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-- -- January 7, 2013
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Fred Dylla Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

Looking back, looking forward

2012-2013When we finally stop to take a breath at the end of the year, we see what we have accomplished over the past 12 months. For many of us it might seem like most of our day-to-day activities relate to putting out fires or growing our to-do lists rather than crossing things off. When considering 2013, we all devise plans for doing better. But take a moment to look at the big picture . . . and pat yourselves on the back. For AIP’s customers and partners in the physical science community and beyond, we have delivered a lot.

In 2012, our Education Division put on the largest meeting of undergraduate physics majors ever at the Quadrennial Physics Congress of Sigma Pi Sigma. What impact does such a meeting have on the many members of SPS? One student who was interviewed for the congress video summed it up well, “My small peer group at Tuskegee has only 30 other physics majors, but here there are 800 physics majors that share the same interests I do.” They heard from world-renowned physicists, discussed their role as scientists in society, and toured Kennedy Space Center. The retired shuttle launch pads were eerily quiet after 30 years of service, but there were hopeful signs of hardware additions for the heavy-lift Space Launch System.

AIP’s History Programs celebrated 50 years of service to the physics community and the center’s evolution to one of the most valuable international resources for the history of physics and allied disciplines.

Who better to mark the occasion than Gerald Holton from Harvard, who has been on speaking terms with every great physicist since, including Einstein? The anniversary provided us with the opportunity to promote our collections of books, manuscripts, oral interviews, photographs, and web offerings. At the end of November, the Center for History of Physics launched its newest web exhibit, Rutherford’s Nuclear World. Related to the exhibit, you will find online oral histories from Rutherford’s students and colleagues, such as Edward Andrade, James Chadwick, John Cockcroft, and Niels Bohr. In 2013, our oral history offerings online will surpass 1,000 interviews.

In the spring, our Industrial Outreach program took a leap across the Atlantic for our first ever Industrial Physics Forum (IPF) overseas, in Trieste, Italy. Organized in partnership with the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, this IPF looked into “Capacity Building for Industrial Physics in Developing and Emerging Economies.” In 2013, AIP is planning industrial outreach events with four of our Member Societies: APS, SOR, AVS, and AGU. Planning will also begin in earnest for the 2014 IPF in Brazil.

The Statistical Research Center (SRC) collected and published data revealing that the academic year 2011 was a record-setting year in terms of the number of physics bachelors (nearly 6,300), the number of astronomy bachelors (twice the number awarded in 1999-2000), and the number of physics PhDs (nearly 1,700) awarded in the United States. SRC has also been working on a new survey of physics in two-year colleges, last conducted in 2001. In 2013, the SRC will release its first report from this study, revealing how this stratum is faring today.

Engagement increased on Physics Today’s website. Compared with last year, online visitors left three times as many comments. The number of fans of Physics Today’s Facebook page quadrupled to 27,000.

GradschoolShopper staff unveiled the site’s new student resources section, and toured China to reach out to the country’s thriving community of physics students. Inside Science staff brought in 2012 with the launch of Inside Science Television (ISTV) and closed the year by announcing a significant expansion in the number of participating local news stations. Contributing to the broad dissemination of this new product, the National Science Foundation will soon begin to show ISTV content through their Science 360 website. Our Media staff continued to offer their services to Member Societies, publicizing the science content of their meetings to news outlets around the world, and expanded their offerings to include video webcasting.

During the election year, science policy was brought before the public eye more than usual. Our Government Relations staff has been heavily occupied, informing policy makers about critical issues and the public about how developments on the Hill affect the health of science and science education. My colleagues and I, who have been advocating strongly for pragmatic public access policy, have also had a busy year. In my congressional testimony of March 29 and in many subsequent presentations at publishing industry and Member Society meetings, I outlined important considerations that must be taken into account to both preserve scientific integrity and the sustainability of the scholarly publishing enterprise. Our community has made steady progress in increasing access to scientific data and publications through collaborations with government agencies, libraries, academic institutions, and other publishers. In 2013 we expect additional recommendations from the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and we will push to make sure that they take full notice of our agency-publisher partnerships.

AIP Publishing announced plans for a new open access, materials science journal and appointed Judith MacManus-Driscoll as editor of APL Materials. Affiliated with AIP’s highly regarded Applied Physics Letters (APL), which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, the new rapid publication journal began accepting manuscript submissions on January 1.

AIP Advances passed the milestone of publishing 500 articles and was accepted into Web of Science. Overall, AIP journals had an outstanding year, with a record number of articles published and a new record for the number of downloads for these articles. We recognize that it is important to publish, but it is equally important to have these articles widely read by our community.

AIP journals also enjoyed significant increases in impact factors across the board, with outstanding performers being The Journal of Chemical Physics and the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, as well as Physics Today magazine.

Throughout 2012, we promoted our journals and the journals of our Member Society publishing partners to the scientific community at various conferences. In spite of Sandy’s impact on the New York area, our Marketing and Editorial staff did not skip a beat with the heavy fall exhibit schedule. While participating in the world-renowned Frankfurt Book Fair for the 25th consecutive year, our creative team learned that it took first prize in the STM video competition with “What Do Publishers Do?” Anyone who sees the video will deduce that we work hard, yet still manage to have fun in the process.

On behalf of all of the AIP staff, we have enjoyed providing our products and services to Member Societies and a diverse array of other customers across the world. And we look forward to working for and with you in 2013.

Member Society News

Learn more about AIP's History Programs

Library tour

Melanie Mueller gives a tour of the Niels Bohr Library and Archives.

Ever wonder what exactly the Niels Bohr Library and Archives and the Center for History of Physics do? Want to know more about what resources we have, online and off, and how they can help you? Recently the staff of Physics Today (PT) came for a tour of our facilities and found out more about what the History Programs and its staff have to offer. They received a brief overview of how to access and use the library's resources, what information we have online, and how the librarians and archivists can help them with their goals. It was helpful and informative for both the PT and library staff, and we are always pleased to offer tours to other AIP divisions or individuals that might be interested. If you and your coworkers would like to come for a tour, please contact Joe Anderson, director. Or as always, feel free to stop by the reference desk in the reading room; the professional archivists and librarians there will be happy to help you.

One science, many minds

Pne science, many minds web page screenshotTo raise awareness of and garner support for AIP’s history and student programs, the Development Office recently launched a “Donate Now” webpage, accessible from the top navigation ribbon on the AIP main page. The development site features a short video entitled “One Science Many Minds,” which highlights these programs and shows the positive impacts that they have on members of the scientific community. In addition to the video, webpage visitors will find several different ways to give, donor stories and quotes, as well as profiles of our Development Board members.

The development effort is built around preserving the past and fueling the future. We seek to expand AIP’s visibility within the scientific community, to illustrate the importance of documenting the work of past and present physicists, and to draw attention to the need to cultivate future physicists.

Member Society News

Physics Today, January 2013 issue

Cover: In atomic and molecular physics, Norman Ramsey (1915-2011) is best known for a precision spectroscopy technique that now bears his name—Ramsey's separated oscillatory fields method. The 1949 invention resulted from his quest to sharpen the spectral resolution of molecular-beam magnetic resonance, as Daniel Kleppner recounts on page 25. Ramsey's own description in 1980 (reprinted on page 36) details the method's various advantages and extensions. In their article on page 27, Serge Haroche, Michel Brune, and Jean-Michel Raimond describe more recent adaptations that enable the preparation, counting, and manipulation of photons in cavity quantum electrodynamics experiments. (Ramsey photo courtesy of the AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Ramsey Collection.)

Coming Up

January 5-9

  • AAPT Winter Meeting (New Orleans, LA)

January 6-10

  • AAS 221st Meeting (Long Beach, CA)

Thursday, January 24

  • Physics Today Advisory Committee meeting (College Park)
Friday, January 25
  • AIP Advisory Panel on Committees meeting (College Park)
  • AIP Executive Committee meeting (College Park)