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Message from President

AAPPS in its Fourth Decade

January, 2020


The Association of Asia Pacific Physical Societies (AAPPS) celebrated its thirtieth anniversary on the occasion of the 14th Asia-Pacific Physics Conference (APPC) held at the Borneo Convention Centre, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia in November 2019.  The idea to form AAPPS originated from the first APPC, held in Singapore in 1983, and the hope was to create an association of physical societies aimed at the promotion of physics in the Asia Pacific region.  Seven years later, AAPPS was established in 1990 at the fourth APPC, and Chen-Ning Yang was the founding president.  The AAPPS has promoted physics in this region through research, application and teaching, and has facilitated international collaboration in these activities.  Since its establishment, the publication of AAPPS Bulletin, whose first issue was published in June 1991, and organization of the APPCs have been two of the foremost activities of AAPPS.

At the 27th Council Meeting held in 2012, AAPPS made bylaws for divisions. Following the successful sessions of plasma physics at APPC12 in Makuhari, Japan, the Division of Plasma Physics (DPP) was established under the leadership of the founding chair, Mitsuru Kikuchi.  This was the first step allowing AAPPS to have an arena to promote specific fields of physics as in national physical societies.  This launch was followed by the establishment of Division of Astrophysics, Cosmology, and Gravitation (DACG), and the Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP). 

These three divisions simultaneously organized sessions on their respective fields of study at APPC14 for the first time in the history of APPC and as such, these divisions played critical roles toward the success of the conference, which was attended by nearly 500 participants.  I believe that these changes clearly indicate the future trajectory of AAPPS.  With full divisional structure covering all fields of physics, I am confident that AAPPS will become an association that truly represents physics in one of the three major regions of the globe, comparable to the European Physical Society (EPS) and the American Physical Society (APS), not only in name but also in terms of the scope of AAPPS’s influence. There is much room for improvement, but we already have promising signs of moving in the right direction since we have managed to organize meetings toward division formation in condensed matter physics as well as in particle physics during APPC14.  As the new president for the next three years, I will do my best to establish new divisions.

Interestingly, the three currently existent divisions, DPP, DACG, and DNP, each have different origin stories.  As mentioned above, DPP was formed by the program organizers of 12th APPC in Japan, which was attended by as many as 400 plasma physicists.  The establishment of DACG was based on two series of regional conferences and schools; specifically, DACG was formed by the combined efforts of organizers of the International Symposium on Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics (CosPA) and those of the Asia Pacific School/Workshop on Gravitation and Cosmology (AP School on GC).  On the other hand, DNP owes its entire entity to a pre-existent organization: ANPhA or the Asian Nuclear Physics Association.  Thus, there are many ways to form a division, and we welcome physicists to rise to the challenge of forming new divisions of AAPPS, so long as the concepts fit within the scope of the future divisional structure, discussed over the years among the council and member societies of AAPPS. 

There are several distinct advantages to forming a division in the area of your own expertise.  First, AAPPS has an established history, and by being one of AAPPS’s divisions, your scientific activities would be better recognized as a representative one in the region.  More importantly, internationally, AAPPS is regarded as one of the three major physics associations, and its divisions are also appreciated in the same way.  For example, among the currently existent three divisions, DPP has cooperation with the divisions of plasma physics of both EPS and APS. AAPPS-DPP and the EPS-DPP are mutually sending delegates and inviting conference committee members to each another. In a similar fashion, the chairs of AAPPS-DNP and EPS-DNP mutually attend the respective annual meetings of their counterpart as an observer.  Finally, AAPPS-DACG has actually a longer history than the division of gravitational physics of EPS, and the chair of DACG was invited to their inaugural symposium.  Last but certainly not least, the Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics (APCTP) has been providing generous funding of USD 10,000 to each division to support its activities. 

            In recent years, AAPPS and APCTP have been cooperating in many areas toward the common goal of promotion of physics in the Asia Pacific region.  Starting from its role helming the editorial office of the AAPPS Bulletin, now the headquarters of AAPPS itself is located at APCTP, at POSTECH’s campus in Pohang, Korea. I wish to realize a win-win situation between AAPPS and APCTP through further cooperation.

Last year, we jointly established the new AAPPS-APCTP Chen Ning Yang Award and celebrated the three winners at APPC14.  Nominations for this award can be made not only by (divisions of) member societies but also by individuals who attended the most recent APPC.  Thus, those who attended APPC14 in Kuching have the right to make one nomination for the award for the next three years.  In this way, the participants of APPC14 can be regarded as “virtual members” of AAPPS, which is a small step toward introducing individual membership to AAPPS.

            In the previous council, under the leadership of former president Gui-Lu Long, we discussed an array of issues and possibilities, with the aim of making AAPPS thrive.  We invited Nobel laureates and other distinguished scholars, including those who have made significant contributions to the physics community of the region, to become AAPPS honorary fellows.  We also set up rules to endorse/cosponsor/sponsor physics activities in the region such as conferences, workshops, and schools; consequently, AAPPS has already endorsed a number of events according to these rules.  We have also been joined by a new member, the Kazakhstan Physical Society.

In order to truly promote physics in all the regions of AAPPS, it is important to listen to the voices of all of the member societies, which are hugely diverse in both their respective sizes and also in their respective stages of development.  I will hear opinions on how to extend and reform the council for this purpose, which we will take time to seriously discuss.  To meet immediate needs, we wish to endorse and co-host a number of physics events to contribute to the advancement of physics in all the regions covered by AAPPS.

Let us cooperate together toward this goal under the peaceful coexistence of all the relevant parties and make this world more civilized and comfortable to live in.


                                                            Jun'ichi YOKOYAMA

                                                                President, AAPPS

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