Monday, June 28, 2010

H. Frederick Dylla Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

An AIP ambassador in China

Twenty years ago I accepted a position with a new US Department of Energy laboratory, now called Jefferson Lab, in Newport News, VA. Within nine months of my arrival, I led a technical group responsible for producing nearly a kilometer of superconducting acceleration modules. These devices became the engine of a four billion electron volt accelerator whose electron beam is used to probe the structure of the atom's nucleus. In 1996 the facility became operational as a research center used by more than a thousand nuclear physicists worldwide. That same accelerator technology, now integral to many large international scientific user facilities, is used to probe the mysteries of ordinary materials and subatomic matter. For the past 50 years, such facilities have promoted partnerships and collaborations among scientists.

While immersed in the construction project at Jefferson Lab, I met Chen Jiaer. He was the head of Peking University's Institute of High Energy Physics and would periodically visit the lab to establish collaborations between Chinese and American physicists. At the time, I had no idea of Professor Chen's essential role in rebuilding the scientific establishment in China after the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976. Members of Chinese academia had to begin anew in all aspects of their careers. As China began to rebuild its economy and relax travel restrictions, pioneers like Chen began developing essential ties with the international scientific community.

Fast forward nearly 20 years, and Chen is a revered senior scientific statesman, having served as head of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC) and as President of China's most prestigious academic institution, Peking University. Over those two decades, China has become the world's second largest economy, established a country-wide network of research universities, and currently educates more than 30 million undergraduates. AIP can measure that progress by the content of our journals. In 2009, Chinese authors submitted more articles to AIP journals than authors from any other nation including the United States. These developments underscore the reason why AIP opened its first international office in Beijing this year.
Nearly 100 guests from Chinese academia, business, and government helped AIP celebrate the official opening of our Beijing office on Thursday evening, June 17. Our office is in Beijing's "Golden Triangle," framed by research institutions including Peking University, Tsinghua University, and the Institute of Physics of the Chinese Academy of Science. The opening celebration began with a brief celebratory video, filmed in College Park and Beijing, showing how AIP came to China to strengthen its ties with the Chinese scientific community. During the celebration dinner, we announced two new AIP services that will improve communications with our Chinese colleagues: a joint publishing agreement between Physics Today and the Chinese Physical Society's Wuli magazine and a Chinese version of AIP's science news website available through AAAS's science news portal, EurekAlert.

Chen Jiaer speaking at podium Framed between these opening announcements and entertainment from traditional and modern Chinese operatic troupes was the celebration's highlight: Chen's brief comments from the podium. He noted that collaboration among scientists from the two countries has had great influence on the growth of positive US–China relations in general, and he thanked AIP for building bridges with the international reach of our communications and publications. His remarks to the audience, which included many of his colleagues and former students, received great attention and respect.

On our last evening in China, AIP hosted a small private dinner with Chen. We reminisced quietly about how China has transformed itself on the world stage, particularly in the last decade. In the neighboring room, a group was having a much noisier dinner—clearly a celebration of sorts. Suddenly, the room quieted and one by one the neighboring group paraded to our table to pay their respects to Professor Chen. The group included many of his former students, now professors themselves. They were celebrating a young physicist's first award from the NNSFC—a program designed and established by Chen. We could not hope for a better ambassador for China's science than Chen Jiaer, who has pledged to help AIP promote the best of China's physics to the rest of the world.

China Matters

Physics Today articles to appear in Wuli

Cathy O’Riordan and Lu Li (Deputy Director of Institute of Physics, CAS) formalize the deal to share content.
Leading up to the Grand Opening celebration of its new Beijing Office, AIP announced a content-sharing agreement between PT logo Physics Today and Wuli, a leading physics monthly published by the Chinese Physical Society. Under the agreement Wuli editors will each month translate and publish up to three pages of selections from Physics Today. Catherine O'Riordan, Vice President of Physics Resources, remarked, "This agreement will help to build new bridges within the international enterprise of research. Physics Today will bring physics news from around the world to China's rapidly growing scientific community."

Wuli is a monthly magazine, published since 1972 by the Chinese Physical Society, that disseminates the latest developments and achievements in physics across the globe, with a special focus on China. It is read by the Society's members, some 40,000 scientists in physics and related fields. Read the full press release.

AIP physics news shared with reporters in China

EurekAlert! logo
The AIP media relations team has been intently focused on populating news wires in both the United States and China with details about the latest successes in physics research by Chinese scientists and other researchers who publish in AIP journals. A survey of our own journals revealed many interesting developments that merited publicity. Initial news releases were generated from the Journal of Applied Physics, Applied Physics Letters, CHAOS, The Journal of Chemical Physics, Physics of Fluids and the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. The team also expects to regularly highlight articles from Review of Scientific Instruments, Physics of Plasmas and Biomicrofluidics. AIP is disseminating the releases using a new press room on EurekAlert, a web-based science clearinghouse for the media run by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). EurekAlert offers the ability to send Chinese versions of our news releases to reporters in China; check out which AIP stories are available in Chinese (toggle from Chinese to English through the links at the upper right). Many news outlets have subsequently contacted our media relations team to inquire about several of these stories. A few examples:

Images from AIP's Beijing Office's Grand Opening

From the left: John Haynes (AIP Vice President of Publishing), Xingtao Ai (AIP Global Chief Representative in China), Peng Bin (Vice President of Science in China Press), and Wu Jianlao (Director of Chinese Physics Letters)From the left: Shen Wenqing (Vice President of the National Natural Science Foundation of China), Yang Guozhen (member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences)

From the left: Linda and Fred Dylla chat with Han Pingchou (Dean of Peking University’s Department of Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology) and Chen Shiyi (Dean of Peking University’s College of Engineering)

Gu Zheng offers some dinner entertainment From the left:  Zhe Qiang (representing Peking University’s library) and Mark Cassar (Publisher, AIP Journals and Technical Publications)

From the left: Shen Wenqing (Vice President of the National Natural Science Foundation of China) and Fred Dylla.From the left: Chen Jiaer (member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences) greets Zhe Quan’e (Editor of Science in China Press)

Many AIP staff helped to make the Grand Opening of our Beijing Office a remarkable event, and we should all be proud on this occasion. I particularly thank Xingtao Ai for her acute attention to detail and warm hospitality, and Mark Cassar and John Haynes for their many months of preparations to make AIP's Beijing Office a reality. Other contributors included Eva Adams, Joe Anderson, Jason Bardi, Jinping "Tracy" Bao, Lori Carlin, Liz Dart Caron, Tom Connell, Doug Dalton, Charles Day, Wendy Dunn, Paula Gray, Mary Griffin, Marcia Harris, Jenny Krivanek, Lalena Lancaster, Alison Loudon, Paul Lurrie, Brandon Miller, Randy Nanna, Cathy O'Riordan, Devin Powell, Scott Prouty, Phil Schewe, Casey Tesfaye, Ada Uzoma, Alison Waldron, Linlin Wang, Margaret Wiley, and many others. Congratulations on a job well done!

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