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By the APS Office of International Affairs
APS serves a global physics community. Roughly 23% of APS members live outside of the United States in over 100 countries. Thousands of physicists from abroad attend and present at APS meetings every year, with 30% of March Meeting attendees coming from outside of the United States. The 2020 APS Virtual April Meeting attracted over 1800 international physicists, accounting for over 25% of attendees compared to an average of 6% international participation at previous APS April Meetings. Approximately 70% of articles published in APS journals are authored by scientists outside of the United States.
APS members, regardless of their nationality, have stated they value being a part of a larger physics community as the primary reason for joining APS; they view APS as a “hub” where the international physics community connects. Nonetheless, many members outside of the US have expressed their desire to be more proactively included in all APS activities—not only participation in meetings and publications in journals, but also inclusion in programs, in membership unit activities, advisory committees, and other aspects of the Society’s leadership. Some physicists have even asked “Why should I belong to the American Physical Society? What does APS do for physicists in my country?”
To address this concern, APS launched the Task Force on Expanding International Engagement in March 2017. The Task Force was charged with assessing APS stakeholder interests and identifying goals and recommendations for increasing the scope of engagement with APS members and international physicists. This effort resulted in a report, recommendations, and implementation plan to guide the Society as it aims to better serve these communities. The report recognizes that while APS has been building new programs for physicists worldwide, the Task Force recommended adding or expanding international elements of existing APS programs.
But to better serve international physicists, APS also must communicate the breadth of opportunities and services for all physicists outside of the United States. Toward this end, the Society created a tool, APS International Engagement Around the World (IEAW). This resource highlights, by country or region, the ways APS supports physicists worldwide. In doing so, the tool offers various programs, opportunities, grant applications, and other resources, tailored to individual regions or even specific countries.
The APS International Engagement Around the World (IEAW) tool displays information about the ways APS engages with international physicists with regionally specific information.
Through the IEAW tool, any physicist in any country can see how they can participate in APS and how the Society engages with their community. The opportunities and information highlighted on each page of this web tool will continue to grow and evolve across all areas of APS—from membership to programs to publications and advocacy on behalf of international physicists.
The heart of the IEAW web tool is the way it provides a chance for all physicists to participate in APS activities, connect to international offerings, and tap into the conversations and publications related to their local community. The IEAW tool highlights relevant APS News articles, stories from the APS Forum on International Physics (FIP) Newsletter, and publishing statistics from the Physical Review Journals for every country or region. Likewise, physicists can view APS membership statistics or the winners of APS Prizes and Awards in their region.
To highlight the inclusion of international voices in APS Leadership, the site displays the current International Councilors who advise the APS Council of Representatives from the perspective of members outside the United States. In short, each page is specifically tailored to highlight APS content that is of greatest interest to physicists working in that region or country.
As a few examples, African physicists can learn more about the Society’s efforts to enable connectivity and information sharing across the continent through the African Physics Newsletter. Physicists in China, looking for tips on writing articles and publishing in APS journals, can view an instructional webinar organized by APS Editorial staff and the Chinese Physical Society in both English and Mandarin. Physicists across the Middle East can access valuable training at the SESAME Light Source in Amman, Jordan through the SESAME Travel Award Program, which is supported by a partnership of 12 scientific societies in the US and Europe led by APS. Displaying programs in a space designed for a specific regional audience amplifies their visibility to the scientists that stand to benefit the most.
As APS expands its offerings and creates new opportunities, the Society hopes to grow this web tool as a valuable way to connect with and serve physicists living outside of the US. With that goal in mind, APS welcomes feedback from you regarding what programs, resources, and activities would be most useful to physicists in your region. Please contact the APS Office of International Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org to give your input on how APS can better serve your region and what you would like to see from our new tool, APS International Engagement Around the World.
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Editor: David Voss
Staff Science Writer: Leah Poffenberger
Contributing Correspondents: Sophia Chen, Alaina G. Levine
Publication Designer and Production: Nancy Bennett-Karasik