AIP | Matters
-- -- February 11, 2013

Greg Good Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

House Science Committee addresses US competitiveness and R&D

On February 6, the first hearing of the newly constituted House Science, Technology and Space Committee was held. This was the first hearing of the committee within the 113th Congress and the first under the gavel of the new chair, Republican Lamar Smith from Texas. Given the gridlock we have seen for the last few years in Congress, and our witness to major actions affecting the basic financing of the federal government being deferred to just-in-time temporary solutions, why should this one committee hearing be of interest to the scientific community? In reviewing the opening statements of Rep. Smith and the Ranking Minority Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and from the comments of the three highly credentialed witnesses called by the Science Committee, I heard the usual warning on the country's sliding commitment to science, but I also detected a very definite, positive tone on the importance of science and science education for the nation's welfare

The three witnesses at this hearing are well known to the scientific community: Richard Templeton, the CEO of Texas Instruments; Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and Charles Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering. They emphasized points that should be well known to every scientist and engineer in this country: the importance of basic research for the economic health of the country, and the hazy boundary and necessary connections between basic and applied research. In addition, they highlighted the workforce problems in many technical fields, including our long-standing failures in improving K-12 STEM education, and our current immigration policies that hinder both the attraction and retention of international students.

House Science, Technology and Space Committee hearing

Click on the image above for the archived webcast of the hearing, American Competitiveness: The Role of Research and Development.

If you consult AIP's FYI bulletin on last week's hearing, you'll hear a coherent message from these three witnesses, but you'll also hear that members of both parties, including new freshman members of the committee, appear to genuinely understand the importance of these priorities for the nation. That's the refreshing tone I picked up that is reminiscent of the days when the congressional science committees were generally hallmarks of bipartisan discourse. This refreshing breeze will be tempered by Congress's latest standoff on the impending budgetary trifecta coming up in March: a long-term budget deal on the federal deficit or significant across-the-board cuts in federal accounts by March 1, and the expiration of the continuing resolution for the current fiscal year budget on March 27. FYI #26 is hot off the press for those who want the latest update on this fractious political discourse that is keeping business in both the private and public sectors in a holding pattern.

Physics Resource Matters

Connecting with the library community

ALA Midwinter Meeting AIP Publishing made a strong showing at ALA mid-winter in January, represented by Adriana Acosta (chief marketing and sales officer), Kevin Steiner (regional sales manager), and John Linton (marketing director). The team took the opportunity to meet with select customers and attend seminars in order to strengthen ties with key members of one of its core customer groups: institutional librarians. The meeting also allowed for introduction of the 2013 Journals Catalog, which reflects a cleaner look and feel that will be setting the tone for an overall effort to rebrand AIP Publishing over the coming months.

To read about meeting highlights, visit the American Libraries online magazine.

Physics Resource Matters

An enhanced Léon Brillouin collection

Leon Brillouin

ESVA's Léon Brillouin Collection, circa 1940s.

This past fall, Sara Allen from the iSchool (Information Studies) at the University of Maryland interned with the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives (ESVA) in the Niels Bohr Library and Archives. She researched, digitized, and cataloged several images from the Léon Brillouin Collection, most of which documented the French physicist's international travels with friends and family in the early to mid-20th century. Although a handful of Brillouin's portraits were previously available on our website, there are now more than 70 photographs from his collection to view online, with several more housed in his manuscript collection that were not scanned. These images give us a more intimate look into the life he led as a physicist, friend, father, and husband.

The Segrè Archives offers more than 30,000 images of modern physicists, astronomers, and geophysicists, as well as photos and illustrations of scientific instruments, objects, and places.
Physics Resource Matters

ASA seeks entries for Science Writing in Acoustics Award

ASA Science Writer's AwardThe Acoustical Society of America seeks nominations for the Science Writers Award in Acoustics; the deadline is March 15.

The Science Writing Awards recognize excellence in the presentation of acoustics-related topics to a popular audience. Entries may be newspaper stories, magazine articles, TV or radio broadcasts, books, or websites that were published, broadcast, printed, or posted between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2012. Separate awards will be given to journalists and professionals in the field of acoustics.

Physics Resource Matters

Physics Today, February 2013 issue

Cover: Materials scientists have long known how to make disordered solids, or glasses, from polymers, organics, and other chemical compounds, but only recently have they learned to do so with metals. Known as bulk metallic glasses, the new materials are prized for their strength and ease of processing. And as illustrated by the examples shown here, they are finding diverse applications—from nanoscale catalytic fibers to jewelry casings.

Coming Up

Wednesday, February 13

  • Staff birthday breakfasts (Melville and College Park)
  • All-AIP staff meeting, 11:30 a.m.

February 14-18

  • AAAS Annual Meeting (Boston, MA)

Thursday, February 28

  • AIP Development Board meeting (College Park)

March 1

  • PRC Advisory Committee meetings (College Park)

March 2

  • PRC Policy Committee meeting (College Park)