News Bulletin: Fall 2000

Working Groups on Communications in Physics

In March of 1998, a small working group was established to assist the IUPAP Council in following the developments in the field of electronic communications in physics and to provide guidance with regard to possible initiatives that the Union should take in this area. The Working Group presented an oral interim report to the IUPAP Council in Atlanta in 1999 and has submitted a written report for consideration of the Council at its October 2000 meeting.

The report focuses on six subject areas, excerpts follow:

1. Linking and mirroring for publications of different societies and publishers

Inter-journal linking is now underway for many publishers. Important databases have already been established by commercial and society journal publishers. Yet physicists still encounter difficulty in accessing information that is published in more specialized journals, or published in countries other than the US or one of the actively publishing countries of Western Europe.

Since the linking problems mainly concern non-technical issues such as commercial return for investment, copyright, licensing, etc., the working group believes that many could be solved, or at least alleviated. It proposes that IUPAP convene a meeting of publishers and physics societies to discuss the establishment of links between the publications of different societies and publishers. This meeting should result in an ongoing discussion under the aegis of IUPAP through a series of small meetings where players can talk freely about well defined issues.

2. International internet availability and reliability for scientific publications

There has been a growing disparity in the networking facilities enjoyed by physicists in the US and elsewhere. In the US congestion resulting from the privatization of the Internet in 1995 deprived the research community of much needed network resources, but as a result the major research universities set up Internet2 specifically for researchers. In addition, the US Government is developing the Next Generation Internet with network connections from 10 to 100 times faster than currently available. The funding authorities in other countries seem to be taking the opposite approach. They are also making the networks available to vocational training institutions and schools whose multimedia connectivity requirements can have a detrimental effect on research networks. Since there is a growing consensus of the importance of good computer networking for the scientific community, the Working Group recommends that IUPAP strongly welcome improved international collaboration between research and education networking associations in different regions and urges that IUPAP make a public statement that a greater degree of cooperation between regional areas would be beneficial to all.

It further recommends that IUPAP should press for the provision of protected bandwidth for the research community by separating it from the mass media.

3. Availability of publications in (electronically) remote areas

The problem of connectivity in developing countries is quite serious. IUPAP can help by encouraging a greater local recognition of the importance of communication facilities but the solution to the problem must come from the countries themselves. The Working Group recommends that IUPAP, with the help of others, sponsor an effort to monitor the Internet connections of those countries in the developing world which request them. IUPAP should also recruit others in the developed world and international organizations such as the UN and UNESCO to act together to provide international connectivity free of charge for the small number of institutions from developing countries that request connections to the Internet.

4. International intellectual property questions

With the advent of electronic communications, issues dealing with copyrights and related rights have become much more difficult. International organizations have addressed the subject of copyright of intellectual work of an electronic nature for over 20 years, with the aim that reproduction rights granted by national laws and international conventions should extend to electronic storage and retrieval of protected works. In an attempt to protect intellectual property in the face of growing use of electronic communications, legislators are inclined to forget that the free flow of information among scholars is vital for international collaboration and the advancement of science. Legislation is being introduced that shifts the traditional balance to one in favor of the interests of commercial holders of intellectual rights at the expense of the research community.

The Working Group recommends that IUPAP work to maintain scientific and educational "fair use" exceptions to copyright laws in order to safeguard the free flow of information. It should also work with others to alleviate the serious problems in accessing scientific literature in the developing world by encouraging physical societies and publishers to provide CD-ROM or on-line versions of their journals at very low or zero cost. The Working Group recommends that IUPAP seek to influence publishers world-wide to encourage the free flow of information for the purposes of personal study of scientists and for research.

5. Long term archiving and availability of electronic publications

Assuring the long term availability and readability of scholarly or otherwise significant electronic materials can be an overwhelming problem when many different media formats make up a collection. In 1996, the Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information recommended a system of independent certification of archival repositories, which would be empowered to exercise an aggressive rescue funtion to save culturally significant digital material if the possessor of the information fails to do so. This system could be adopted by the physics community.

The Task Force recommends the IUPAP convene a meeting of society and selected commercial publishers and librarians to discuss issues such as commitment to maintaining the readability of their electronic archives, the future viability of reference links, and the establishment of backup mirrors at institutions which would update the archives in the event that publishers fail to do so.

6. Peer review and e-print archives

Currently pre-print archives are used by authors to submit manuscripts, by referees to access them, and others. In most cases the texts remain accessible in the archives after publication of a manuscript. Although proposals have been made that any reader who wishes to do so may referee a manuscript "spontaneously" by attaching comments, most physicists agree that the traditional refereeing process should not change drastically.

The Working Group recommends that IUPAP encourage experiments in the publication of purely electronic journals, not only to reduce costs to academic institutions, but because of improved services to the physics community. It also recommends that IUPAP strongly urge the maintenance of high quality peer review systems in primary publication regardless of the medium employed.

Working Group on Women In Physics

Formed by a resolution of the 1999 General Assembly, the Working Group on Women in Physics held its first meeting in June at IUPAP Headquarters in College Park, Maryland (USA).

In keeping with its mandate to survey the situation for women in physics and suggest ways to improve it, the Working Group reported on the status of women in physics in 19 countries. These reports highlighted the complexity of the problem and the difficulty in obtaining comparable data from countries with quite different cultures and different terminologies.

For several countries, such as Hungary and the Slovak Republic, it was difficult to get any information; for others, such as Israel and Switzerland, exact statistics were not available, but the situation was clearly deplorable.

In most countries, the percentage of women in physics decreases markedly with each step up the academic ladder and with each promotion into higher level positions.

Even in countries like Poland, where close to 50% of the work force is female, the number of women in high level positions in industry, education, and national committees is very low. In Germany and Italy, as throughout the European Union, there remain remarkably few women in top jobs despite their increasing participation in doctoral and postdoctoral studies.

In China, about 9% of the full professors are women, as is true for almost all the sciences. Salary levels are the same for men and women, and women are viewed as equal to men in the cities, although not in the rural areas. An issue of particular concern is that the number of women taking physics courses and receiving degrees is decreasing, possibly due to competition from higher paying jobs in other fields in industry.

The situation in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic is changing rapidly with apparent increasing percentages of women.

Despite cultural differences, the overall situation for women in physics in India, Egypt, Brazil, Latin America, Uruguay, Bolivia and Argentina is much the same. Fewer women than men are receiving degrees in physics, and the percentage of women in physics decreases in higher level positions.

In the United States, the percentage of physics bachelor's degrees awarded to women has more than doubled in the past 25 years, and the percentage of physics Ph.D.s awarded to women has increased more than fourfold. Although this sounds remarkable, the percentages are still very low: In 1998, just 19% of physics bachelor's degrees, 20% of physics master's degrees and 13% of physics Ph.D.s were awarded to women as compared with 25% of Ph.D.s in mathematics, 30% in chemistry, and 45% in the life sciences. There is no convincing explanation of why the rate of change in physics is so much lower than in other fields. The percentage of women faculty members at each rank is as high as the percentage of women earning PhDs at relevant times in the past. Salaries for men and women are much the same, except in industry where they are slightly higher for men. The situation is much the same in Canada.

Suggested barriers to women's participation in physics include subtle discrimination, blatant preferential treatment of men, lack of role models and mentors, higher paying jobs in other fields, uninspired teaching, the perception of scientists as antisocial nerds, and financial constraints that favor the status quo.

To highlight the underrepresentation of women in physics and to recommend strategies for removing the barriers they face, the Working Group decided to sponsor an International Conference on Women in Physics in March of 2002. Strategies were developed for obtaining comparable data from 10 countries on relative numbers of women awarded first and higher level degrees and on the ratio of men to women in upper management positions in the top research institutes and funding agencies.

The Working Group is scheduled to hold its second meeting on 9-10 February 2001 in Geneva.

Working Group on Facilities for Condensed Matter Physics (WGFCMP)

The Working Group on Facilities for Condensed Matter Physics was formed initially by a resolution of the IUPAP Council and Commission Chairs in September 1998. It was re-established with a broader scope at their 1999 meeting.

The first task of the WGFCMP will be to appoint an International Committee on the Future of Neutron Sources (ICFNS). It's membership will include members of IUPAP Commissions plus representatives from regional user groups, appropriate labs, developing countries, and other involved organizations. The first meeting of the ICFNS will be held in Japan on November 3-4, 2000. In addition to the representatives from the WGFCMP, representatives from the users' community and from existing Large Facilities are expected to attend. Dr. Hiroshi, Yasuoka, the meeting organizer, hopes to stimulate intense discussion and to prepare a report.

Items to be accomplished and topics for discussion at the November meeting include:

  1. To constitute formally the ICFNS.
  2. To get an overview of existing, disappearing, and planned neutron sources and experimental facilities.
  3. To make recommendations for new and for upgrading existing neutron sources.
  4. To prepare a scientific overview of the research problems to be solved by neutrons.
  5. To prepare a statement for those outside of the condensed matter physics community identifying future trends of the neutron facilities and sciences and advising joint studies and uses.

Since the meeting is still in the planning stages, Dr. Yasuoka welcomes your suggestions. Please address all correspondence to

Particle And Nuclear Astrophysics and Gravitation International Committee

In 1998 IUPAP decided to create a new Committee, now a Working Group, called PaNAGIC (Particle and Nuclear Astro Physics and Gravitation International Committee) "to support international exchange of ideas and help in the convergence of the international scientific community in the large scale activity in the emerging field of particle and nuclear astrophysics, gravitation and cosmology."

Two sub-panels help PaNAGIC in two specific sub-fields: GWIC (Gravitational Waves International Committee) for Gravitational Waves and HENAP (High Energy Neutrino Panel) for High Energy Neutrino Observatories. Please look at the WEB site for information on the activity of the Working Group.

IUPAP-Sponsored Conferences

One of the aims as stated in the IUPAP Statutes is "to sponsor suitable international meetings, and to assist organizing committees". At the October 1999 meeting in Geneva, the IUPAP Council approved support and/or sponsorship for twenty-eight conferences for the year 2000. Information about these conferences (or how to apply for sponsorship for future conferences) can be found on the IUPAP website.

Brief reports are available for the following conferences:

International Conference on Magnetism 2000 (ICM2000)

The International Conference on Magnetism 2000 (ICM2000) took place in early August in Recife located on the northeastern coast of Brazil. As in recent ICMs, the Conference also incorporated the Symposium on Strongly Correlated Electron Systems. It was the largest IUPAP sponsored conference ever held in Brazil. It attracted over 850 participants from 44 countries who were impressed by the warm reception by airport and hotel employees, the flawless organization of the conference, and the quality of the scientific program. Professor Sergio Rezende, the organizer of ICM2000, reported that a total of 1274 abstracts were submitted, representing research work done in 58 countries. The final program contained 54 invited papers, 168 presentations and 899 posters.

During the opening ceremony, the Magnetism Award was presented to Dr. Frank Steglich, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, for the discovery of superconductivity in heavy fermion systems. Twenty-four awards were given to the authors of the "best posters" in each session. At the closing ceremony, Professor Hiroshi Yasuoka, Chair of the IUPAP Commission on Magnetism (C9), announced that the next International Conference on Magnetism (ICM2003) will be held in Rome, Italy. ICM2006 will be held in Kyoto, Japan. Participants at the meetings agreed that ICM2000 will greatly contribute to enhance the scientific interaction with Latin America.

The Proceedings of ICM2000 will be published in Elsevier's Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials early next year.

International Symposium on Symmetries in Subatomic Physics

The 3rd International Symposium on Symmetries in Subatomic Physics (Symm2000), sponsored by the Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter (CSSM) of the University of Adelaide, the National Institute for Theoretical Physics, and IUPAP, was held at the Adelaide, Australia in March

The study of the symmetry principles which governs the Universe is fundamental to modern subatomic physics. Quantum field theories are built around these symmetries and while their occasional violation not only surprises or delights, it can also offer deep insight into the dynamics of complicated systems. Symm2000 brought together practitioners of the improbable and unlikely from around the world to report on recent results and future plans. The participants were priviledged to hear the latest theoretical and experimental developments in the field--from neutrino oscillations to B-factories, from beta decay to colliders to masers.

The 4th International Conference on Symmetries in Subatomic Physics will be held in Heidelberg, Germany in 2003. The conference organizer will be Dr. Klaus Jungman. Additional information will be posted on the IUPAP website as it becomes available.

The proceedings of Symm2000 are in press at the American Institute of Physics.

The Ninth Marcel Grossman Meeting (MG9 - MM)

The Ninth Marcel Grossman Meeting (MG9-MM), sponsored by EEC, ICRA, ICTP, IUPAP, and NSF, was held at the University of Rome "La Sapienza", the largest center of learning in the Mediterranean. The meeting attracted more than 990 scientists from 63 countries including young scientists from Eastern Europe, Asia, and many developing countries.

Marcel Grossman Meetings are organized to provide opportunities for discussing recent advances in relativistic astrophysics, gravitation, general relativity and relativistic field theories emphasizing mathematical foundations, physical predictions, and experimental and observational tests. The object of the meetings is to elicit exchange among scientists that may deepen our understanding of spacetime structures as well as to review the status of ongoing experiments aimed at testing Einstein's theory of gravitation from the ground, from underground, or from space. To that end, thirty plenary lectures were presented by leading world experts ranging from the fundamental aspects of General Relativity, to String Theories, to Chaos, Neutrino Astrophysics and Cosmology, etc. (See ram/htm). In addition, the scientific program included 95 parallel sessions on the most recent developments.

The proceedings will be jointly published in paper form by World Scientific in Singapore and in electronic form by ICRA (

Conference on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements, CPEM 2000

The biennial Conference on Precision Electromagentic Measurements (CPEM) sponsored by the IUPAP Commission (C2) SUNAMCO was held in Sydney, Australia in May. It was only the second time that the conference was held outside of North America and Europe, reflecting the growing importance of the Asia Pacific region in world metrology. A total of 435 delegates attended from 43 countries.

Seven plenary speakers discussed the basic advances in physics, metrology in astronomy, and developments in national standards and international comparisons. The plenary speakers were Dr. Michel Pepper (University of Cambridge, UK), Professor Ron Ekers (Australia Telescope National Facility, CISRO), Dr. Barry Tayler (National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST],USA), Dr. Clark Hamilton (NIST, USA), Dr. Robert Hebner (University of Texas, USA), Dr. Ernst Göbel (Physikalische Technische Bundesanstalt [PTB], Germany), and Dr. Terry Quinn (Director of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures [BIPM], France). In addition, three-hundred-twenty-nine technical papers (about two-thirds as poster sessions) were presented covering research developments in the traditional areas of metrology and advances in other areas such as quantum effect devices, automated instrumentation, calibration systems, etc.

The international electrical metrology community honored Ian Harvey at the conference dinner for his pioneering work in conceiving and developing the Cryogenic Current Comparator (CCC). The CCC is now widely used in resistance measurement and in development work on Single Electron Tunnelling. A medal was presented to Mr. Harvey by Dr. Norman Belecki, Chairman of the CPEM Executive Committee.

The next CPEM will be held in Ottawa, Canada from 16-21, June 2002. For further information, please contact the CPEM 2002 secretariat at

30th International Conference on High Energy Physics

The 30th International Conference on High Energy Physics was held in Osaka, Japan in late July. Approximately 950 participants attended the conference. The scientific program included 300 papers and 28 plenary talks in particle physics and its neighboring fields--nuclear physics and astrophysics. Attendants enjoyed social programs ranging from traditional Japanese performing arts, "Bunraku" puppet show and "Shinobue", a Japanese Flute and Guitar, played by nation's top artists to hearty handmade events helped by many local volunteers.

The scientific program highlighted two big projects started since the last meeting. One of them was a measurement of the violation of charge and parity symmetry (so called CP-violation) in B meson system, particles containing the fifth "beauty" quark. Two similar particle accelerators had been built, one at Stanford in USA and the other at KEK in Japan. Both machines had produced about ten millions of B meson pairs (B meson and its antiparticle). Two experimental groups, BaBar at Stanford and Belle at KEK, analyzed them and found about 100 reconstructed events of particular decay modes of B mesons. Based on those data they determined the values of the CP-violating parameter sin(2beta). Although not statistically convincing, the results of both groups pointed toward a violation of CP symmetry.

The question of whether or not neutrinos have finite mass is of enormous importance to the particle physics and cosmology community. In 1998, an international group working in a Kamioka mine in Japan presented evidence of finite mass in the data from atmospheric neutrinos. Another group of physicists started a new experiment called K2K (KEK to Kamioka), first producing well known neutrinos with an accelerator at KEK and then sending them to the SuperKamiokande detector located 250 km west of the KEK laboratory to see transformation from one kind of neutrino to another. Initial findings presented at the conference support previous results that the neutrino has finite mass, but the statistics were not conclusive.

An international team from Fermilab (USA) presented convincing evidence that they detected the ever-elusive tau neutrino, the last member of the basic constituents in the standard model of the elementary particle. By using a hybrid detector, an active sandwich target of emulsion sheets and steel plates and a magnetic spectrometer, the Tau neutrino was seen as a tiny kink near the reaction point.

The next conference will be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands from July 25-31, 2002.

XXIII International Colloquium on Group Theoretical Methods in Physics

The XXIII International Colloquium on Group Theoretical Methods in Physics (ICGTMP-2000) was held in Dubna (Moscow Region, Russia) from July 31 to August 05, 2000. The ICGTMP is one of the traditional conference series covering the most important topics of symmetry which are relevant to the intersection of present-day mathematics and physics. A total of about 250 scientists from 36 countries attended the Group23 Colloquium.

The scientific program included 16 plenary lectures, more than 160 short talks scheduled in four parallel sessions, and about 50 poster sessions. It covered practically all principal fields of physics where the group theoretical methods are applied. In particular, it included the following topics: integrable models; infinite-dimensional symmetries and supersymmetries; Lie groups, representation theory and special functions; quantum groups and noncommutative geometry; symmetries of nonlinear systems and quantum chaos; superstrings and quantum gravity; foundations of quantum mechanics; particle physics; symmetries in nuclear, atomic and molecular physics; quantum and nonlinear optics; condensed matter and statistical physics. Partially overlapping these topics, symposia on quantum groups, on group theory and integrable systems, and on group theory and path integrals were organized as substructures of the Colloquium.

The invited review lectures were presented by Luigi Accardi (University of Roma Torvergata, Roma), Richard Askey (University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin), Yuri Berest (Cornell University, Ithaca) Arno Bohm (University of Texas, Austin), Loriano Bonora (SISSA, Trieste), Heinz-Dietrich Doebner (ASI, Clausthal-Zellerfeld), Alexander Fillippov (JINR, Dubna), Richard Kerner (Universite Paris VI, Paris), Sergei Kilin (Institute of Physics, Minsk), Vladimir Korepin (SUNY, Stony Brook, USA), Tetsuji Miwa (Kyoto University, Kyoto), Marcos Moshinsky (UNAM, Mexico D.F.), David Rowe (University of Toronto, Toronto), Michail Semenov-Tyanshanskiy (University of Bourgogne, Dijon), Ivan Todorov (IRNRE, Sofia). The closing talk was presented by Professor Yurii Oganesian on "JINR activity on the problem of superheavy elements", devoted to the recent discovery of 116 element of Mendeleev's Table.

International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA)

In 1999, ICFA set up a Task Force to study the proposal for a Global Accelerator Network. This is a global collaboration to construct, commission and operate a large new accelerator facility, based on the experience of current large detector collaborations. The multiple tasks involved are carried out at the home institutions of the collaboration members; this allows active remote participation from laboratories dispersed around the world and maintains accelerator expertise and involvement in all of the collaborating institutions. Preliminary indications from the Task Force are that the idea is technically feasible, with the major challenges being managerial. A small local staff of approximately 200 is necessary at the accelerator site, as is a "nearby" existing laboratory which will (amongst other issues) assume responsibility that safety and radiation safety meet the host country regulations. A major fraction of the facility costs will have to be borne by the host nation.

A final report from the Task Force is expected in February 2001.

The Global Science Forum (successor to the Megascience Forum), formed by OECD, held a Workshop on High Energy Physics in April 2000. The decision was made to form a Collaborative Group on High Energy Physics, with membership appointed by governments. Future progress in the field will often require facilities and technologies that will be planned on a global basis, and the Collaborative Group will allow international consultations about the future of the field. Recommendations will be presented to the Global Science Forum by June 2002. A representative from ICFA was invited to attend the April 2000 workshop and the Consultative Group meetings, and to provide input for the recommendations.

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