- American Physical Society Sites
- Meetings & Events
- Policy & Advocacy
- Careers In Physics
- About APS
- Become a Member
University of California, San Diego
In March 2021, I rotated off a four-year term of service on the chair line of the Division of Condensed Matter Physics (DCMP), APS's largest division. This experience taught me about various APS operations and how to work effectively with volunteer colleagues and with APS staff. As chair of the Program Committee for the ill-fated 2020 March Meeting, I also worked with APS staff and with colleagues from other units and even engaged in a bit of crisis management together with APS leadership. Over the past year, I've served on the APS March Meeting Task Force, a large group (> 50) consisting of stakeholders from all the March Meeting units, tasked with charting the course for the next phase of what is the world's largest physics meeting.
APS is facing several challenges and needs vision, creativity, and leadership in order to meet them. I believe my experiences provide a solid basis of qualification for service on the APS Nominating Committee, which is charged with preparing slates of candidates up to the task to serve in upper-level APS elected positions.
Some goals: (1) The Meetings Department is to be congratulated for its planning and execution of the virtual 2021 March and April meetings. Going forward, APS must draw upon this experience to play a leading role in conceiving and implementing novel formats that will best serve our membership. (2) Increasingly, APS should consider how the use of social media can advance the objectives articulated in its mission statement. (3) Through its nearly two dozen committees, APS is constantly evaluating its internal operations as well as addressing broader issues of direct relevance to its membership. Current examples of the latter include (i) increased government scrutiny of foreign scholars and of international scientific collaborations, and (ii) strengthening the STEM workforce and broadening access to STEM education and careers, particularly in physics. (4) In order to achieve these goals, the Nominating Committee should seek to cultivate candidates representing the full breadth of expertise, background, institutional diversity, and geographical distribution across the entire APS membership.
Some concerns: Together, publications and scientific meetings account for about 85% of APS revenues. While it has demonstrated leadership in open access publishing and has successfully hosted two major virtual meetings this year, APS must continue to anticipate new developments and to lead in these core areas. Finding fair yet effective ways to monetize virtual meetings is a challenge. Other important issues include maintaining funding for APS prizes and awards, and the urgent national need for access to liquid helium for scientific research.
APS plays a key role in advancing one of the most intellectually compelling, creative, and impactful areas of human endeavor. With dedicated volunteers and its leadership and professional staff, it will continue to thrive.