Category Archives: Science News

Join now! The Materials Modeling Stack Exchange forum is now in public beta

I’m thrilled to announce that the Materials Modeling Stack Exchange forum is now in public beta. This means that anyone can browse without having to sign up for sign up for an account and the questions might start showing up in google search results. We’re still actively recruiting more physics-oriented contributors, so I encourage you to check it out.

There are already hundreds of questions and answers on the forum, here’s a couple great discussions you might want to join in on:

Write your congressperson to support science during COVID-19

APS President Phil Bucksbaum recently wrote a letter with recommendations for how congress can protect science during COVID-19 and ensure a quick recovery afterwards. “The letter’s recommendations include: providing grantees full or partial cost extensions, ensuring the supplemental funding necessary to restart labs and experiments is provided, and substantially increasing REU funding for Summer 2021.”

APS is also organizing a letter-writing campaign to call Congress’s attention to this issue. They’re provided a easy-to-use tool where you can plug in your voting address, sign your letter (and add some of your own thoughts) and they will send it off to your congressperson and senators. It takes less than five minutes and it makes a huge difference. On narrow issues like this, you letter might be the only one your elected official receives!

Sign and send your letter now!

Rest in peace Phil Anderson, a giant on whose shoulders we stand

On Sunday March 29, Philip W. Anderson passed away.  Anderson is doubtlessly one of the greatest condensed matter physicists who ever lived.

Anderson made foundational discoveries in localization, high-temperature superconductivity and antiferromagnetism. Indeed, his achievements stretch beyond condensed matter; his work on spontaneous symmetry breaking contributed to development of the Standard Model of particle physics. I’m sure many more competent people will eulogize him (update 2020-05-04 they have), but I wanted share one specific personal connection I have to his work.

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Link

I put together a collection of links and resources for how to stay safe and sane during the pandemic as a page on my website. I thought these were important to share, but I didn’t want to post them individually. I plan to update that page, so if you have suggestions for things to add, please let me know.

Rep. James Himes

CVD success: Rep. Himes co-sponsors the Keep STEM Talent Act!

For the APS Congressional Visit Day last month, my team visited the DC office of Representative Jim Himes (D-CT-04) to advocate for a number of issues important to science (see previous post). One of our asks was for Rep. Himes to cosponsor the Keep STEM Talent Act. I just heard that Rep. Himes is now a cosponsor! Thanks so much to my CVD team, to Rep. Himes and to the staffer we met with, Jessica Hagens-Jordan!

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NIH is experimenting with ‘cluster hiring’ in an attempt to boost diversity

In this week’s issue of Science they cover a new pilot program by NIH called FIRST that will fund ‘cluster hiring’, where a department hires 10 or more faculty in 1-2 years. The idea is that this will help cast a wider net and yield more junior faculty from underrepresented groups.

I can see how hiring in larger cohorts could make it easier to detect if there are biases, since have a cohort of 10 white men would set of alarm bells. Cluster hiring is unproven, but it’s promising and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what comes out of the pilot program.

Here’s the article (paywall): Science: NIH hopes ‘cluster hiring’ will improve diversity

APS Congressional Visit Day 2020

APS Congressional Visit Day 2020

This week, I am in Washington DC for the APS Congressional Visit Day and Annual Leadership Meeting. We started on Wednesday with the Congressional Visit. APS broke us up into teams by region. I’m a Massachusetts voter, so I joined a team of people from Massachusetts and Connecticut. We had six meetings with the offices of Massachusetts Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, Connecticut Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal along with House Representatives James Himes and Rosa DeLauro.

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