Monday, January 4, 2010
H. Frederick Dylla

Director's Matters

Perspective in two directions

Returning from the holidays, you may have had your fill of the media's 2009 "best of" and "worst of" lists. The start of the new year is a good time to reflect, however, so I will offer to the AIP community a few of 2009's key accomplishments and how they will create future opportunities as we enter the second decade of the 21st century.

There is hardly an organization worldwide that has not been significantly affected by the global financial crisis that, hopefully, hit its nadir mid-year 2009. For AIP and many of its Member Societies, previously approved budgets had to be significantly readjusted to account for lower revenues. AIP staff and management reacted early in the year to stem projected losses in the operating budget. With this financial turmoil came the pressure to maintain globally competitive prices for our information products and services. AIP's Publishing Center began an 18-month realignment effort to transform its operations to deliver greater innovation, create the best customer experience, and build sustainable business models. This transformation will have a positive impact not only on AIP's already world-class journals but also on how AIP provides publishing services for its 27 partner organizations. In recent years this part of AIP's publishing business—an essential service to many of our partner organizations—has been under growing pressure due to strong competition from new players and off-shore vendors. Under vice president for Publishing John Haynes' leadership, AIP significantly accelerated programs such as Scitation C³ to ensure that AIP remains highly competitive and relevant in today's fast-paced publishing environment.

Despite the recession, we continued to make significant investments in our core publishing business to gain market advantage. In my October26 column I recounted how the results of these investments were highly visible at the Frankfurt Book Fair, where AIP launched three major new products: UniPHY—a scientific social networking service for the physical science community; a versatile eBook platform fully integrated with the Scitation, our online journal platform; and iResearch a market leading "app" allowing our readers to download content from our journals to their iPhones.

The Physics Resources Center weathered the recession well this past year, with the guidance of vice president for Physics Resources, Cathy O'Riordan. Expenses were cut and efficiencies found, enabling all AIP outreach programs to proceed with relatively minor adjustments. Physics Today delivered 12 exciting issues on time with no loss in editorial content; our science writers covered and promoted many of the Member Society meetings, and delivered 144 new Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science news stories for television and web coverage. The Statistical Research Center launched a global survey, available in 8 languages, on the careers of physicists; the Government Relations team delivered 151 FYI policy news bulletins to keep you informed of the science initiatives of the first year of new administration and the unique boost given by the stimulus funding. The Education group worked to support student participation in all ten Member Societies through the Society of Physics Students, resulting in one of the largest undergraduate presences at Member Society meetings in memory. The Physics Today Career Network remained an essential resource for any graduate or job seeker—especially during this recession. The Center for History of Physics continued to grow its online resources and made plans for this year's commemoration of the invention of the laser—LaserFest.

The physics community celebrated exciting advances in physics this past year: hints of the detection of dark matter, the observation of water on the Moon, the first collisions at the Large Hadron Collider, the discovery of the most distant object in the universe, the first x-ray laser at SLAC, the observation of teleportation of atoms, and the discovery of a supersolid form of matter.

For 2010, there will be no ebb to the excitement of frontier physics research, nor to the pressures for AIP to evolve rapidly as a highly competitive, relevant, and responsive organization for all of our stakeholders and customers in the physics community. The International Year of Astronomy and our commemoration of Galileo were excellent rallying points for the physics community in 2009. The ubiquity of the laser as a tool of science, commerce, and communications will help us connect in 2010.

Best wishes for the New Year!


Publishing Matters

Bringing nuclear energy under JRSE's umbrella

JRSE banner

2009 American Nuclear Society (ANS) Winter Meeting sign In November, the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (JRSE) and AIP UniPHY were both represented at the 2009 American Nuclear Society (ANS) Winter Meeting and Nuclear Technology Expo in Washington, DC. John M. Tuohy Jr., ANS executive director, remarked that the meeting was possibly their biggest yet—with about 1500 attendees. Tuohy noted that commercial nuclear energy and materials businesses will likely see an increasing role in the coming years, as the US government is now funding the design and construction of new nuclear plants. JRSE booth The nuclear scientists and engineers present were pleased that JRSE includes nuclear energy under the umbrella of "renewable and sustainable energy." And, of course, everyone was excited to learn more about AIP's rapidly growing networking site for physical scientists, AIP UniPHY. The American Nuclear Society—headquartered in La Grange Park, IL—was established in 1954 to promote awareness and understanding of the application of nuclear science and technology. Its membership includes 11,000 engineers, scientists, administrators, and educators around the world.

London Online

Paul DeCillis demonstrates the latest capabilities of Scitation C3 to a booth visitor. AIP continued its tradition of taking a trip across "the pond" in early December to participate in an important event for the global information industry, the Online Information exhibition, held annually in London. The 2009 show brought together 9,000 visitors from 70 countries for a conference, a show floor seminar program, and exhibition. At center stage for AIP was the Scitation C3 hosting platform and AIP UniPHY. Both garnered much attention from the industry during the three-day trade show. To coincide with the opening of the event, AIP unveiled a suite of new features for Scitation's C3 that increase its functionality and ease of use. Paul DeCillis, director of Online Services, and Terry Hulbert, director of Business Development, participated in the floor show program, delivering well-attended seminars on eBooks and AIP UniPHY.

AIP staff members also held numerous productive meetings on site with industry colleagues, partners, and potential partners. A well-attended booth reception at the start of the conference gave us the opportunity to chat informally with many old and new associates as well.

PRC Matters

Educate to Innovate

Pres. Obama Last month, President Obama announced a national initiative for science education called the Educate to Innovate campaign. AIP, AAPT, and APS have made a commitment to support this effort, in partnership with leading scientific organizations such as the American Chemical Society and IEEE-USA, an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. that supports the career and public-policy interests of IEEE's US members.

President Obama cited the importance of science and engineering societies in his November 23 remarks, with the campaign's official launch. AAPT, APS, and AIP attended the event. The highlight of the effort is "National Lab Day," which will occur the first week of May 2010, and aims to reach 10 million young people with hands-on learning. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals and their employers can volunteer to aid local schools by demonstrating STEM concepts in classroom experiments, donating or repairing lab equipment, arranging or hosting field trips, and developing or overseeing hands-on learning supplements. Teachers can use the same website to request assistance, materials, and advice from local scientists, engineers, technology professionals, and mathematicians.

Statistics and Career Network join forces

The Statistical Research Center (SRC) and Physics Today Career Network are combining their resources in a novel way. Statistics has created several online ads that promote SRC research on physics bachelors and masters. Career Network is posting the ads on its job site, where the ads will be seen about 40,000 times each month. Clicking on either of the animated ads takes the viewer to the SRC website, which can be a valuable resource for physicists looking for work and for human resources professionals looking to hire. In 2008 SRC ran an online ad with the best click rate seen to date on Physics Today's webpages.

Around AIP

Is that a snowflake?

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