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Report on the 35th Extended Council Meeting of AAPPS
Jun'ichi Yokoyama
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Report on the 35th Extended
Council Meeting of AAPPS

JUN'ICHI YOKOYAMA

 

Fig. 1: AAPPS council members and observers of the 35th extended council meeting at Xi'an Jiao Tong University, China. Front row (left to right): Nguyen Quang Liem, Won Namkung, Seunghwan Kim, Fu-Jen Kao, Gui-Lu Long, Pradeep Bhattarai, Jun'ich Yokoyama, Hyoung Joon Choi Kuijuan Jin; back row (left to right): Qing Wang, Woo-Sung Jung, Tohru Motobayashi, Wenlong Zhan, Masaaki Tanaka, Mitsuru Kikuchi, Hikaru Kawamura, Kazuhiro Tanaka, Sang Pyo Kim, Akira Yamada, Minn-Tsong Lin, Misao Sasaki and Swee-Ping Chia

The 35th Extended Council Meeting of the Association of Asia Pacific Physical Societies (AAPPS) was held at Xi'an Jiao Tong University, in Xi'an, China, on April 7 and 8, 2017. It was hosted by Xi'an Jiao Tong University, the Chinese Physical Society, Tsinghua University, and sponsored by the Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics (APCTP), Pohang, Korea. The meeting was attended not only by the council members but also by presidents of member societies, division chairs, and chief and vice chief editors of the AAPPS Bulletin. The participants were Gui-Lu Long (president), Fu-Jen Kao (vice-president), Jun'ichi Yokoyama (secretary), Hyoung Joon Choi (treasurer), Seunghwan Kim (special advisor), and council members Kuijuan Jin (The Chinese Physical Society), Xing Zhu (The Chinese Physical Society), Mitsuru Kikuchi (Physical Society of Japan, proxy for Hatsumi Mori, also AAPPS-DPP chair), Masaaki Tanaka (The Japan Society of Applied Physics), Sang Pyo Kim (The Korean Physical Society), Minn-Tsong Lin (PS located in Taipei), Swee-Ping Chia (Malaysian Institute of Physics, proxy for Kurunathan Ratnavelu), Ruiqin Zhang (The Physical Society of Hong Kong) and Nguyen Quang Liem (Vietnam Physical Society). The meeting was observed by Misao Sasaki (AAPPS-DACG chair), Kazuhiro Tanaka (AAPPS-DNP chair); Wenlong Zhan (The Chinese Physical Society), Hikaru Kawamura (The Physical Society of Japan president), Pradeep Bhattarai (Nepal Physical Society president); Won Namkung (APCTP president), Woo-Sung Jung (APCTP executive director); Tohru Motobayashi (next editor-in-chief), Akira Yamada (next deputy editor-in-chief); Qing Wang (local organizer), Fuli Li (Xi'an Jiao Tong University); Youngah Park (AAPPS-WIP chair) via video conference; and by Eunjeong Lee (AAPPS liaison officer).

(1) The secretary reported the presence of 14 council members out of 16 members, including two proxies, and the quorum was met.

(2) The president opened the 35th council meeting, welcomed all the participants, and acknowledged the president of CPS as well as Professor Fuli Li, Dean of the School of Science at Xi'an Jiao Tong University, for hosting this meeting.

(3) The agenda was adopted as prepared by the secretary.

(4) The participants were introduced and certificates of appointment were presented to the new council members from the president.

(5) The minutes of the 34th meeting were officially approved, and they have already been published in the February, 2017 issue of the AAPPS Bulletin.

(6) Treasurer Hyoung Joon Choi reported on the financial status of AAPPS, reviewing account activities over the past three years. He explained that about $50,000 USD was spent during 2014-2016 from the AAPPS account to host the 31st, 33rd, and 34th Council Meetings and the 9th Ordinary General Meeting and to support divisions, some participants of meetings, and the International and Asian Physics Olympiads. Most of these were spent from the special contribution of $60,000 USD from APCTP to the AAPPS Council. In addition, the Physical Society located in Taipei made a special in-kind contribution of about $15,000 USD to host the 30th Council Meeting in Taipei, and the Chinese Physical Society spent a special in-kind contribution to host the 32nd Council Meeting in Beijing. These figures exclude expenditures for the Bulletin. During 2014-2016, 10 member societies paid the annual membership fee of $200 USD, and it was mentioned that Singapore, Hong Kong, and Vietnam will pay the membership fees. Our annual expenditure was originally designed to be $3,400 USD, which includes $1,000 USD for the CN Yang Prize, $400 USD for the International and Asian Physics Olympiads, and $2,000 USD for partial support of the airfare of participants of the council meeting. In addition to these costs, the AAPPS Bulletin annually requires $45,000 USD, while Bulletin contributions from CPS, KPS, JPS, JSAP, and PS-Taipei amount to $25,000 USD, with corporate membership revenue of $10,000 USD. Hence we are losing about $10,000 annually. The treasurer reported that the local expense for each council meeting costs about $15,000 USD. For 2014-2016, thanks to the special contribution of APCTP and the special in-kind contributions of PS-Taipei and CPS, the AAPPS account is in surplus. This year, the president Gui-Lu Long arranged a special donation of $50,000 USD from the Leo KoGuan Foundation.

(7) Woo-Sung Jung, executive director of APCTP, explained the status of cooperation between AAPPS and APCTP. As a result of an MOU signed in October 2016, APCTP is now acting as the headquarters of AAPPS in addition to its role as the head of the editorial office of the AAPPS Bulletin. Eunjeong Lee, an officer of APCTP, is serving as an executive officer to AAPPS as well as being a senior editorial assistant of the AAPPS Bulletin. He also mentioned that APCTP would continue financial support of $30,000 USD annually to division activities and was also planning to extend its support for the administrative work of the divisions. He remarked that although APCTP can support scientific activities such as conferences and workshops held outside Korea, it could only support administrative meetings held inside Korea. Several members suggested that it would be desirable for AAPPS and/or its divisions to be involved in the decision making process of supporting activities, but it was resolved that since the fund is not so large we should first seek for a way to increase it.

(8) The secretary explained that in order to secure more time for discussion, unlike the previous meetings where each member society made a presentation to report its status, he had sent out questionnaire to each society and had received replies from 13 societies. It was highlighted that although there is great diversity regarding the respective size and developmental stage of the societies, currently all the member societies are required to pay the same amount in fees, independent of their size and their financial situation. The secretary stressed that in order to enhance physics, both research and education, in the Asia Pacific region, we should be aware of this issue and take the necessary actions.

(9) Reports from division chairs were made. First, Mitsuru Kikuchi, chair of DPP (Division of Plasma Physics), reported that there were more than 100 presentations at APPC in Brisbane and that the Chandrasekhar Award was presented to three awardees. He also explained the status of the DPP's website, mailing list, and finances. Next, Misao Sasaki, chair of DACG (Division of Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravitation), reported on DACG's past and forthcoming activities, such as the AP School and Workshop on Gravitation and Cosmology, held in Hunan National Normal University in China in June 16-30; RESCEU APCosPA Summer School, held in Takayama, Japan; and CosPA. The annual executive committee was held during CosPA in Sydney in December 2016, and the next one is planned in Kyoto. He also mentioned that while the term of executive committee members would expire next January, the current committee might better serve another term as the division is still in a commissioning stage. Finally, Kazuhiro Tanaka, chair of DNP (Division of Nuclear Physics), reported on the DNP's recent activities. He mentioned that DNP's board meeting would be held in Vietnam on September 24, 2017, in connection with the ISPUN171 symposium, where the DNP plans to provide its first poster and/or young physicist award; news related to these events will be published in the AAPPS Bulletin. The DNP is now trying to organize a nuclear physics session at the IMFP 20172 meeting, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

(10) The next editor-in-chief of AAPPS Bulletin, Tohru Motobayashi, explained the publication status and financial status of the AAPPS Bulletin and expressed his appreciation to APCTP for its support, both financially and administratively. He initiated discussions regarding ways to make the Bulletin more popular in physics communities around the world. Minn-Tsong Lin mentioned that PS-Taipei would be willing to send an e-mail alert each time a new issue is published, similar to how monthly e-mail news sent by JSAP includes contents of the AAPPS Bulletin. The president suggested each member society sends such information to all of its members.

 


1 The International Symposium on Physics of Unstable Nuclei 2017 (ISPUN17) Halong City, Vietnam, September 25-30, 2017 https://ispun.vn/
2 Fifth International Meeting on Frontiers of Physics (IMFP 2017) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 4-7, 2017 http://imfp2017.ifm.org.my/

(11) Next, as preparation for the discussions in the working groups, the following issues, which are currently associated with AAPPS, were raised.

i) Divisions: Important market of physicists, who may contribute to financing (Kao).

ii) Financial problems: Current membership fees are not designed to cover the necessary expenses required for proper operation of the association. Many societies acquire revenue from conferences and journals besides membership fees.

iii) Individual membership: The constitution says it's not permissible, but divisions already have individual members and they may be helpful to make AAPPS more popular.

iv) Scientific activities including APPC: Intersociety activities, celebration of 30th anniversary of AAPPS in 2019, APPC (Long).

v) Educational programs: It may be a good idea to launch educational programs by AAPPS but extra funding is necessary for its realization (Yokoyama). (Lunch break)

vi) Publication of the AAPPS Bulletin and divisional journals: The Bulletin may be able to generate revenue by publishing articles translated from Bulletins of member societies written in the local language, as many publishers are keen to publish pan-Asian journals (Kikuchi). However, it is very difficult to launch a new journal (Tanaka).

vii) Awards (C.N. Yang Award, AAPPS Fellow): If we awarded the C.N. Yang Award every year, the impact and visibility of AAPPS would be greater. In order to have a financially larger award, fund raising efforts have been made by the president. Introduce fellow of AAPPS similar to APS fellow as well as honorary fellow (Long).

Concerning APPC in 2019, Swee-Ping Chia, on behalf of the president of the Malaysian Institute of Physics, proposed two possible dates and asked that one be chosen. After substantial discussion, it was resolved that all the participants agreed with the period November 17 to 22, 2019, for APPC with the council meeting, subject to the agreement of the local organizers in Malaysia. Confirmation was made later.

(12) Five working groups to discuss these issues were formed, namely: 1) Reform (leaders: Long and Seunghwan Kim, members: Lin, Bhattarai, Sasaki, and Yamada); 2) Division (leaders: Kao and Jin, members: S.P. Kim, Liem, Tanaka, and Wang); 3) Finance (leaders: Choi and Yokoyama, members: Zhu, Tanaka, Kawamura, and Jung); 4) Publication (leaders: Kikuchi and Motobayashi, members: Zhang, Chia, and Zhang); and a working group dedicated to 5) APPC14 and related matters (leader: Xing Zhu, other members to be determined.)

After (13) a scientific talk by Misao Sasaki, chair of DACG, on gravitational waves and a coffee break, (14) a web video conference test was conducted by Tohru Motobayashi, where (15) the report on women in physics committee was made by Youngah Park, focusing on recent activities, such as the women-in-physics session at the APPC in Brisbane where a resolution for the council meeting was made. Then Professor Fuli Li of Xi'an Jiao Tong University explained physics at his university as well as in Shaanxi Province and the city of Xi'an. The physical society of the province has 11,000 members from 89 universities, and Xi'an Jiao Tong University has more than 30,000 students with 2,861 faculties. It is one of the C9 universities in China.

(16) The participants were then separated into two plus two groups, namely, a Reform+Finance group and Division+Publication group, for discussions in the working groups. Before separating into two rooms, Seunghwan Kim, past president reported on his visit to the headquarters of the American Physical Society. He explained that they were interested in working in cooperation with AAPPS. A good starting point may be through the exchange of news, as we are already doing with the European Physical Society through the AAPPS Bulletin and e-EPS. The four working groups then spent one hour for discussions.

(17) The following are notes from the discussion in the "Reform+Finance" group led by former President Kim.

i) AAPPS Fellows: President Long proposed to introduce an AAPPS Fellow system to popularize the association. On the one hand, no one disagreed with the idea, but on the other hand it would be very difficult to put it into practice as we do not have any individual members. If divisions could nominate fellows, division formation may be promoted. The council should also play a leading role. It was concluded that we should form a working group to formulate the nature of the fellow and selection process and Seunghwan Kim was nominated as the chair.

ii) Individual members: One reason AAPPS is yet unpopular even among the members of the member societies may be due to the lack of individual members. The pros and cons of the introduction of individual membership were discussed, and it was concluded that it was premature to do so. The best way to make the association more popular would be to increase the number of divisions so that more individuals could take part in AAPPS activities through divisions.

iii) Membership fees and financial issues: The constitution says each society must pay the same membership fee. But for 28 years it has been set to $200 USD and the total income from the membership fees is too small to do any practical activities. President Kawamura of JPS proposed the introduction of a sliding scale membership fee so that AAPPS could be financially more stable and conducting more activities. Currently we are too dependent on APCTP. Executive Director Jung of APCTP mentioned that they might be able to receive more funding if their commitment to AAPPS was more enhanced.

iv) AAPPS speaker: As a way to make AAPPS more visible, President Long proposed the introduction of the title of "AAPPS Speaker" to one of the main speakers of each society's meeting. It was concluded that it would be difficult to do so in meetings of some member societies, but divisional meetings might easily realize it.

v) Change of the governance: The possibility to include representatives of divisions in the council was discussed. It was pointed out that since divisions, rather than societies, were the main body to conduct research in physics, they should be actively involved in the council. On the other hand, as division representatives are not elected by the member societies, they may only take part in the council as non-voting members. This issue was returned to the president for further consideration and a proposal for an amendment of the constitution, which will be discussed at the next or future council meetings.

vi) Financial issues, cont.: Treasurer Choi reported that while the original design of AAPPS envisioned spending only $3,000 USD annually, we had been spending much more based on voluntary contributions, mainly from APCTP. Five member societies are also contributing toward the Bulletin's publication for a total of $25,000 USD, but still the Bulletin is suffering from shortage of $10,000 USD annually. The current constitution prescribes a flat annual membership fee and its amount is determined by the council. The working group agreed to increase the fee to $500 USD, although this does not solve the financial problem entirely. President Kawamura of JPS proposed, as a personal opinion, that as the size of the member societies are different by more than two orders of magnitude, the membership fee should be classified to several different classes with orders-of-magnitude differences. President Long said societies with more council members may well pay more units of the fee, citing that IUPAP has such a system. Since the introduction of a nonflat membership fee requires a change of the constitution, we cannot do it now but it should be discussed seriously. Proxy Chia disagreed with the implementation of a nonflat membership fee, but to maintain proper operation of the association we need an annual income of $65,000 USD, while our current income is $3,000 USD from membership fees and $25,000 USD from contributions for the Bulletin. Divisions may contribute to AAPPS financially through conference revenue etc., but if we impose such a contribution at this moment, we cannot expect to have more divisions, and so this option is not practical for now. President Lin of PS-Taipei mentioned that if we provide more services we can expect more income, as his society is doing.

vii) 30th anniversary events of AAPPS: President Long proposed to choose 30 physicists from the region as honorable fellows as a part of the celebration of our 30th anniversary. Woo-Sung Jung mentioned that APCTP may help with these events.

viii) Revenues from publication: Although some societies are making profits from the publication of journals, AAPPS Bulletin cannot incur publication charges at this point as editors are making desperate efforts to collect articles. On the other hand, a number of institutions in China, Japan, and Korea are already financially contributing to the Bulletin as corporate members.

(18-1) Report from the "Division" working group chaired by vice-president Kao.

i) APPC: A successful APPC in 2019 will be our primary goal for the moment.

ii) Division formation: Forming more divisions is very important to make AAPPS scientifically stronger. The working group suggests to send an invitation letter to all the member societies and solicit candidates in forming divisions by corresponding with council members. Suggested division titles are: condensed matter physics I & II, one of which corresponds to neutron scattering and phonons; optics and photonics; quantum information science and technology; physics education; biomedical physics; computational physics; and high energy physics. Misao Sasaki stressed that unless we pursue a bottom-up perspective, the formation of new divisions would not work properly. It was suggested that a letter should be sent to ask each member physical society to introduce communities in each region that may be interested in the formation of divisions in AAPPS.

iii) Practical matters regarding divisions: Divisions are autonomous under the by-laws of AAPPS and are expected to be financially independent. The divisions are expected to generate their own rules which are subject to the approval of AAPPC Council.

(18-2) Report from "Publication" working group chaired by DPP chair Kikuchi.

The AAPPS Bulletin should be distributed more widely in both member societies and in the rest of the world. In order to make the electronic version more popular, it was suggested that presidents of member societies are asked to send an e-mail alert every time new issue is issued, as JSAP is doing. As for the journals from divisions, DPP is publishing Reviews of Modern Plasma Physics, and APCosPA, which is affiliated to DACG, is publishing "The Universe."

(18-3) Report from "Reform" working group by former president Seunghwan Kim.

i) Constitutional change

- The current number of the council members is 15, and the issue of the lack of representation by small societies has been raised frequently at previous councils and the OGMs.

- We now have three divisions, which need to be represented and reflected in the council, for example as a non-voting number, without changing the power structure of the council. (Note that the division chairs attended this time in an ad-hoc way.)

- We agreed that articles of the AAPPS constitution, such as 5.3 and 5.5, may need to be revised to reflect the diverse representation of member societies and for better representation of the developing divisions.

- It was agreed that the president to appoint one in charge of the necessary constitutional change.

- Former president Seunghwan Kim proposed the following motion: "We recognize the need to have a more diverse representation of member societies and better representation of the developing divisions. The president shall appoint one in charge of drafting a necessary amendment of the article to be put forward to the council and later resolved by the OGM." It was seconded by Sang Pyo Kim and was unanimously approved as a result of the vote.

ii) AAPPS Fellows

- We agreed that it is in principle a good idea. With a vast pool of eminent physicists in this region, it can help to raise the profile of AAPPS as a regional association, and can provide some incentives to the divisions without using many resources.

- There are issues of achieving the target without individual members, the selection process, and the technicalities of voting.

- We agreed to set up a working group to set up the processes and the guidelines for the AAPPS Fellows.

- Former president Seunghwan Kim proposed the motion that the AAPPS shall implement the creation of the AAPPS Fellow, the guideline of which shall be drafted by the working group and reported back to the council for their resolution. It was seconded by Sang Pyo Kim, and was unanimously agreed as a result of the vote.

(18-4) Report from the "Finance" working group chaired by Secretary Yokoyama.

Our annual income from membership fees is $3,000 USD ($200 USD for each society for 28 years), but to maintain proper operation of the association we do need $65,000 USD annually. As the constitution prescribes that each member society should pay one unit of membership fee, which is to be determined by the council, all we can do at this point is to change the unit. The secretary proposed a motion to increase the annual membership fee to USD 500 from 2018 on. It was seconded by president Long. President Liem of Vietnam's Physical Society mentioned that for some societies making payments abroad is difficult no matter how small the fee may be, and measures should be sought to keep these societies from leaving the association. President Long said the amount of the fee and the technical problem of payment should be separated. As a result of the vote the increase to $500 USD was unanimously approved. Secretary Yokoyama mentioned that even after this increase we would still need much more income and one possible way was to introduce a nonflat membership fee rate, depending on the size of the society and/or number of council members therefrom, since the current system is extremely unfair for small societies. Another possible way to obtain revenue would be to seek income from conferences organized by divisions. But we cannot use this way too much since some divisions are still in a premature stage. Finally, the secretary mentioned that there may well be other ways to contribute to the association, e.g., organizing activities of AAPPS including education activities and hosting council meeting, and these should be properly counted as contribution.

In conclusion, President Long said we would continue discussions in these four working groups as well as the newly formed working group for APPC chaired by Xing Zhu.

(19) Proposal of the 36th council meeting

The Malaysian delegate proposed to have the next council meeting on December 3, 2017, just before the Fifth International Meeting on Frontiers of Physics in Kuala Lumpur. Seunghwan Kim proposed to extend his original proposal to November 2018 with possible extra OGM to make the room for this meeting with a proper interval. The date and the venue were agreed upon and President Long announced that it would also be an extended council meeting with presidents of member societies and division chairs, but there would also be a session of council members only. This will be a good occasion to meet the local individuals in charge of the next APPC.

(20) Three scientific talks were presented by Mitsuru Kikuchi, on Introduction of DPP activities with particular emphasis on magnetic fusion facilities in Asia, by Kazuhiro Tanaka on major accelerator facilities for nuclear physics in Asia Pacific, and by Hyoung Joon Choi on Dirac semimetal phase in two-dimentional black phosphorus.

(21) The extended council meeting was adjourned after presenting a commemorative plate to past President Seunghwan Kim and to past President Shoji Nagamiya, which was received by Tohru Motobayashi on past President Nagamiya's behalf.