||October 29, 2012
By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO
ACP’s tradition of celebrating art in science
On Tuesday evening, October 23, the American Center for Physics (ACP) hosted our biannual installation of new art for exhibition in the Center’s rotunda, conference rooms, and main hallways. For more than a decade we have benefitted from the keen eye of our exhibition curator, Sarah Tanguy, who has brought us a new trio of artists every six months who exemplify the fascinating intersection between art and science.
The new exhibit, entitled “From Here to Infinity,” brought to our senses an extraordinary group of artists: Jeffrey Kent, who works in large-format oil paintings; Yu Chen, who has turned microscopic images of biological cells into captivating and vibrant photographs; and Susan Van der Eb Greene, a sculptor with a devotion to geometry.
Over the next six months, visitors to ACP can view these works at their leisure. On the opening night of the exhibition, however, visitors are treated to an introduction by our curator and personal remarks by the artists themselves as they describe their inspiration for their work.
Kent’s oil paintings are representations of one of the most famous line of cultured cells produced in medicine—the so-called HeLa cells, grown originally from a 30-year-old victim of cervical cancer, Henrietta Lacks. The legacy of Lacks’s contribution to medical advancement was the subject of a poignant book several years ago. Her cultured cells have been used to develop treatments for cancer and antiviral vaccines. Phase contrast images of HeLa cells were the inspiration of Kent’s explosion of color and shapes that seem to take the viewer alternately from inside a cell to a telescopic image of colliding galaxies.
Dr. Yu Chen is not an artist by training; he is a physicist who made an early career change to applying various imaging techniques to biological problems. Many of his images chosen for the ACP exhibit are based on fluorescence of tagged molecules within a biological cell. The bright reds, yellows, and greens pop from a dark-field background, which again evokes comparisons with the deep cosmic images we have seen from the Hubble telescope. The general viewer is awed by the beauty of the vibrant, imposed colors and complicated geometry of the intracellular environment. The trained biologist sees function from the illuminated form.
Sculptor Susan Greene gave a thoroughly charming account of how her career moved from science to art. As a young student, Greene was especially interested in geometry and mathematics, and this soon morphed into a love of science with her first exposure to chemistry. She admits to an innate talent for visualizing 3D images, which she parlayed into a successful career as a research chemist in industry. Greene was fortunate to work for a company that encouraged mid-career transitions to other fields. She chose to apply her talents in visualization to sculpture and earned a fine arts degree as a measure of her dedication.
Please take a walk around the display cases of the ACP’s rotunda and you will see shapes that tease the mind and please the eye. For those who won’t have the opportunity to visit ACP over the next six months, see Curator Sarah Tanguy’s engaging description of the work of our guest artists.
Office fully staffed
AIP’s Publishers’ Office is now fully staffed, with the arrival
of three new journal managers in the last several weeks. The Editorial
Development team now comprises two directors (Alison Waldron and Alison
Taylor) and four pairs of managers, each consisting of a managing editor
and a journal manager. Every journal is assigned to a managing editor/journal
manager pair, and each director leads two of these teams. New employees
Benedetta Camarota, Jennifer Simmerer, and Stella Kafka join Dave Baker
as AIP Publishing’s journal managers; Melissa Patterson, Aravind
Akella, Grace Chik, and Kharissia Pettus are the four respective managing
editors. These teams were created specifically to oversee and ensure the
success of the journal program from the publisher’s perspective.“We
are very excited to have the Publishers’ Office fully staffed so
we can extend our efforts to revitalize AIP journals,” Waldron
the left, back row: Stella Kafka, Dave Baker, Benedetta Camarota,
Kharissia Pettus. Front row: Aravind Akella, Grace Chik, Melissa
Patterson, and Jennifer Simmerer.
of activity as PhysCon approaches
tours of NASA Kennedy Space Center will include the industrial area,
the causeway where launch pads are visible, the shuttle landing facility,
the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) area, and the crawlerway.
The second floor of AIP in College Park is buzzing with activity as final
preparations for the 2012 Quadrennial
Physics Congress (PhysCon) are completed. This meeting, hosted by
the physics honor society Sigma Pi Sigma (SPS), has grown to be the largest
gathering of physics undergraduates in the United States, and will be
the largest gathering in the history of SPS. Following are some notable
- Eighty scientists are expected to join students for a special “Breakfast
with the Scientists” event—many of these from the AIP Governing
Board. Kennedy Space Center is also sending 12 scientists to this event.
- The meeting capacity of 800 was reached more than a week before the
October 15 registration deadline, and there are 44 people on a waiting
- We have received more than 200 poster abstracts and art contest submissions
- There are 60 exhibitors registered for the congress exhibit, primarily
physics graduate programs.
- Twenty SPS and SPS chapters have received PhysCon Reporter Awards,
providing $500 in travel assistance. In return, they will write feature
articles about specific aspects of PhysCon and document their experiences
- Nine organizations are supporting PhysCon as sponsors, including several
AIP Member Societies.
APS receives $3M NSF grant to help minorities pursue PhDs
[from APSNews, October 2012, Vol. 21, No. 9]
By Bushraa Khatib
September the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded APS $3 million
in funding over the next five years to launch the APS Bridge Program (APS-BP),
a national effort designed to increase the number of underrepresented
minority students who receive doctoral degrees in physics. The program
plans to select its first funded site and accept student applications
for Fall 2013.
Underrepresented minority students, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans, earn about 10% of US physics bachelor’s degrees, yet they comprise only about 5% to 6% of US citizens who receive physics PhDs at American institutions. The main goal of the APS-BP is to roughly double the number of PhDs awarded to these students within the next ten years by developing sustainable “bridging” models to provide these students with research opportunities, advanced coursework, and mentoring, and to facilitate these students’ access to graduate programs. Also, the project will enable departments to enhance the culture of their physics graduate education so that all students have the best chance of success. Read the full story at the APSNews website.
October 28 –November 2
- 59th AVS International Symposium & Exhibit (Tampa, FL)
Monday, October 29
- Brown-bag lunch talk by Rachel Ivie, associate director of the AIP Statistical Research Center, “The Effects of Limited Resources and Opportunities on Women’s Careers in Physics: Results from the Global Survey of Physicists.” (College Park)
Tuesday, October 30
- ACP board game brown-bag lunch. Bring a board/card game. Candy provided!
October 30–November 15
- AAPT/AAS/APS New Faculty Reunion meeting (College Park, MD)
AIP Governance meetings, SPS Governance meetings, and PhysCon (Orlando, FL)
- November 6, AIP Executive Committee meeting
- November 7, AIP Governing Board meeting and SPS Council meeting
- November 8, PhysCon tours of Kennedy Space Flight Center
- November 8–10, Quadrennial Physics Congress
of Sigma Pi Sigma
- November 11, SPS Executive Committee meeting
Wednesday, November 14
- Staff birthday breakfasts (Melville and College Park)
Thursday, November 15
- ACP Annual Harvest Breakfast