APS News

May 1997 (Volume 6, Number 5)

1996 Annual Report

1996 was an exciting year for physics and the American Physical Society. Major new developments were reported in all fields of physics and several, including advances in quantum computation, the creation of metallic hydrogen, sending atoms down hollow fibers, and evidence that quarks are point-like down to 10-19 m, were highlighted in the major media. APS passed its third anniversary of the move of APS headquarters to the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland, where the close proximity of other scientific and professional societies has proved to be the advantage that was originally anticipated. In addition, the pleasant working conditions of the ACP building have helped APS to attract an exceptionally talented staff. Plans for a major addition to the APS Editorial Offices in Ridge, New York, were completed. This will allow all the excellent editorial and support staff on Long Island to come together under one roof.

The APS made major progress in its electronic publishing efforts throughout 1996, offering Physical Review Letters, and Physical Review C, D and B-Rapids online, and laying the ground work for all APS journals to be online by the end of 1997. The adoption of an electronic abstract submission procedure for all APS meetings allowed the programs for all APS meetings, general, topical, and regional, to be available and searchable on the web long before the meetings themselves.

This year APS expanded its public service and outreach programs in many directions. APS's first capital fundraising efforts, carried out jointly with the American Association of Physics Teachers and called the Campaign for Physics, had an excellent year and is quickly approaching its goal of $5 million. The funds raised in this way allowed APS to expand greatly its programs to involve research scientists in improving pre-college science education.

The APS intensified its effort to involve scientists in grassroots efforts to promote physics to the public and support for science in general, and physics in particular, to legislators and government leaders. In addition, we have been working with other societies to develop a coordinated approach in seeking increased federal funding for science and technology.

Looking toward the future, the very successful searches for two new operating officers may have been the most important events of the year. Harry Lustig, APS treasurer for 11 years, retired in November. In addition to initiating and leading many new APS programs, he managed APS finances with such distinction that the Society faces the future with an unusually firm foundation. He was replaced by Tom McIlrath, an atomic and optical physicist from the University of Maryland who brings a broad base of experience both in physics and in administration. At the end of the year, Ben Bederson retired as APS editor-in-chief after a five-year term in office. He shepherded the journals through a period of rapid growth and change and laid most the groundwork for the development of the new online journals. He has been replaced by Martin Blume, a condensed matter theorist, who recently stepped down as deputy director of Brookhaven National Laboratory and whose management skills and enthusiasm are well known throughout the physics community.

J. Robert Schrieffer
President, 1996


Research Publications
APS Journals: 1996 was a relatively quiet year for APS journals, excepting the increasing impact of electronic publishing. The journals experienced a year of stability, with modest and manageable growth, and with a healthy financial return of revenue over expenses. The Council mandates to limit growth, trim operating expenses, reduce subscription rate increases to libraries, and phase down page charges have all been adhered to. Many of these favorable trends can be attributed to the significant slowing down of submission increases, from an almost constant 8 or 9 percent per year in recent years to about 4 percent in 1996. The number of international submissions continues to rise dramatically, representing more than two-thirds of all submissions. For the first time, in 1996 submissions from western Europe exceeded those from the US.

Library subscriptions continued their 30-year decline at the rate of about 3 percent. So far our collective wisdom has been unable to make a dent in this unyielding statistic.

Electronic Publishing: This was a year of intense activity in electronic publishing for the APS. A critical change in production strategy occurred in April when APS successfully moved all Physical Review production into electronic production using the Xyvision composition system at AIP. A serendipitous byproduct of the Xyvision process was that all articles are now easily convertible to pdf files and, for the first time, APS became capable of delivering all of its journals electronically. Physical Review D and B Rapids were offered online through the efforts of APS Journal Information Systems staff, with PRD having the added advantages of external links to the xxx eprint server at Los Alamos and the library at SLAC. In July 1996, Physical Review C online was launched via a newly developed AIP service. This service has now grown into the AIP's Online Journal Publishing Service. All remaining APS journals are scheduled to be delivered online via the AIP service by summer 1997.

APS developed an eprint server that went online in July. In addition to providing electronic access to preprints in all fields of physics, this has allowed authors to submit papers to APS journal directly via the web. Significant progress was also made on the development of a web-based online archive for APS journals. Working in collaboration with Los Alamos and the Naval Research Laboratory, APS hopes by the end of next year to have all its articles dating back to 1985 available through hot links from current journals.

1996 also saw the first receipt of an external grant in electronic publishing. NIST is supplying the APS with $150,000 per year for two years to work closely with them and with AAS to help in the development of authoring tools and other important services for NIST scientists.

Editorial Changes: There were two major changes in editorial leadership in 1996. After nearly 22 years as editor of Reviews of Modern Physics, David Pines stepped down and was replaced in January by George Bertsch, a nuclear physicist resident at University of Washington in Seattle. As a result the RMP editorial office moved to the University of Washington campus, along with its long- term assistant editor Karie Friedman, who continues to serve very effectively as the full-time overseer of the journal. Lowell Brown retired as editor of Physical Review D at the end of 1995, and was replaced by Erick Weinberg, a particle theorist at Columbia University. In addition, an in-depth review of Physical Review C, completed in 1995, was considered by the Publication Oversight Committee in 1996, resulting in a renewal of Sam Austin as editor for another five year term.

Membership Operations
Membership: In 1996 the headquarters staff switched to a new electronic database to track membership and member journal subscriptions. The new system should aid staff in serving members more effectively and efficiently and provides greater flexibility in tracking and reporting membership trends. New members will now be able to join at any time of the year. Anniversary billing is expected to improve first-year renewal rates and should help reverse the slight downward trend in total membership of the past few years. The Committee on Membership approved a one- year waiver of membership and unit dues for unemployed members, and the free first-year offer to graduate students was offered to undergraduates as well.

This year the APS established an extensive home page on the Internet. Comprehensive information about meetings, individual units, membership, education and outreach programs, honors and awards, What's New, etc., is available to members and non-members. Certain areas such as the Membership Directory and issues of APS News are restricted to APS members. The directory is searchable by name and is updated daily.

The Society has become increasingly concerned about the significant portion of non-academic physicists who have not been well served by APS. To learn more about this community and its needs and to encourage these physicists to take part in APS activities, the Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics was formed and quickly became the most popular forum, with over 5,000 members. Other new units include the Topical Group on Gravitation, the Topical Group on Magnetism and Its Applications, and the Topical Group on Statistical and Nonlinear Physics. In addition, the Laser Science Topical Group grew large enough to become a division.

Career and Professional Development: The APS closely monitors the career and employment situations for physicists through member surveys and statistical surveys conducted by the AIP. Due to several factors, the number of permanent physics positions in such traditional areas as teaching and basic research has lagged behind the supply of physicists over the past several years. The Society has continued its efforts to inform members, and particularly student members, about diverse employment options open to physicists. Career information is available through APS News articles, brochures, and career workshops and employment services at APS meetings. CareerPlus, a special insert to the March issue of APS News, was produced to bring much of this information to members and students.

Many APS units, such as the Forum on Education, the Forum on Physics and Society, the new Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics, and several technical units have ongoing activities in the area of careers. An APS Task Force on Career and Professional Development was appointed in 1996 to advise the Society on how it can most effectively coordinate its activities and use its resources to deal with the near-term problems, as well as to develop a long-term strategy.

APS News: A regular column, Inside the Beltway, was introduced to highlight current government actions that affect science, as well as Society public and governmental education activity. The Caught in the Web column lists new postings on the rapidly expanding APS web pages. Issues with special insert pullout sections were introduced on career issues (CareerPlus) and APS electronic publication activity (APS Online and Guide to Electronic Abstract Submission). APS News was also made available to members through the APS website in html and pdf formats.

New Prizes and Awards: Several APS awards and lectureships were endowed in 1996. The Hans A. Bethe Prize, a new annual $7500 award for outstanding work in areas of nuclear physics and astrophysics, was initiated and endowed through the joint efforts of the Divisions of Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics. Keithley Instruments endowed the Joseph F. Keithley Award, a new annual $5000 award to recognize contributions to instrumentation and measurement techniques. The former Forum Award was endowed by Jean Dickey Apker and renamed the Joseph Burton Forum Award in honor of Joseph Burton, a past treasurer of the APS. Elsevier Science endowed the existing Dillon Medal for an outstanding young high polymer researcher, and finally, the APS Henry Primakoff Lectureship, intended to bring eminent speakers to an APS meeting, was established and endowed in Primakoff's memory.

Information Services: The headquarters Information Services Department was challenged during 1996 by the Society's ever-growing electronic information needs. The most significant project of the year was the replacement of our seven-year-old custom written membership system with a new package based on state-of-the-art database technology. This transition meant many long hours and much frustration for staff and, even occasionally, our members. However, APS has now started to reap some of the benefits of the new technology.

Significant effort went into enhancing the APS World Wide Web site. Members can now update their mailing address, e-mail address, or add a home page URL to their online directory listing. The capability to securely accept credit card transactions was implemented on our web site. Access to APS web information was improved for overseas members through the establishment of a mirror web server at the European Physical Society.

Enhancements were also made in support of planning for the Society's various meetings. The electronic abstract submission process was improved and now allows researchers to view abstracts in their publication format prior to final submission to APS.

Scientific Meetings
The 1996 March Meeting in St. Louis was a great success, with more than 4,600 registrants. Thirteen units participated in more than 450 sessions. The 1996 Joint APS/AAPT Meeting was held outside of Washington, DC for the first time in many years. Indianapolis turned out to be an excellent location. The sessions were well attended and the 14 APS units, the AAPT, and most of the 1300 participants were enthusiastic about the outcome.

For the last several years, the APS Meetings Department has helped the Division of Plasma Physics manage its annual meeting. From time to time, other divisions have also asked for this assistance and APS staff would like to extend this service more widely. It is, however, difficult for APS to match low costs that the divisions are used to incurring through the use of volunteer labor.

The computerization of abstract submission and the electronic production and distribution of the APS bulletins (BAPS) for meetings made major progress in 1996. Over 90 percent of the abstracts were submitted electronically.

Development Efforts
The Campaign for Physics: In addition to the establishment of funds for the awarding of APS prizes and awards and annual member voluntary contributions which have been solicited via member invoices, APS development efforts have centered around a $5 million campaign to support science education programs of the APS and the American Association for Physics Teachers. The Campaign, called the Campaign for Physics, has raised $3.9 million to date.

This Campaign benefits from outstanding corporate leadership and financial support. The Campaign's executive committee is led by William Hewlett (Co-Founder of Hewlett-Packard Company), assisted by eight other chief executives who serve as vice chairs, a 39 member Campaign Council of Nobel laureates led by Nicolaas Bloembergen, and the Individual Gifts Campaign Committee, led by John Armstrong.

Education and Outreach
Teacher/Scientist Alliance Institute (TSAI): Funded by the Campaign for Physics, the TSAI program involves scientists in the systemic reform of elementary science education. In 1996, TSAI became a major force in the country-wide effort to introduce well-tested, hands-on science activities into elementary science programs. Program components include an annual one-week workshop held in Washington, DC to develop leadership teams of scientists at targeted sites around the country and local one-day workshops for scientists who want to support hands-on science in their schools. In addition, the TSAI organized its first regional Leadership Institute for 13 New England school district teams of scientists and educators. Many of these districts are currently implementing the K-6 science reform plans developed during the Institute.

APS Minority Scholarships Program for Undergraduate Physics Majors: As one of the five initiatives of the Campaign for Physics, this APS program continued to support 21 outstanding minority undergraduate physics students in 1996. The program provides a monetary grant to the student as well as a mentor to advise on career choices, course selections, research experiences and general information on physics. In addition, a small monetary grant to the host physics department is made available for special activities.

Other Education and Outreach Programs included High School Teachers Days conducted with the cooperation and participation of APS units at the March and April meetings, as well as some divisional meetings. The Committee on Minorities (COM) and Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) both continued to provide Colloquium Speakers lists. The COM list contains the names of more than 60 minority physicists while the CSWP list contains the names of over 300 women physicists. Both committees also offer travel grants for speakers.

The CSWP/COM Roster of Women and Minorities in Physics assists institutions in finding qualified women and minority candidates for job openings. In 1996, 23 paid database searches were conducted.

The Education and Outreach Department continues to expand its online services and resources. The Women in Physics (WIPHYS) list server fosters lively discussions among its 750+ members.

APS Industrial Summer Intern Program: During 1996, 14 students were hired by industrial and applied research laboratories through this program. Due to a tremendous response from members of the new Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics, the program will be expanded to over 30 companies and labs for the summer of 1997.

International Affairs
In 1996 the APS International Affairs programs addressed a number of objectives which included establishing bi- and multi-lateral relations with the international physics community, promoting telecommunications access in the international academic/research community, and developing and monitoring response to the crisis in physics in the former Soviet Union (fSU).

The Society continues to offer a Matching Membership program, which offers APS memberships at significantly reduced dues to encourage participation in APS activities and programs by colleagues in currency-poor countries. Over 200 physicists enrolled in the program this year. Access to the APS journals is offered to institutes and universities through the Library Outreach Program. In 1996, 50 participating libraries in Russia, Ukraine, and the Baltics were joined by a dozen new subscribers in China.

In 1996 the APS participated in planning and organizing a number of international workshops and symposia. These included Advanced Networking Training Workshops for network managers, system administrators, and programmers held in Kiev, Ukraine and St. Petersburg, Russia and the University of Accra in Legon, Ghana, and an ICSU Press - UNESCO conference on electronic publishing in science in Paris. In addition, the APS continues to serve on the Physics Action Council to provide the UNESCO Director General and his staff with connections to the international physics community.

Public Affairs and Information
Public Affairs Activities: Legislative initiatives undertaken by the Office of Public Affairs include the grassroots Physics and Government Network (PGNet) as well as direct lobbying on Capitol Hill. Legislative activities that were targeted during 1996 include: preserving the helium reserves and preserving and increasing funding for the National Science Foundation; energy research in the Department of Energy; plasma science and nuclear physics. With strong recruiting efforts, the PGNet membership increased to 957 active members. APS members equipped with information packets prepared by the Public Affairs Office made visits to more than 200 elected representatives to seek support for science.

In 1996 the Office provided assistance in drafting two Council statements (one on the DOE Office of Energy Research and one on the budget for fusion energy science) and presidential letters covering such issues as copyright protection, strategic helium reserve and alternative medicine. Written congressional testimony on the NAS report Allocating Federal Funds for Science and Technology requested by the House Science Committee was submitted by J. Robert Schrieffer and D. Allan Bromley and received extensive coverage in the science press.

Public Information Activities: The Office of Public Information responds to numerous media and public inquiries ranging from simple scientific questions and requests for names of people to contact, to hour-long background discussions.

In addition, it administers the Congressional Fellows and the Media Fellows Programs. Each year a new APS Congressional Fellow is selected to work as legislative assistant in a congressional office advising the legislator on broad science policy issues. This year APS initiated the Media Fellows Program as a joint program with American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Bob Park continues to produce What's New on a regular basis. The total readership is now estimated to be well over 25,000. It is distributed directly to more than 7,000 e-mail addresses and is copied on numerous networks and bulletin boards, including the APS home page.


Fiscal Year July 1, 1995 - June 30, 1996
At the end of fiscal year 1996, the total assets of the American Physical Society had grown to a record $59.5 M, up from $52.8 M a year before [See Statements of Financial Position]. Of this amount $16.2 M were balanced by liabilities; the remainder, $43.3 M are the Net Assets of the Society. The assets have reached an unprecedented level.

The Net Assets fall into two categories: (temporarily) restricted assets - the monies intended for prizes and awards and for the programs of the Campaign for Physics; and unrestricted assets - funds that may be used for the other operations of the Society. This latter quantity has been traditionally referred to within the APS as our Reserve Fund.

The APS is now in an enviable financial position. Its Reserve Fund has met and exceeded its goal of being equal to one year's operating expenses. Reasonable returns from investments (which can and undoubtedly will be lower than the overheated profits of recent years), together with modest success in fundraising, can meet the deficits of our public affairs and outreach programs provided their growth is kept under control. What this means is that the APS journal surplus will no longer be required to bear the full burden of keeping the science and other Society programs going. [See charts: Net Revenues (expenses) and Net Revenues (expenses) of Operations.]

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Barrett H. Ripin

May 1997 (Volume 6, Number 5)

Table of Contents

APS News Archives

Contact APS News Editor

Articles in this Issue
Congressional Members Respond to Joint Society Statement
Inside the Beltway
International News
New Staff Brings Expertise to APS Meetings, Education, Outreach
White House Taps Panel of Experts on Energy R&D
Physicists to be Honored at PAC'97
APS Reaffirms 1981 Statement on Creationism
In Brief
1996 Annual Report
The Back Page