Monday, April 11, 2011

H. Frederick Dylla Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director

Message to the Governing Board

On Thursday, March 31, AIP held the spring meeting of our Governing Board, which consists of representatives from our ten Member Societies and two at-large members. This distinguished group oversees the management of the Institute and periodically reviews our products and services for the physical science community. At the beginning of each of our biannual board meetings, I provide a summary of key issues affecting the Institute. The following encapsulates my remarks to the Board:

Finances are an extremely important topic for any organization—especially now, given current federal budget deliberations on Capitol Hill and the overall state of the global economy. I was pleased to present some good news on this front for AIP. Despite the continued stress on our publishing business, we were able to close 2010 on budget for the year. This is the second year that we were able to meet our budget after significantly missing our target in 2008 at the start of the global recession. We are also pleased to note that our reserve funds have substantially recovered after having suffered significant losses that hit a nadir in March 2009. See my article in the March 7 issue of AIP Matters for details.

I noted to the Board that this meeting marked the fourth anniversary of my tenure as Executive Director, and during this period only my first year could be characterized as "business-as-usual." Since then, the global recession; rapid changes in the publishing environment; increased international involvement among research communities in China, India and other countries; and the threat of government mandates have eliminated this phrase from our vocabulary. To codify constant change as the norm, the Institute is developing new three-year plans that will be used as evolving documents to guide our decision making. Our mission focuses on communications in two ways: Scholarly publishing and outreach services to the broader physical science community (provided by AIP's Physics Resources Center). In our publishing activities we need to continue to improve access options, make our journals more author and reader friendly, and incorporate new dissemination methods with mobile delivery and social network tools, such as our UniPHY service. We will continue to strengthen PRC products and services that are valued by our community, including Physics Today, media services, outreach to students through Society of Physics Students, supporting the scientific workforce via Statistical Research Center studies, Career Network, and to preserving our history through the History Center and Niels Bohr Library and Archives.

Finally, subjugating the "A" in AIP, I noted that all of our societies are becoming more global in their outreach and membership. To assist us in supporting an increasingly international community, AIP opened a new office in Beijing last year, and we are exploring a potential second international office in India. In addition, we recently announced a partnership with Edanz, a company that will help nonnative English-speakers prepare higher quality manuscripts for submission to our journals.

I thanked the Executive Committee members for their careful analysis of our program assumptions that would be folded into the development of AIP's 2012 budget. Those assumptions were approved by the Executive Committee and Governing Board last week; they now form the basis for the first year of our three-year roadmap.

Physics Resources Center Matters

ESVA's new Danburg Collection

The Emilio Segrè Visual Archives recently received over 100 negatives taken by Jerome S. Danburg during the celebration of the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physics to Luis W. Alvarez. Danburg took the photos October 30 and 31, 1968 at the UC Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he did his Ph.D. studies in physics. His photos capture the euphoria amid the hectic activities in the days following the announcement, including an office party and a news conference. Alvarez won the Nobel Prize "for his decisive contributions to elementary particle physics, in particular the discovery of a large number of resonance states, made possible through his development of the technique of using hydrogen bubble chamber and data analysis".

Jim Allen joins AIP as new Director of NMS

Jim Allen Please extend a warm welcome to James (Jim) Allen, who starts today as Director of the News and Media Services Division (NMS). Jim will oversee the day-to-day operations, business development, and strategic vision for the division, which includes Discoveries and Breakthrough Inside Science, the Inside Science News Service, AIP's media services for Member Societies and the promotion of AIP journal content.

Jim has been a respected fixture of the Washington, D.C. television, print, and radio news community for over 20 years, providing communications counsel and on-air reporting for the local affiliate of NBC television, CBS radio, Radio One, as well as serving as Director of Media Relations and Special Reports Editor for The Hill newspaper. Most recently, Jim served as vice president for the company Talmax, where he conducted market research, marketing, and business development; after serving for three years as Director of Media Relations for Clean Skies News/Energy Now Television. Early in his career, Jim was a scientific technical editor for Reed International Publishing.

Around AIP

AIP|InSite gets an upgrade

AIP|InSite logo AIP Business Systems and Operations (BS&O) staff are excited to announce the upgrade of AIP's SharePoint platform to the 2010 version. AIP|InSite, our corporate intranet site, is implemented on SharePoint. This new release makes a number of new features available, including tighter integration with Outlook, better integration with Apple hardware, and an enhanced user experience. BS&O will set up webinars to provide you with information about the improved functionality. Staff interested in building out their department's intranet site or automating processes to facilitate work flow, should contact Tracy Denien, Director of Business Solutions.

Member Society Spotlight

A picture's worth 1,000 words from any physics text book

AAPT logo AAPT is accepting entries for its 2011 high school physics photo contest through May 15. This popular competition, sponsored by Vernier Software & Technology, is open to high school students in grades 9 – 12 (or equivalent international grade level). Photos may be entered in one of two categories: natural and contrived. Help creative young minds realize that physics is fascinating by promoting this contest in your community. Visit the website for more details. Some of the best images from last year's contest:

"Slap Shot" by Joshua John Garcia, Kuna HS
Using a high speed camera, the instant of a hand slapping a stomach was captured, revealing a shock wave. Read more.
"Shrouded Flyer" by Peter Xinman Tang, Lynbrook HS
The aircraft is traveling near the speed of sound and shows condensation of the water vapor in the low pressure air surrounding the plane that lasts only for an instant. Read more.
"Balloon Bust" by Patricia Mooney, Mission College Preparatory HS
This picture demonstrates the force of tension and the Law of Inertia. The water remains together for a single moment before outside forces pull it down. Read more.
What's happening this week

Tuesday, April 12

  • AIP Management Committee Retreat (College Park, MD)
  • University of Maryland colloquium with Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director General of CERN, "The Large Hadron Collider: Entering a New Era of Fundamental Science". Open to the public; more details. (UMD, College Park, MD).

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For past issues of this newsletter, visit the AIP Matters archives.