An epic journey across the quantum landscape to the APS March Meeting

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 C. Darve    04-04-2023     Leggi in PDF

"Tell me, Muse, of the man of many ways, who was driven far journeys, after he had sacked Troy's secret citadel".

How could we re-imagine Odysseus, and Troy's citadel in our modern era? Las Vegas, the site of the APS 2023 March meeting has witnessed an epic journey too! Between Paris and Nablus, Venice and Jerusalem, "Caesar's Forum" has welcomed 12,000 brilliant minds of the quantum metamorphosis, all sharing a common interest and passion for physics.

The Forum on International Physics (FIP) invited distinguished students and senior scientists from around the world to present their insights to a vibrant audience attending sessions at the 2023 APS March Meeting in Las Vegas, USA. To begin the journey and to recognize the continuing celebration of The International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD 2022), FIP – in collaboration with the APS Division on Condensed Matter Physics (DCMP) – shined a spotlight on the 100-year anniversary of IUPAP. This special session was co-chaired by Frances Hellman and its speakers included two current recipients of prestigious APS awards, and two recent APS Presidents.

From left to right: Eliezer Rabinovici, Robert Kirshner, Sekazi Mtingwa, Laura Greene, Jennifer Dailey and Christine Darve (Picture credit: J. Niemela)

Following on this, and coincident with the International Day of Women, a joint collaboration between FIP and the Forum on Physics and Society (FPS) and Earlier Career Physicists (FECS) focused on how large-scale scientific facilities and diplomacy can support future talents and discoveries. That exciting journey began in Tallahassee, Florida with a turn through the truly impressive contributions of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (Mag-Lab), before steering through the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), and two accelerator projects: LHC@CERN and SESAME, the latter as a source of light in the Middle East (in all senses), and finally speeding on to the African Light Source and its bright future. A similar journey across continents also permitted the APS audience to hear the international perspectives of young talented physicists, including experiences in South America and China, and then Europe – presented with an inspiring Palestinian perspective – and finishing with the vision for an African strategy for fundamental and applied physics.

FIP's outstanding international speakers were impressive but we were also pleased to include both Israeli and Palestinian scientists together, providing the kind of unification that follows so easily from scientific voyages even if it consistently encounters roadblocks on the political highways. The precursor to many of the FIP sessions was its continuing online seminar series, Physics Matters, born in the early days of the pandemic with the inspiration of our 2020 Chair and former SIF President, Luisa Cifarelli. After such a long time we were able to get together at an in-person reception to honor our distinguished students and awardees and simply enjoy meeting our colleagues in the global community and welcomed by APS.

The epic APS March Meeting journey has now reached its final destination on a virtual platform. The APS satellite meeting in Jordan, organized by SESAME, has connected yet more physicists including eight full-hearted women invited to share their personnel journeys to conclude this grand scientific expedition!

Christine Darve – Engineering scientist at the European Spallation Source, Sweden, she obtained her PhD from Northwestern University and worked at CERN and Fermilab. She is Chair of the Forum on International Physics (FIP) of the American Physical Society (APS), co-founder of the Nordic Particle Accelerator Program (NPAP) and the African School of Fundamental Physics and Applications (ASP). She received an APS Fellowship in 2016.