About FWS

Letter from the Chair

Dear Fellow APS Member,

The Far West Section (FWS) of the American Physical Society aims at bringing together physicists active in academia, industry and research institutions. We welcome all who have a background in, or a link to physics and wish to share their experience and knowledge, or simply wish to stay in touch with colleagues and the advances in the field. Most of our members live in California, Hawaii or Nevada, but the section is open to all who are APS members. Though all can be member of the FWS for free(!), not all are members. If you are an APS member and read these lines you should also be a section member. If not yet, just send a short email to express your interest in joining the Far West Section, or go online using your APS membership credentials (click on “Membership”). Please do so now, and read the rest of the letter after…

Physics has undergone many changes in recent years and those in our Far West Section region have played a major role in shaping the physics landscape. Not only have we advanced knowledge in key areas of fundamental research, teaching and industry, but some of our members have also contributed in important ways to the APS itself. The fact that physics has changed so much also means that many more job opportunities are available to physics students. Long gone are the days that a degree in physics would only lead to a career in academia or laboratory. To address this development and to help young graduates undertake their first steps after graduation we started to organize an annual career workshop. This years’ workshop is entitled “I graduated – what now” that will be held at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on July 7th. We invite you to check out the program and attend the workshop or encourage and enable your students to attend. Based on the feedback from last years’ workshop we anticipate that the content will be very useful. Events like this workshop and the annual scientific meeting that will be held at Cal State Fullerton October 18-20 this year, are financially supported by the section and APS. The annual meeting is also an opportunity to learn from and talk with established physicists, hear a distinguished banquet speaker and potentially win an award for best presentation by undergraduates, graduates and postdocs. See “awards” on the left navigation bar for past prizes.

Another area where physics has changed dramatically, in particular over the past decade is the necessity for professionals to speak out in a time where some attempt at giving equal consideration to serious scientific endeavor, “opinion” and even plain false statements in the fog of information. It is also important for physicists to change their mentality. Do not expect that all will obviously recognize the value and merits of our field; demonstrate it! Do not think that physicists working in industry are valued less; they make up the largest segment of the physicists’ population and are valued members of our organization. Do not believe that physics should remain the way it was when you were a student; one of the main characteristics of physics is its continued transformation through new knowledge and understanding of the physical world. Do not think that we are the best by definition and don’t need others; the APS is known for the great advances that immigrant physicists have made and should be known as an example of inclusiveness — We welcome all who have a passion for physics. We also should continue striving at extending our expertise to other fields while continue developing Physics as a major field of science.

Your membership is crucial for the Far West Section. The APS provides funds to the section proportional to its membership level. Thus, even though there is no cost for you to join the Far West Section, your membership enables the activities of the section. For those of you who want to be even more active in the Section, and there are many reasons to be part of this section, we offer multiple ways to do so. If you are interested in serving as one of the officers of the Section or wish to nominate someone else, please contact us. Very importantly, vote during our elections!

If you wish to make suggestions for invited speakers for future meetings or any other section activities, contact one of the chair line members who will forward your suggestion to the Program Committee. Contact us also, if you wish to host one of the Section's meetings at your institution. Thank you to all who are members of the section.

Best wishes from the Far West Section!

Hendrik Ohldag, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (2018 chair)
Andreas Bill, California State University Long Beach (2018 past chair)