AIP | Matters
-- -- April 29, 2013
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Fred Dylla Director's Matters

By H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director & CEO

Art and science

Siting Presence artists

From the left: Curator Sarah Tanguy with artists Lance Chang, Bonita Tabakin, and Liz Lescault in front of Tabakin's work, Beyond Chaos, 2012. Photo credit: Liz Dart Caron

Scientists possess a natural curiosity about the environment in which we live. In pursuit of understanding our world and how things work, scientists are often struck by the inherent beauty of our surroundings. There have always been deep connections between art and science—both endeavors share the wonder of exploring and illustrating our environment.

According to ACP Art Exhibit Curator Sarah Tanguy, artists and scientists share characteristics that define and deepen these connections: curiosity, methodology, and willingness to make and learn from mistakes. “Siting Presence,” the American Center for Physics’ newest art exhibit that debuted April 23, lends recognition to the many ways in which people consider what presence is—and where presence lies. Presence is often considered still, static, the state of being, yet indeed presence is active, alive, and open to interpretation. Photographs by Lance Chang, sculptures by Liz Lescault, and paintings by Bonita Tabakin “touch on a threshold between abstraction and representation where hints of events and emotions comingle and fragments of daily existence affix to invented and remembered musings,” says Tanguy.

Lance Chang’s background in mathematical economics and photography has helped him develop talents of manipulation. His images draw out the differences between reality and perception; reality changes with the interpretation of each viewer. Inspired by the paintings of Edgar Degas and Salvador Dali, Chang also uses movement and time to create “a lasting impression that extends beyond what is readily seen into what is felt and experienced.”

Lance Chang Liz Lescault

Lance Chang with his photographs leianuenue, 2012 (front) and hi'ilani, 2012.

Liz Lescault with her sculpture Flagel, 2010.

Sculptor Liz Lescault manipulates materials—clay is her much preferred medium—to make it come alive. Although her forms are really meant for 360 degree viewing to freely engage observers, ACP exhibit goers can easily grasp the organic essence of her creations behind glass vitrines.

Bonita Tabikan

Bonita Tabikan with her painting H2O, 2013.

The collection offered by Artist Bonita Tabakin centers on energies that heal. Trained in biology, fine arts, business, and sculpting, Tabakin’s diverse background has lent depth to her works, both in the figurative and literal sense. Layering techniques invite viewers to peer beneath the initially visible to the figures that take shape beneath the surface. The vastness and movement that one experiences when first catching site of her painting H20 gives way to the intimacy of more than 150 underlying forms, whose existence is connected to water. “Siting Presence” will be exhibited in the ACP lobby and conference rooms through November. When visiting ACP, please take some time to share our quest artist’s visions of the world.

The societies whose headquarters reside at ACP have long-standing traditions in encouraging the expression of science through art. One example is the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics’ Gallery of Fluid Motion, with new entries each year. During the 2013 APS March and April meetings, the cultural focus has been on science and theatre, with performances of “Farm Hall,” about German scientists involved with the Third Reich’s atomic energy projects, and the play “And the Sun Stood Still,” about 16th-century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. AAPT hosts an annual High School Physics Photo Contest, a program that encourages students “to learn about the physics behind natural and contrived situations by creating visual and written illustrations of various physical concepts.” Entries for 2013 will be accepted through May 15.

Physics Resource Matters

AIP Publishing attends European Geosciences Union General Assembly

The European Geosciences Union General Assembly was held in Vienna, Austria, from April 7-12, 2013. The EGU conference brought together over 11,000 scientists from 96 countries to discuss advances in all areas of the geosciences and planetary and space sciences. Managing Editor Melissa Patterson attended the conference representing Physics of Plasmas (PoP) and Physics of Fluids (PoF)The Gallery of Fluid Motion and PoP Editors' Choice booklets were among the giveaways available to attendees. Researchers interested in space plasma physics and geophysical flows discussed their work at the AIP Publishing table while picking up journal information cards with lists of the most accessed articles for PoP and PoF.

Physics Resource Matters

On a tight budget

The White House released its FY 2014 Budget Request on April 11. The president's $3.8 trillion budget calls for $142.8 billion in research and development funding, which includes $68.1 billion for basic and applied research (a 7.5% increase from FY 2012). The $69.6 million or 9.2% increase in nondefense research and development spending is of note since there have been discussions in Congress about defense versus nondefense research spending.

This Administration has shown a commitment to the federal science agencies, and this budget includes a proposed $13.5 billion (8%) combined increase for NSF, NIST, and DOE. The NSF budget doubles funding for a wide variety of cross-cutting initiatives and pays particular attention to cybersecurity, sustainability, and advanced manufacturing. These initiatives bring funding into the core science disciplines. The Mathematics and Physical Sciences Directorate saw an increase in funding of $77.2 million or 5.9%.

The president's budget repeals sequestration and returns federal spending to pre-sequestration caps for discretionary spending. Congress has already begun proposing its budget and the contentious process of budget decision-making is well underway. AIP and other groups that advocate for research funding will play a role in the discussions and negotiations about funding levels and will provide budget information through FYI.

Physics Resource Matters

ASA's DC chapter to hold mini-conference

ASA DC Chapter

The Washington, DC, chapter of the Acoustical Society of America will hold its first Mini Conference of Acoustics (MCA) on the evening of May 29 at the Catholic University of America. MCA will provide an opportunity for anyone who is working, studying, or doing research in any field of acoustics to present their own work/research to a professional society. Students, PhD candidates, postdoctoral researchers, and teachers are all welcome to attend and participate in this opportunity to broaden knowledge and find collaborations or partners for multidisciplinary projects. See the full announcement for more details.

Coming Up

April 30-May 2

  • STM Spring Conference (Washington, DC)

Wednesday, May 1

  • ACP game party, 12 - 1pm (College Park)

Thursday, May 2

  • ACP blood drive (College Park)

May 7-8

  • Staff professional development training: "How to be Accountable during Culture Change." (College Park)

Wednesday, May 8

  • Staff birthday breakfasts (Melville and College Park)
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