By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO
AIP 2010: Outreach and communication
“Communication” was my favored watchword for 2010. Getting the right information to the right people is of paramount importance for scientific societies when it comes to scientific funding and accurate public perception. Thus, we expend significant efforts to communicate the most relevant developments to funding agencies and to the public. The outreach activities of AIP Member and Affiliated Societies serve many audiences, including the general public, who must be persuaded about the role science plays in economic prosperity enough to support long-term investments in science.
Judging from how the national and international media have treated certain scientific topics, such as climate science and energy policy, we have our work cut out for us. During our next annual Assembly of Society Officers meeting in March, we will consider how the science community could improve its communication with the public. AIP keeps the community abreast of policy and funding developments in science and science education: 140 FYI news bulletins were distributed in 2010. Many of AIP Member Societies, with active public policy efforts, have also done an excellent job of informing their members about important topical and funding issues.
Last year marked the 10th anniversary of Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science (DBIS). To inform the general public, AIP and 23 partner organizations delivered 144 DBIS segments to local TV stations and to a number of websites in 2010. Inside Science News Service staff wrote more than 180 science stories for use by newspapers and web news services.
Physics Today delivered a well-appreciated mix of science news, opinion pieces, and highly cited review articles through both the monthly print issue and a revamped website with four new feature columns. AIP's science media team launched a news site on AAAS's EurekAlert platform, which included a Chinese version; the launch intended to coincide with the June Grand Opening of AIP's first office outside the US—in Beijing.
The AIP Statistical Research Center introduced a new e-publication series, focus on, which provides brief highlights on a particular topic of interest, including demographics and workforce issues. In addition to issuing other reports, SRC staff issued 21 focus on's in 2010. They also launched a major new study of the career status of physics PhDs who received their degree a decade ago. And they completed data collection for the Global Survey of Physicists—nearly 15,000 physicists responded from more than 140 countries.
The Center for History of Physics prepared a major new web exhibit, “Rutherford’s Nuclear World,” which will be launched early this year to commemorate the centenary of Rutherford’s discovery of the atomic nucleus. During the 2010 Frontiers in Optics/Laser Science meeting, our industrial outreach program partnered with OSA to present a very successful Industrial Physics Forum on the applications of lasers. At the 2011 APS March meeting, AIP will partner with APS to commemorate another centenary—Heike Kamerlingh Onnes’s discovery of superconductivity—with an industry-focused forum. A second IPF, which focuses on energy, will take place in the fall of 2011 at the AVS Symposium and Exhibition.
The Society of Physics Students cosponsored 12 interns last summer with support from APS, AAPT, OSA, NIST, NASA, and the John and Jane Mather Foundation for Science and the Arts. The students worked on various science research, outreach, and policy projects. In addition, SPS provided support for student reporters at six Member Society meetings in 2010 to promote meeting content.
For AIP and our Member Societies who publish scientific journals and rely on the resulting income to support outreach activities as noted above, 2010 has been as turbulent as the world economy. Having in mind both sustainable publishing business models and increased access to and functionality of research results to all readers, I devoted a significant amount of time participating in the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable, which released its report and recommendations early in January 2010. Roundtable members were pleased to see many of their recommendations influence the America COMPETES Act—an authorization bill that sets the roadmap for funding of much of the federal government's portfolio in physical science. In the waning days of the 111th Congress, it looked as if this bill might die. Fortunately, the nation was given a holiday present when the bill was passed just before the session ended (see FYI #127).
I thank AIP staff, Member Society leadership and staff, and our Affiliated Society contacts for the support and guidance in 2010. I look forward to working with you in 2011.
Bringing in the New Year
|Kim Schwalb of the Marketing department prepares to scan badges to enter visitors into the prize draw.
At the MRS Fall Meeting in Boston, November 29–December 3, a wide collection of AIP and publishing partner journals was on display in the exhibit hall. An iPad raffle drew lots of visitors, many of whom wanted to learn more about the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy and our new open-access publication, AIP Advances. Of course, Applied Physics Letters and the Journal of Applied Physics generated much discussion at AIP's booth. The annual editorial board luncheon for those two journals was held during the conference. Editors, Associate Editors, and Board members discussed the preceding year's activities and achievements and strategic plans for the future. Staff members from both journals renewed their commitment to involve the board members in planning, to make the best use of their valuable feedback as representatives of the community that the journals serve.
Who's hiring Physics Bachelor's?
The Statistical Research Center has recently updated one of its most popular resources: Who's Hiring Physics Bachelor's?. On this website you will find state-by-state lists of private sector and government employers that have recently hired physics bachelor's in science and engineering positions. This resource clearly illustrates that employment opportunities for physics bachelor's exist in all areas of the economy in a wide variety of occupations.
These listings will be useful to recent graduates who can check out the diversity of companies that hired physics bachelors, and also to physics department faculty who wish to develop or strengthen contacts with local employers.
SPS Jobs joins Physics Today Career Network
In November, AIP's Society of Physics Students and Sigma Pi Sigma (SPS) launched its own online job board, called SPS Jobs, which is part of the Physics Today Career Network. PTCN will manage customer service, sales and marketing, and site administration for its new in-house partner. The SPS Jobs site will attract to the overall network entry-level job seekers and employers advertising bachelor-level jobs. The sharing of jobs and resumés among all the PTCN sites should benefit SPS's diverse audience of physics professionals. Staff members of both AIP Education and PTCN continue to work together to refine the function and appearance of this unique AIP Physics Resources Center cross-divisional project.