When physics matters!

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 C. Darve    30-01-2024     Leggi in PDF

Physics Matters is a live and open series of colloquia prepared by the Forum on International Physics (FIP) of the American Physical Society (APS). It is a voluntary association of APS members who are dedicated to advancing the knowledge of physics and its diffusion, by fostering cooperation and communication among physicists accross all countries in the world. The series was conceptualized and initiated by Luisa Cifarelli (then FIP Chair) during the corona pandemic period. It started as an online colloquia series for students and early career scientists in developing countries with a focus on supporting the SESAME light source in Jordan. After a series of 5 prerecorded colloquia that took place during 2020, the Physics Matters series evolved to live online scientific webinars. A colloquium lasts typically 45 minutes and is followed by a question-answers to enable the audience to interact with the distinguished speakers.

Beyond the FIP webpage and community, Physics Matters colloquia are largely advertised and circulated within physics circles and networks. Registration to Physics Matters is fully opened to everybody and from everywhere in the world. For anyone on the planet, upon registration, a zoom link is made available to attend the event. All sessions are recorded, to enhance the sustainability of the information shared. Since December 2020, more than 39 events have taken place, gathering scientists from more than 34 countries, unleashing the capacity for discovering and engaging our audience to share their insights with world renowned experts.

Although initially related to developing countries and in particular SESAME, topics extend to a wide spectrum teaching us why "Physics Matters!". They vary from popular science to education models. The typical audience is 150 registrants, but, as an example, more than 477 participants listened to Antonio Castro Neto, from the Centre for Advanced 2D Materials Institute for Functional Intelligent Materials of the National University of Singapore, speaking on "Dimensionality in materials science".

Physics Matters also addresses the human and topical aspect of diversity in the middle-east countries, as we could learn from Hafeez Hoorani from Pakistan, or from Muayad M. Abu Saa from the Arab American University in the West Bank. "More than 60% of our members in Iran are women", said Reza Ejtehadi, from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, President of the Physics Society of Iran. Quantum information and its development have been described from the Iranian and Swiss perspectives, respectively. Another popular session transported us with "the music of physics", thanks to Eilam Gross, from the Weizmann Institute in Tel Aviv, reshaping a live presentation of a "Science at the bar" event of his.

The Physics Matters series enables new collaborations and collaborative agreements. "Showing the power of neutron and photons sources applied to materials science in Sweden, we were contacted by the City University of Hong Kong", said Aleksandar Matic from Gothenburg University. Another exciting colloquium took place live from China, with He Yuan, Director of the Linac Center of the Institute of Modern Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, describing the Accelerator Driven Systems (ADS) and reconnecting in the audience with worldwide colleagues.

Thanks to our monthly live colloquia series, we are transcending geographical borders and stimulating the frontiers of knowledge for our international audience by connecting the developing communities with the developed ones: reaching and engaging with a growing international community is the Forum on International Physics mindset! So, spread the word and join us in these epic Physics Matters expeditions.


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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 Past 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.