Chronicle of the APS Annual Leadership Meeting

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 L. Cifarelli    28-02-2024     Leggi in PDF

The Annual Leadership Meeting 2024 of the American Physical Society (APS) took place in-person in Washington, DC at the iconic Grand Hyatt hotel from January 23 to 26. Here follows a somehow detailed chronicle of the meeting that might bring out similarities and differences between a large organisation (of over 50 000 members) such as the APS in the US, and the much smaller SIF in Italy.

To kickoff the Meeting, the traditional Congressional Visits Day (CVD) event took place on January 23-24 and brought dozens of APS members to Capitol Hill to advocate for physics with Congress on behalf of the physics community. Annual Leadership Meeting attendees can signify their interest in participating during the registration process.

The agenda of the Meeting was very dense. In the evening of January 24, a welcome dinner gave the opportunity to about 300 participants – APS Unit Leaders, Committee Chairs, Board and Council Members, Student Ambassadors and Chapter Officers – to get together and listen to the addresses of Jonathan Bagger, APS Chief Executive Officer, Young Kee Kim, APS President, and Robert Rosner, APS Past President.

On January 25, a plenary talk by Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Marianne Craven, from the US State Department, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, opened the proceedings and provided a wide review and survey on STEM education across the US.

Next a panel discussion took place, moderated by President Young Kee Kim, on "Challenges facing International Physics Societies". The focus was on societies and communities from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile and Mexico, with their common and diverse issues. Silvina Ponce Dawson, President-Designate of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, also participated in the panel.

The afternoon was devoted to the so-called "learning workshops", with breakout groups meeting in solutions-oriented discussions on various topics:

– Engaging and serving the international community
– Building strategic coalitions to promote equity, diversity and inclusion
– Creating and delivering successful scientific meetings in the digital age
– Preparing for the International Year of Quantum Science and Technology (IYQ2025)
– Keeping an eye on ethics at APS.

A special celebratory evening followed, to honour top APS award recipients: Stuart Parkin, from the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics, Halle, Germany, Edward (Rocky) W. Kolb, from the University of Chicago, and Geoff Penington, from the University of California, Berkeley.

On January 26, first in the morning, President Young Kee Kim gave her keynote presentation. Then followed further discussion and wrap-up in breakout groups, and finally the APS Annual Business Meeting, with presentations from the APS leadership, which provided all APS members (who could attend also remotely) with an overview of Society activities and plans for the coming year, including publishing.

But let me come back to the President's keynote presentation in the morning, which allowed her to deliver insight on strategic development at APS regarding refreshed Society's mission, vision, and values in order to guide the organisation forward, to better reflect the evolving needs and aims of its members and create a culture that is inclusive, curious, collaborative, driven by innovation, and grounded in ethical and respectful conduct. Here's a brief overview:

Refreshed Vision: APS envisions a world inspired by, enriched, and sustained through a thriving physics enterprise.
Refreshed Mission: APS advances physics by fostering a vibrant, inclusive, and global community dedicated to science and society.
Refreshed Core Values: The Scientific Method; Trust, Integrity, and Ethical Conduct; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect; Collaboration; Speaking Out; Education and Learning.

Luisa Cifarelli – Emeritus Professor of experimental physics at the University of Bologna. She has carried out research in subnuclear physics and astroparticle physics at the major European laboratories. Member of the Academia Europaea and the Academy of Sciences of Bologna, honorary president of the Italian Physical Society, she has been president of the European Physical Society and of the "Enrico Fermi" Historical Museum of Physics and Research and Study Center in Italy. She is currently International Councillor of the American Physical Society.