP began publishing Physics Today 61 years ago; it is now the best known, most authoritative, and most widely read physics magazine in the world. Next week's column will spotlight the Physics Today editorial staff. PTOL is a leading website for the physical sciences and has a Google ranking of 8. More than half of its visitors are not affiliated with any AIP Member Society, which makes the site a primary outreach medium for prospective members. The PTBG provides physical scientists with more than 2600 product categories with information on pertinent vendors. PTCN joined the magazine group in 2004. Working closely with Physics Today's print classified, PTCN provides job seekers with an online job board to pursue career options in the physical sciences and engineering. PTCN also manages job boards for network partners APS, AAPT, AVS, and IEEE Computer Society, and affiliate SPS.

PT staff
PT staff

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