Physics Announcements: New Forum, Undergraduate Research Session

I was at a meeting of the Committee on Informing the Public of the American Physical Society at the tail end of last week, so it seems appropriate to post a couple of APS-related announcements here on my return:

1) The APS has just created a Forum on Outreach and Engaging the Public. You may have read about this in the monthly APS News, but in case you missed it, there is a new organization with APS to bring people interested in outreach together:

“The forum provides a venue for people to congregate, provide best practice manuals…and disseminate things that work so people don’t have to repeat the mistakes that other people have made,” said CIP committee chair Dan Dahlberg of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, “The need for physics to be more visible is important. The visibility has impact on funding and just the general need to educate the public on science.”

Other members of the forum’s organizing committee have also said that they hope the forum will focus on disseminating materials on traditional outreach efforts such as physics demonstrations, lectures, and working with schools. However they say it will also incorporate newer techniques such as working with new media such as blogs, twitter and social network sites as well as interacting with lawmakers, authors, museums, television and movie producers and even getting the public involved with citizen science.

If you are a member of APS, you get to join two Forums for free, so if you’re interested in this sort of thing, you can contact the membership office and add the new Forum. And as a special introductory offer, even if you already belong to two Forums, you can join the new FOEP for free this year (though you need to call Membership directly for that– if you join via the website, you’ll be charged the standard Forum membership fee, which is something like $8).

2) If you do research in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical physics with undergraduate students, DAMOP has a special session for undergrad students:

CALL FOR PAPERS: Special Undergraduate Session at DAMOP 2011
DO NOT submit the abstract directly to the APS web site above. DEADLINE: Friday, January 28, 2011 Undergraduate students who wish to apply should send an email to Barry Walker ( The body of that email should include the following: (1) title, (2) authors and affiliations, and (3) a one-page summary written by the student describing the project and his/her contribution. IN ADDITION, the student should ATTACH to their email an ABSTRACT in the proper APS format. FINALLY the student.s sponsor (mentor) should submit a separate letter of recommendation to the email address above. All application materials must be received no later than Friday, January 28, 2011.

For those students selected to participate in this special session, the Committee will submit the abstracts directly to DAMOP. The abstracts must conform to APS style and length formats for a contributed paper. To check compliance go to, select Start Abstract Submission, designate Test Web Abstract, provide the information requested, and paste the text of the abstract into the indicated box. This will display the abstract as it will appear in the program and will also show any formatting problems. Please DO NOT submit the abstract directly to DAMOP. Any questions regarding applications to the DAMOP special undergraduate session should be addressed to: Barry Walker ( Chair DAMOP Education Committee

Students selected for the session (approximately 5) receive travel support to go to the meeting, get to give longer talks (typically 20 minutes rather than 12), and at least the year one of my students was picked, they got a nice plaque with their name on it. The deadline is Jan 28, while the regular abstract deadline is one week later, on Feb. 4, and the education committee traditionally turns these around fast enough that a student who isn’t selected for the special session still has time to submit an abstract for a regular contributed talk or poster (which also qualify for some travel support, though less of it).

So, if you’re a physicist working in the AMO field, and have an exceptional undergraduate working with you, please consider having them apply for this special session. It’s a great experience for the students, and an excellent way to celebrate their accomplishments.

2 thoughts on “Physics Announcements: New Forum, Undergraduate Research Session

  1. Scientists definitely need to work on outreach and organized venues and efforts help. These days they have to (sadly) deal with a graver problem than just an uninformed public – they must deal with public hostility generated in part by political manipulation, such as skepticism of human-caused global warming. I hope for the best with this APS effort.

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