Session Chair Guidelines

Dear APS DPP Session Chair,

We appreciate your willingness to serve as a session chair for the upcoming Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics.

Session chairs are very important to the success of the meeting. We would like to provide you with some information and guidelines.

Freeman Company is the vendor hired by APS DPP to provide audiovisual equipment and technical support service for the annual meeting.

Before the Session 

  1. Prior to departure for the meeting, check the scientific program on the APS DPP website to determine the number and order of the abstracts to be presented and the time allocated to each abstract to the session you are chairing. 
  1. When you arrive at the meeting check the “Program Changes Board” near the APS DPP Registration Desk to see if any changes have been to the session you are chairing. If a paper is withdrawn or if a speaker fails to appear, DO NOT change the Bulletin session schedule, do not immediately go to the next talk in the session. You may allow discussion of a previous presentation to continue, or else recess the session until the next talk.
  1. All session chairs should stop by the APS DPP Speaker Ready Room in the Convention Center, before the session starts to become familiar with the AV equipment. 
  1. If possible, arrive about 15 minutes prior to the start of the session you are chairing to check the equipment, the light controls, and microphones (placed no lower than 6” below the speaker’s chin). If you encounter any problems, contact a nearby AV technician, or go to the APS DPP Registration Desk for assistance. 

Note: Please use the electronic speaker timers provided in each room to stay on schedule. If you have any questions about timer operation, contact a nearby AV technician or go to the APS DPP Registration Desk. Feel free to stand, use a written sign, or gesture to communicate with the speaker. At least one free-standing microphone will be present in the larger rooms, which members of the audience should use when asking questions. 

During the Session

  1. A minute before the beginning of the session you are chairing announce the session title, briefly introduce yourself and explain the timing system, and as often during the session as you think necessary. Start the session on time. Announce the first presentation and the author and start the timer. Session chairs should take care to introduce all speakers using the same form. If introducing the first speaker by their given name and surname, please follow suit in the session with all speaker introductions. If introducing the first speaker with a title (Professor, Dr., Ms., or Mr.) please follow suit in the session with all speaker introductions. If a session chair doesn’t know a speaker’s title, please use the given name and surname for all speakers in the session. 
  1. Review Talks, the Maxwell Prize address, and tutorial talks are 50 minutes + 10 minutes discussion. Invited talks are 25 minutes + 5 minutes discussion. Contributed talks are 10 minutes + 2 minutes discussion. Please give the speaker a two-minute signal before discussion begins. Then firmly but courteously ask the speaker to stop at the end of the allotted speaking time and stop questions at the end of the allotted discussion time. If a speaker goes over time, it may be necessary to allow no questions. It is very important that the sessions stay on time. 

Note: Any time used by speakers and/or technicians to set up laptops or any other equipment is deducted from the speaker’s total time allotment. Time the speaker from the moment they come to the front, not when the speaking begins. 

  1. All oral sessions will be equipped with one LCD projector (16:9 format), one Windows-based PC laptop, one Mac laptop, a laser pointer, a wireless lapel microphone, and an electronic speaker timer. This includes all review, invited, tutorial, oral contributed, and mini-conference sessions. 

Note: All invited speakers were told it is not necessary to bring a personal laptop if their presentation has been downloaded to a memory stick. Each speaker will be able to use the laptop provided. If the speaker has an equipment problem during a session immediately contact a nearby AV technician or go to the APS DPP Registration Desk. The APS staff and Freeman AV technicians will be circulating in the meeting rooms to keep problems under control. DPP must keep on schedule, even if there are technical problems. 

  1. Remember that you, as session chair, have the authority to keep the questions, answers, and discussion on a completely professional basis. They almost always are, but unfortunately, there are exceptions. If a question or comment seems to violate the APS Code of Conduct, you can say something like, “Remember, we have a Code of Conduct here”, or “You don’t have to answer that”. In addition, please report any behavior that concerns you to DPP leadership or an APS staff member.

 A Session Chair Survey for in-person meetings will be on the front table in each room for the session chair’s written comments and for documenting missed talks. We greatly appreciate you taking time to fill out the survey and drop it off at the DPP Registration Desk. Your hand-written Session Chair Surveys will be collected by Saralyn Stewart, DPP Administrator.

Please let the DPP leadership know of any suggestions for improvements for future meetings.


Attendees of any APS in-person or virtual events are expected to meet standards of professional conduct as described in the APS Code of Conduct. Violations of these standards may disqualify people from future participation.