AIP | Matters
-- -- September 17, 2012

Richard Jones, Bo HammerDirector's Matters

Guest column by Richard Jones, Senior Government Relations Liaison, and Philip W. "Bo" Hammer, Associate Vice President, Physics Resources

Advancing the science debate

Many of the most important domestic and international public policy issues that our nation faces have an important science component. Therefore, it is important to understand the presidential candidates' views on these issues and how their administrations would integrate science and technology into their decision-making and leadership. To this end, AIP has once again joined a coalition of science societies to partner with Science Debate in formulating a series of science policy questions aimed at the two major candidates for president of the United States: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

The candidates' responses provide their views on innovation policy, climate change, research funding, education, energy, space, critical natural resources, biosecurity, food, fresh water, the Internet, ocean health, vaccinations and public health, and the utilization of science in the formulation of public policy.

Described as "a grassroots initiative spearheaded by a growing number of scientists and other concerned citizens," Science Debate, Inc., is a nonprofit organization started in the United States in November 2007. Its mission is to host nonpartisan science policy debates between candidates for public office for the purpose of raising the profile of science and technology policy issues in the national policy dialog. Matthew Chapman is president of Science Debate, Inc.; Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and former Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI) are co-chairs. Others serving on the steering committee include Norm Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin; Ira Flatow of National Public Radio; Deborah Wince-Smith of the Council on Competitiveness; and prominent academic, corporate, association, and scientific media figures.

Partner organizations include AAAS, ACS, AIBS, AIP, APS, ASCE, the Council on Competitiveness, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Scientific American is the media partner.The physics community has provided significant support to this effort. Eleven physicists who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, and two astronomers who received the Crafoord Prize in Astronomy are listed as "supporting the call," as well as AIP and three of its Member Societies: AAPM, AGU, and APS. In all, more than 40,000 individuals and 200 universities and scientific organizations have contributed to this effort.

Science Debate explains:
We have noticed that science and technology lie at the center of a very large number of the policy issues facing our nation and the world—issues that profoundly affect our national and economic security as science and technology continue to transform our lives. No matter one's political stripe, these issues pose important pragmatic policy challenges—challenges that are too important and too impactful on people's lives to be left unaddressed.

We believe these scientific and technological policy challenges can bring out the best in the entrepreneurial American spirit. America can be a leader in finding cures for our worst diseases, inventing the best alternative energy sources, enjoying the most pristine and biologically wealthy environment, and graduating the most scientifically literate children in the world—or we can cede these economic and humanitarian benefits to other countries.

Leadership is about articulating a vision for the future and making it happen. Will America lead, or will it step aside and be swept along as others take the reins?
This is the second time that presidential candidates have responded to a series of questions on science and technology. In 2008 the candidates were asked but refused to participate in what was to be a nationally broadcast debate on PBS, televised live from The Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia. Written responses were submitted instead. Obama and Romney have not yet indicated if they will accept an invitation to participate in a televised debate focusing on scientific issues.

To see the questions and the candidates' responses, visit:
Publishing Matters

Cinzia Chiang, regional sales manager for AIP’s Beijing office, interacts with booth visitors. ICTAM "Mechanics Olympics" in Beijing

AIP's Beijing office manager Xingtao Ai represented two journals at the 23rd International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ICTAM2012), which took place August 19–24 in Beijing, China. Held once every 4 years, ICTAM is arguably the most influential global event in the mechanics community, covering all fields of mechanics and facilitating learning between mechanical experts around the world. "It is regarded as the 'Mechanics Olympics', Ai says. While there, she promoted AIP's Physics of Fluids (PoF) and Biomicrofluidics journals, as well as the new Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Letters (TAML), which is cosponsored by AIP and the Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. Students from Peking University, Tsinghua University, and many other famous universities and colleges came to AIP's booth in the exhibition hall interested in contributing to PoF, in particular. The students said they relied on the journal to teach them about the newest findings in their field. "They told us that having their name in PoF was a dream for students studying fluids in China," Ai reports.

Hosting the conference was a major milestone for China's mechanics research community, which has made efforts to host an ICTAM for more than two decades. Ai believes it will greatly promote and improve the research level within the Chinese mechanics community.
Physics Resources Matters

NBL&A welcomes graduate student interns

Introducing Rebecca Hopman (left) and Sara Allen, field study interns at the Niels Bohr Library and Archives. Each year interns from the University of Maryland's graduate program in Archives Administration work with Niels Bohr Library and Archives staff to gain firsthand experience in preserving, organizing, and cataloging archival materials. This semester Sara Allen and Rebecca Hopman are participating in field study placements. In the past the interns have cataloged historic photos, processed small manuscript collections, organized grey literature, and completed a variety of other valuable projects. This fall Sara is scanning a recently discovered cache of photos of French physicist Léon Brillouin, cataloging them, and adding them to the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives website. Rebecca is working on a new kind of project for us, developing an exhibit on our four-year grant-funded project to put our oral history collection online. The exhibit will be mounted in the library and broadcast on our social networking sites. The field study interns receive academic credit for their placement.
Around AIP

Silent auction planned to support students

On October 4 there will be a silent auction at ACP to support students attending the 2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress (PhysCon), hosted by Sigma Pi Sigma and taking place November 8–10 in Orlando, FL. The auction opens at 8 am and bids will be accepted until 1 pm; a short program and refreshments will follow. To learn more about the Congress, themed Connecting Worlds through Science and Service, visit
Member Society Spotlight
Rubby Sherr, professor of physics, emeritus, Princeton University. Credit: Princeton University, Office of Communications, Robert Matthews.

Rubby Sherr, 99 and still publishing

AIP wishes Rubby Sherr a happy 99th birthday. A fellow of the APS Nuclear Physics Division, Dr. Sherr started publishing research in 1936 and is still active today. (Surely that 76-year span would contend in the Guinness Book of World Records!) See his brief bio on
Coming Up

Wednesday, September 19

  • Annual Inside Science TV (ISTV) Underwriters' Meeting (College Park, MD)

Thursday, September 20

  • All-staff event, premiere of AIP's "What Do Publishers Do?" (Melville, NY, and College Park, MD)

Monday, September 24

  • AIP Executive Committee meeting (College Park, MD)
  • 50th Anniversary of AIP's History Programs (College Park, MD)

September 25–27

  • Physics Today sales meeting (Montauk, NY)

Thursday, September 27

  • Employee picnic (Melville, NY)

Thursday, October 4

  • ACP silent auction to benefit student attendees of the Sigma Pi Sigma 2012 Physics Congress,
    8 am–1 pm (College Park, MD)