Happy New Year, staff, friends, and colleagues of AIP! I hope that you are as excited as I am to begin this New Year, which is full of promise and possibility. My plans for 2016 are ambitious, and we are fortunate to have such a capable and enthusiastic team—the entire staff and volunteer leadership of AIP—to help move AIP in new directions. My two main focuses for 2016 will be strategy and strengthened support for AIP’s Member Societies, both of which will drive future growth and creation of new products. Last year we helped lay the foundation for repositioning AIP, with strong board engagement and a new structure that underscores new emphases of digital innovation and delivering value to our Member Societies.
The mission of AIP—(briefly) advancing the physical sciences for the benefit of humanity—is largely carried out by AIP’s program divisions, and we have many successes to share for 2015.
The AIP Statistical Research Center (SRC) published the initial report from its study of PhD physicists 10–15 years after graduation. “Common Careers of Physicists in the Private Sector” examines eight broad career types for mid-career physicists. In another first-of-its kind report, SRC showed that, despite an overall increase in the number of bachelor’s degrees earned, African Americans are still underrepresented in physical science and engineering disciplines. Clearly, our community has a long way to go. For 2016, SRC plans to publish additional reports from the PhD+10-15 study. These reports will examine the breadth of employment in academia and take a closer look at women’s mid-career experiences. SRC also will launch the first-ever systematic survey of the career and educational histories of physics faculty members.
Career Network’s (CN’s) monthly average number of jobs posted rose to 350, an increase of nearly 15% over the previous year. CN also hosted four successful career development webinars for job seekers, with essential topics such as interviewing and how to participate in a scientific conference.
The Washington Post published its first-ever Inside Science pieces in 2015, an article by Joel Shurkin on the marching dynamics of ants and an article by Peter Gwynne on the physics of golf. The pieces appeared both online and in the print editions of the newspaper, in the Health & Science section, which has a circulation of between 400k-500k copies each week. An Inside Science TV video explored the question of what Earth would be like without the moon. The Huffington Post highlighted the story “What Would Happen If There Were No Moon?” and embedded our YouTube video. It has received over 124,000 views so far, making it the most viewed Inside Science TV video on YouTube to date! We thank Rick Fienberg of AAS, who helped us to fact-check the script for the video.
Our news team brought science from AIP Publishing’s scholarly journals and from the meetings of ASA, APS, OSA, AVS, SOR, ACA, and the Biophysical Society to the public and audiences around the world. The group has put more emphasis on infographics and video in the last year.
The Society of Physics Students initiated a new membership program, “SPS Opens Doors,” in the fall—this (successful) print and electronic campaign was aimed at bringing its membership numbers, which had fallen in recent months, back up. Coinciding with this rise was the continued growth of its joint Member Society membership program, which introduces its undergraduate student members into professional scientific societies within the AIP federation. New scholarships were introduced under three separate emphases: underrepresented minority, need-based, and academic excellence. In 2016 SPS will launch a mentor network, which should be fully operational in time for the Quadrennial Sigma Pi Sigma Congress in November.
GradSchoolShopper exhibited at a number of Member Society meetings for the first time to promote awareness. Student and department surveys conducted in 2015 will help us better address our audiences’ needs in the coming year.
The Niels Bohr Library & Archives launched a new digital repository to make its unique collections of books, manuscripts, and archival collections more accessible to users. The repository includes the Samuel Goudsmit papers, special collections of books, and manuscript biographies. More resources will be added to this collection throughout 2016. Library staff has also been working to update the Center for History of Physics’ (CHP) Array of Contemporary American Physicists. Information on over 800 US physical scientists is being migrated into a new XML-based archival standard to give researchers more flexibility than ever before. The project should be finalized by mid-2016. This year, we will also be rolling out archives portals for each of the Member Societies to improve discoverability of their holdings. CHP continues to expand its Teachers Guides and organize oral histories.
AIP's Government Relations staff wrote a letter on behalf of the Physical Sciences Education Policy Coalition (APS, AIP, AAS, AAPT, and OSA), to voice support of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which President Obama signed into law in early December. The FYI bulletin of science policy news put out 159 issues in 2015 and began to cover climate science. We have plans to expand FYI in the coming year, to encompass quarterly reports for the Member Societies that synthesize and interpret the major science policy developments, debates, and outcomes over the last quarter. FYI will also begin to promote career and educational opportunities for physical scientists in federal science policy. The service is aimed at informing Member Society members of their many opportunities to engage in policy issues or open up their careers in policy directions.
Physics Today (PT) welcomed a new editor-in-chief and saw its Facebook “likes” climb to 2.68 million! As you see in the story below, PT begins the New Year sporting a new look. Industrial Outreach put on events at meetings of the AVS and SOR, the former an Industrial Physics Forum on mesoscale science and the latter a careers panel and reception. Also, this week AIP and AAS are teaming to hold a special session on careers at the 227th AAS Annual Meeting.
Several of the AIP Member and Affiliated Societies—with OSA, APS, and SPIE playing significant roles—rallied to celebrate the International Year of Light, raising awareness of light-based technologies that have “revolutionized medicine, opened up international communication via the Internet, and continued to be central to linking cultural, economic, and political aspects of the global society” (IYL website). Closing ceremonies will be held in Mexico in early February.
In 2016, we join OSA in celebrating its centenary. OSA members and colleagues are invited to help write OSA’S 100th anniversary story; click the link above.
As you can see, we’ve all had a very busy and exciting year. With this to build upon, opportunities abound in 2016!