American Physical Society

American Physical Society

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The American Physical Society is the world
World is a common name for the whole of human civilization, specifically human experience, history, or the human condition in general, worldwide, i.e. anywhere on Earth....

's second largest organization of physicists, behind the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
The Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft is the world's largest organization of physicists. The DPG's worldwide membership is cited as 60,000, as of 2011...

. The Society publishes more than a dozen
A dozen is a grouping of approximately twelve. The dozen may be one of the earliest primitive groupings, perhaps because there are approximately a dozen cycles of the moon or months in a cycle of the sun or year...

 scientific journal
Scientific journal
In academic publishing, a scientific journal is a periodical publication intended to further the progress of science, usually by reporting new research. There are thousands of scientific journals in publication, and many more have been published at various points in the past...

s, including the world renowned Physical Review
Physical Review
Physical Review is an American scientific journal founded in 1893 by Edward Nichols. It publishes original research and scientific and literature reviews on all aspects of physics. It is published by the American Physical Society. The journal is in its third series, and is split in several...

 and Physical Review Letters
Physical Review Letters
Physical Review Letters , established in 1958, is a peer reviewed, scientific journal that is published 52 times per year by the American Physical Society...

, and organizes more than 20 science meetings each year. It is also a member society of the American Institute of Physics
American Institute of Physics
The American Institute of Physics promotes science, the profession of physics, publishes physics journals, and produces publications for scientific and engineering societies. The AIP is made up of various member societies...


Brief history

The American Physical Society was founded on May 20, 1899, when thirty-six physicists gathered at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 for that purpose. They proclaimed the mission of the new Society to be "to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics", and in one way or another the APS has been at that task ever since. In the early years, virtually the sole activity of the APS was to hold scientific meetings, initially four per year. In 1913, the APS took over the operation of the Physical Review
Physical Review
Physical Review is an American scientific journal founded in 1893 by Edward Nichols. It publishes original research and scientific and literature reviews on all aspects of physics. It is published by the American Physical Society. The journal is in its third series, and is split in several...

which had been founded in 1893 at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

, and journal
Academic journal
An academic journal is a peer-reviewed periodical in which scholarship relating to a particular academic discipline is published. Academic journals serve as forums for the introduction and presentation for scrutiny of new research, and the critique of existing research...

 publication became its second major activity. The Physical Review was followed by Reviews of Modern Physics
Reviews of Modern Physics
The Reviews of Modern Physics is a journal of the American Physical Society. The journal started in paper form. All volumes are also online by subscription.Issue 1, Volume 1 consisted of the review by...

in 1929 and by Physical Review Letters
Physical Review Letters
Physical Review Letters , established in 1958, is a peer reviewed, scientific journal that is published 52 times per year by the American Physical Society...

in 1958. Over the years, Phys. Rev. has subdivided into five separate sections as the fields of physics proliferated and the number of submissions grew.

In more recent years, the activities of the Society have broadened considerably. Stimulated by the increase in Federal funding in the period after the Second World War, and even more by the increased public involvement of scientists in the 1960s, the APS is active in public
In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individuals, and the public is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociological concept of the Öffentlichkeit or public sphere. The concept of a public has also been defined in political science,...

 and governmental affairs, and in the international physics community. In addition, the Society conducts extensive programs in education, science outreach
Science outreach
Science outreach, also called Education and Public Outreach or simply Public outreach, is an umbrella term for a variety of activities by research institutes, universities, and institutions such as science museums, aimed at promoting public awareness of science and making informal contributions...

, and media relations. APS has 14 divisions and 11 topical groups covering all areas of physics research. There are 6 forums that reflect the interest of its 47,000 members in broader issues, and 9 sections organized by geographical region.

In 1999, APS Physics celebrated its Centennial with the biggest-ever physics meeting in Atlanta. In 2005, APS took the lead role in United States participation in the World Year of Physics, initiating several programs to broadly publicize physics during the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

's annus mirabilis
Annus mirabilis
Annus mirabilis is a Latin phrase meaning "wonderful year" or "year of wonders" . It was used originally to refer to the year 1666, but is today also used to refer to different years with events of major importance...

. Einstein@Home
Einstein@Home is a volunteer distributed computing project hosted by the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics . The project is directed by Bruce Allen...

, one of the projects APS initiated during World Year of Physics, is an ongoing and popular distributed computing
Distributed computing
Distributed computing is a field of computer science that studies distributed systems. A distributed system consists of multiple autonomous computers that communicate through a computer network. The computers interact with each other in order to achieve a common goal...



DCOMP is the Division of Computational Physics
Computational physics
Computational physics is the study and implementation of numerical algorithms to solve problems in physics for which a quantitative theory already exists...

 of the American Physical Society. The division has more than 2000 members and the objective of the division is the advancement and dissemination of knowledge regarding the use of computers in physics research and education. This includes, among other areas, their application to experiments, theory, and education as well as the application of physics to the development of computer technology. The Division provides to its members an opportunity for coordination and a forum for discussion and communication. In addition, the Division promotes research and development in computational physics; enhances prestige and professional standing of its members; encourages scholarly publication; and promotes international cooperation in these activities.

Name change proposal

During Summer 2005, the society conducted an electronic poll, in which the majority of APS members preferred the name American Physics Society. The became the motivation for a proposal of a name change promised in the leadership election that year. However, because of legal issues, the planned name change was eventually abandoned by the APS Executive Board.

To promote public recognition of APS as a physics society, while retaining the name American Physical Society, the APS Executive Board adopted a new logo incorporating the phrase "APS Physics." General use of APS Physics to refer to APS or the American Physical Society is encouraged. The new APS Physics logo was designed by Kerry G. Johnson
Kerry G. Johnson
Kerry G. Johnson is an African-American graphic designer, caricaturist and humorous illustrator.He was born in Nashville, Tennessee on September 30, 1966...


Marvin Cohen, LBNL Faculty Senior Scientist, University Professor of Physics, University of California, Berkeley, who was APS President in November 2005, when the logo was approved by the Executive Board, said, "I like the logo. At least now when you are in an elevator at an APS meeting and someone looks at your badge, they won't ask you about sports."

APS career center

The APS Careers in Physics website is a gateway for physicists, students, and physics enthusiasts to obtain information about physics jobs and careers. APS Careers in Physics has an award winning job board, offers professional development advice through its website and blog, and provides links to workshops, grants, and career resources.

Lilienfeld Prize

APS has awarded the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize annually since 1989, excepting 2002. The purpose of the prize is to recognize outstanding contributions to physics. Among the recipients are Michael Berry, Alan Guth
Alan Guth
Alan Harvey Guth is an American theoretical physicist and cosmologist. Guth has researched elementary particle theory...

, Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking
Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity...

, Frank Wilczek
Frank Wilczek
Frank Anthony Wilczek is a theoretical physicist from the United States and a Nobel laureate. He is currently the Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ....


American Physical Society Maria Goeppert Mayer Award

The Maria Goeppert Mayer Award recognizes and enhances outstanding achievements by women physicists in the early years of their careers and provides opportunities for them to present these achievements to others through public lectures.

J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics

The J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics
Sakurai Prize
The J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics, is presented by the American Physical Society at its annual "April Meeting", and honors outstanding achievement in particle physics theory...

 is presented by the American Physical Society at its annual April Meeting, and honors outstanding achievement in particle physics theory. The prize, considered one of the most prestigious in physics, consists of a monetary award, a certificate citing the contributions recognized by the award, and a travel allowance for the recipient to attend the presentation. The award is endowed by the family and friends of particle physicist J. J. Sakurai
J. J. Sakurai
was a Japanese-American particle physicist and theorist. He authored the popular graduate text Modern Quantum Mechanics and other texts such as Invariance Principles and Elementary Particles and Advanced Quantum Mechanics ....

. The prize has been awarded annually since 1985.

Statement on global warming

In 2007, APS adopted an official statement on global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 as well as methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

, nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas or sweet air, is a chemical compound with the formula . It is an oxide of nitrogen. At room temperature, it is a colorless non-flammable gas, with a slightly sweet odor and taste. It is used in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic...

 and other gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes.

The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.

Because the complexity of the climate makes accurate prediction difficult, the APS urges an enhanced effort to understand the effects of human activity on the Earth’s climate, and to provide the technological options for meeting the climate challenge in the near and longer terms. The APS also urges governments, universities, national laboratories and its membership to support policies and actions that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

See also

  • Fluid Dynamics Prize
  • Otto Laporte Award
    Otto Laporte Award
    The Otto Laporte Award was an annual award by the American Physical Society to "recognize outstanding contributions to fluid dynamics" and to honour Otto Laporte . It was established as the Otto Laporte Memorial Lectureship by the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics in 1972, and became an APS award in...

  • Aneesur Rahman Prize
  • Max Delbruck Prize
    Max Delbruck Prize
    The Max Delbruck Prize, formerly known as the Biological physics prize, is awarded by the Division of Biological Physics of the American Physical Society, to recognize and encourage outstanding achievement in biological physics research. The prize was established in 1981, and renamed for Max...

    , formally the biological physics prize
  • David Adler Lectureship Award in the Field of Materials Physics
    David Adler Lectureship Award in the Field of Materials Physics
    The David Adler Lectureship Award in the Field of Materials Physics is a prize that has been awarded annually by the American Physical Society since 1988...

  • REVTeX
    REVTeX is a collection of LaTeX macros which is maintained anddistributed by the American Physical Society with auxiliary files and a user support guide, as part of a “REVTeX toolbox.” REVTeX is popular among scientists who submit papers to journals published by the American Physical Society , the...

    - LaTeX style package for APS journals

External links