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Report on the 48th AAPPS Video Council Meeting


Vol.32 (Oct) 2022 | Article no.32 2022

The 48th Council Meeting of the Association of Asia Pacific Physical Societies (AAPPS) was held online from 4:30 p.m. to 6:48 p.m. (UTC+9hr) on May 26, 2022, via a Zoom session hosted by the Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics (APCTP). The participants were Jun'ichi Yokoyama (president), Hyoung Joon Choi (vice president), Nobuko Naka (secretary), Keun-Young Kim (treasurer), Gui-Lu Long (ex officio member as a former president), and council members Tao Xiang (the Chinese Physical Society, Beijing), Xiu-dong Sun (the Chinese Physical Society, Beijing), Ruiqin Zhang (the Physical Society of Hong Kong), Mio Murao (the Physical Society of Japan (JPS)), Akira Yamada (the Japan Society of Applied Physics (JSAP)), Woo-Sung Jung (the Korean Physical Society (KPS)), Kurunathan Ratnavelu (Malaysian Institute of Physics), Rajdeep Singh Rawat (Institute of Physics Singapore), Fu-Jen Kao (the Physical Society located in Taipei), and Nguyen Quang Liem (Vietnam Physical Society). Present as observers were Anisa Qamar (Pakistan Physical Society), Yunkyu Bang (president of APCTP), Jae-Hyung Jeon (executive director of APCTP), Mirim Lee (AAPPS liaison staff member), and Dayoung Yang (AAPPS liaison and editorial staff member). Council members Jodie Bradby (Australian Institute of Physics (AIP)) and Meng-Fan Luo (the Physical Society located in Taipei) were absent and Ying-Jer Kao (the Physical Society located in Taipei) was present as a proxy on behalf of Luo.

(1) Secretary Naka reported the presence of 13 council members (including the proxy) out of 17 council members, and the quorum was declared as fulfilled. [Note: the number of council members present during the 48th Council Meeting changed from 13 to 16.] She informed that the minutes of the 47th Council Meeting were circulated and already published in the AAPPS Bulletin.

(2) President Yokoyama opened the 48th Council Meeting and welcomed the participants. The agenda was adopted as prepared by the president.

(3) Yokoyama explained that some months ago there was an application for membership to AAPPS by the Pakistan Physical Society and introduced Anisa Qamar, the immediate past president of the Pakistan Physical Society. As a representative of the society, Qamar explained the history and current status of the Pakistan Physical Society and their desire to join AAPPS.

Prof. Abdus Salam arranged the 1974 International Nathiagali Summer College, and at this event, Pakistani physicists decided to establish a formal professional body. In 1986, the establishment of a national society of physics was proposed at the National Symposium on Frontiers in Physics. In March 1990, the government of Pakistan formally acknowledged the Pakistan Physical Society. The main objectives of the society are to promote and advance physics, to acknowledge and support excellent researchers and teachers of physics, and to foster linkages between Pakistan and societies/institutions worldwide. Major activities of the society include the organization of conferences and workshops through five local chapters, conducting of executive council and general-body meetings, and awarding prizes. The society offers four categories of membership, as a fellow, honorary fellow, member, or an associate member. A graduate student, holding at least a BS degree or equivalent, is eligible to apply to become a member. Subscription rates are categorized into annual and lifetime fees. Funds of the society are derived from membership fees, grants from the government or international bodies, and donations. The Pakistan Physical Society has, at present, an executive council and five divisions (plasma physics, high-energy physics, condensed matter physics, atomic and molecular optical physics, and women in physics).

Yokoyama asked if the government of Pakistan automatically renews funds every year. Qamar answered that the society applies for a grant every year because at the governmental level, Pakistan’s financial situation is sometimes unstable. Last year, the society made amendments of the constitution and introduced field divisions. The joint sector of all divisions has just started. Qamar was the first female president in the society. She expects that there will be a great deal of progress in different fields in the coming years. The society has organized the first regional e-conference in January 2022 in connection with the centennial celebration of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), which was attended by 10–11 eminent speakers and approximately 200 participants.

Kurunathan Ratnavelu commented that a treasurer position is missing in the executive council of the Pakistan Physical Society. Qamar answered that the society does not have a governmental fund yet and they will appoint a treasurer when it becomes necessary. Ratnavelu wondered if approval by the government will be needed once again after significant amendments of the constitution are made. Qamar responded that it will not be needed as the amendments would change only minimal aspects of the constitution.

Yunkyu Bang, the president of APCTP, stated that Prof. Abdus Salam, who had initiated the foundation of the Pakistan Physical Society, also played an important role in the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP). ICTP and APCTP share the same mission of promoting theoretical physics. APCTP has 17 member countries covering almost all countries in the Asia Pacific region but he noted that a very important society is still missing. Bang invited the Pakistan Physical Society to join APCTP. Qamar showed interest and promised to conduct further discussions.

After Qamar left the meeting, Yokoyama asked whether the council members approve of the Pakistan Physical Society becoming the 20th member of AAPPS. Woo-Sung Jung pointed out that the decision should be made via vote. In the vote, all 15 council members present agreed and the application by the Pakistan Physical Society was unanimously approved.

(4) Vice President Choi reported on the status of preparations for APPC15. The deadline for abstract submission has been extended to May 31st. The number of confirmed invited speakers is 360, excluding those in the Division of Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravitation (DACG), the Division of Nuclear Physics, and the Division of Plasma Physics (DPP). Already 250 abstracts were submitted from invited speakers (110 are to be reminded). The original plan of having 400 invited speakers will be reached after including speakers from the three listed divisions. At present, the total number of contributed and poster presentations is 140, which corresponds to only 25% of the original plan of 400 contributed talks plus 200 poster presentations. Choi expects more than 90 additional abstracts from DPP. He stated that at APPC15, contributed talks by graduate students as well as by researchers and professors are encouraged. Altogether, we may have approximately 600 abstracts, which is less than the original goal of 1,000 abstracts. Choi would consider it to be a success if we reach 800 abstracts at APPC15.

Registration was planned to start on May 25th but was delayed for a couple of days due to technical issues. The registration fee for middle- and high-school teachers and retired professors will be exempted following the policy of KPS. It should be noted that the exemption is not automatic and requires contact to the secretariat by email. Rajdeep Singh Rawat asked if the exemption is only applied to Korean participants. Choi answered that it is not restricted to Koreans. The temporal list of the invited speakers and titles of submitted abstracts were shown. The opening time of APPC15 will be at 9 am. One room will be prepared for a hybrid session on Sunday and Monday, in which the council meeting (CM), ordinary general meeting (OGM), opening ceremony, and the special sessions, including the Global Physics Summit and the Role of Physics in the Green Economy, will be held.

KPS will provide hotel rooms for those who will come for the CM/OGM. The housing and meals for three nights and four days, starting from Saturday, will be supported. Inside Korea, only two rules regarding COVID-19 remain: masks must be worn indoors and one must self-isolate at home for seven days after testing positive for omicron. If you pass the COVID test when you enter Korea, you can go out of the airport without quarantine. It is expected that the Korean government will eventually announce the lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions and that COVID-19 infections will be treated similarly to an ordinary cold. Airports in Korea are not as convenient to use as compared to pre-pandemic times, but the COVID-19 infection rates are presently low inside Korea. Yokoyama asked if there is a vaccination requirement for travelers entering into Korea. Bang mentioned that foreigners need a certificate of vaccination from their own country. One of the difficulties for participants may be flight costs, which are becoming quite high. The presidents of member societies are invited to participate in the Global Physics Summit. They can participate in person or virtually. Yokoyama confirmed that the onsite venue is at Yonsei University. Yokoyama stated that arriving in Korea is one thing but returning to home countries could cause another problem. When returning to Japan, travelers need to take a PCR test no earlier than three days before the returning flight. Rawat stated that returning to Singapore is even simpler, as there is no need for a PCR test. Rawat thanked Choi for his support to the council members.

Rawat asked Choi if they provide any registration-fee waiver or even partial waiver to the participants with financial difficulties. Choi responded that, although he recognizes the need and difficulties, it is hard to waive the registration fee. Choi added that speakers had to travel previously for APPC14 held in Malaysia, and the support provided was usually limited to their travel. Ratnavelu explained that at APPC14, such participants paid the registration fee for the commitment and then we covered the airfare. However, this time, the only expense is the registration fee. Choi concluded that simply waiving the registration fee is not easy. A significant expense arises as we have more than 10 parallel sessions for five days. Regardless, the registration fee of APPC15 is lower than that for the online participant of the March Meeting of the American Physical Society (APS), which was planned in a hybrid format.

Tao Xiang asked if the receipt of 200 more abstracts is only expected for poster presentations. Choi clarified that both poster presentations and contributed talks (with 300 more slots compared to the original plan) are expected. Yokoyama wondered if the participants prefer the poster format. Choi responded that some students, who are not confident in English, might prefer the poster presentation. Rawat asked if prerecorded presentations are advised for participants who are not comfortable with live oral contributions or have an Internet connection issue. In some conferences, a question-and-answer time is designated following the playback of each prerecorded presentation. Choi stated that live talks are encouraged and a recorded presentation will be accepted as an exception when the speaker absolutely needs to do so. Meanwhile, all poster presenters can submit recorded explanations. The poster session will be held in a metaverse platform where participants appear as avatars. The same poster session room was used at the KPS Spring Meeting, which was convenient and interesting for participants but quite expensive.

Yokoyama asked how many plenary speakers were fixed. Choi answered that 11 speakers out of 14 planned were fixed. He added that three or more additional plenary speakers can be included in the session by changing the last parallel session. He hopes that member societies of AAPPS further encourage submissions for contributed talks and posters.

(5) Yokoyama stated that he received one proposal for the venue of APPC16, which was from the Chinese Physical Society, Beijing.

As a brief introduction to the Chinese Physical Society, Beijing, founded in 1932, Xiang explained that the membership is now 40,000 and there are eight working groups and 32 committees. The society organizes approximately 100 conferences and meetings annually. The executive board comprises the president and six vice presidents. The annual Fall Meeting, held two years ago, was attended by more than 5,000 participants.

Subsequently, Xiang introduced the proposal from the Chinese Physical Society, Beijing, to host APPC16 at the China National Convention Center in Beijing in the autumn of 2025. He explained that the convention center and the hotel are located at a very convenient place within the Beijing Olympic Green and right next to the Bird’s Nest. 100 meeting rooms and advanced audio-visual facilities are available in the convention center. A total of 5000 rooms can be provided at the hotels. The preliminary conference dates are October 7–11, 2025. The budget plan consists of registration fees, funds from the municipal and central governments, on-site exhibiting companies, and publishers. As a point of reference, the Chinese Physical Society, Beijing, also successfully organized APPC11 in Shanghai. Xiang hopes that COVID-19 will not be a serious problem for the conference in 2025 and would work under the assumption that the conference will be held in an in-person format. To summarize, the Chinese Physical Society, Beijing, is well-positioned to host APPC16.

Following the explanation by Xiang, Fu-Jen Kao proposed holding the conference in 2024. He stated that considering the recent progress of AAPPS, including increasing regional exchange activities, holding APPC every two years is worth considering. Xiang responded that the tradition has been to hold APPC every three years but that he passes the decision to AAPPS. Gui-Lu Long reminded that the former council members had previously discussed this issue, but the conclusion was to hold APPC every three years in conjunction with the council term and OGM. Kao commented that APPC does not have to synchronize with the council term. Yokoyama stated that another option is to have it every year, by simply associating APPC with a local society meeting or a division meeting. Yokoyama added that unlike the former time, now we have four divisions, each of which organizes its annual meetings, and the CN Yang Award was changed from every three years to a yearly award. Bang stated that although he is not qualified to say anything about this issue as an observer, APCTP made remarkable progress in every direction these years and we should take this opportunity for the further rapid growth of our community, as an equal counterpart to the European Physical Society (EPS) and APS. He supported Kao’s suggestion of the interval of every two years as a timely change.

Yokoyama mentioned that it depends largely on how many member societies show interest in hosting the conference. Long expressed the same concern. Rawat suggested talking with different societies and people, as both leadership and a great deal of work are required to hold a conference. Long stated that we will lower the target number of participants from 1000 to 800. Kao pointed out that an annual meeting of a local society helps to increase the target. Long suggested holding APPC every three years, while inviting AAPPS scholars to join the AAPPS sessions included in a national conference in the other two years. Yokoyama agreed that some of the divisions may organize such a joint meeting and it is a good way to start holding more frequent APPCs. Choi stated that in order to have APPC more frequently, the preparations should be done more systematically, e.g., by utilizing the same website and contact network as used for annual meetings organized by local societies. To reduce labor and costs, Choi pointed out the need for a committee to handle these matters for APPC.

Kao proposed setting up an APPC working group (WG) under AAPPS. If we have a long-term view of increased activities in the Asia Pacific region, then it will be good to have an APPC WG whose members do not change every year. Choi stated that it will be helpful when we have more divisions in the near future. Rawat supported the suggestion of setting the APPC WG as a subcommittee, just like the CN Yang Award committee under AAPPS. Yokoyama suggested proposing the new WG at a council meeting in August, so that more member societies can participate in the organization of APPC.

Considering the situation with COVID-19 and current travel restrictions, Xiang suggested holding the next APPC in 2025, with the anticipation that international travel will become more normal. In the future, if more societies are interested in hosting APPC, then we can consider having it every two years. Choi supported the proposal by Xiang and added that the actual preparations for APPC will start in 2024. Had we planned to hold APPC16 in 2024, then there would have been more uncertainty regarding the evolving state of the COVID-19 pandemic, as preparations would need to begin in 2023.

When the call for applications was made, Yokoyama asked if a membership fee could be put on top of the registration fee. Rawat commented that it depends on local laws. Long explained that a local account is difficult to open in China. Xiang stated that the money potentially derived from membership fees would be a small amount and it would be better to get support from industries and from publishers. Yokoyama also asked if there is any possibility to associate with a local event. Xiang explained that the annual meeting of the Chinese Physical Society, Beijing, would not be held in Beijing during that time frame and that APPC will be an independent meeting. Yokoyama added that the size of APPC is much smaller than that of the annual meetings of the society, and as such, association with a local event would not be appropriate.

Yokoyama concluded that we shall endorse the Chinese Physical Society, Beijing, to host APPC16 in Beijing in 2025, and that we shall consider establishing a WG to discuss whether future APPCs should be held in shorter intervals. These proposals were unanimously agreed upon by the council members.

(6) Rawat, the chair of the selection committee of the CN Yang Award 2022, reported on the current status of the selection process. Rawat expressed his thanks to Dayoung Yang for her exceptionally good work. We have received 31 nominations from nine different fields and the preselection process has been completed. The final selection stage is to set up a meeting in the coming week or so. The timeline is slightly behind the schedule but conducting the final selection in June should be fine.

(7) Yokoyama reported on the progress regarding the preparation of the code of conduct for AAPPS. He has collected the respective codes of conduct from various societies and associations, such as JPS, JSAP, AIP, KPS (only in Korean, but President Noh provided an English version of the publication code), EPS, and APS. The rules of endorsement, prepared by former President Long, could be used as a part of the code of conduct for AAPPS. Yokoyama asked the council members to send him the code of conduct of their respective member societies if an English version exists. After compiling the collected codes with the members of the code-of-conduct WG, a draft will be proposed in a future council meeting.

(8) Yokoyama reported on the cosponsoring of conferences.

The Thai Physics Society previously asked for the nomination of plenary speakers for the Siam Physics Congress (SPC2022) in Thailand, to be held in June. As the focus of the conference is carbon neutrality, which is applied physics rather than fundamental physics, Yokoyama asked Akira Yamada of JSAP for a recommendation. Yamada kindly found two plenary speakers. The Thai Physics Society also asked AAPPS for financial support. Although we usually do not support such a conference, Yokoyama considered this event to be a worthy opportunity to use a part of $5000 USD, which was provided by JSAP on top of their membership fee. Yokoyama discussed with the vice president, treasurer, and secretary and a contribution of $1500 USD was allocated.

We have already provided $2000 USD of financial support to the Nepal Physical Society for an international conference (ICFP2022), which virtually refills the unpaid membership fees. The Nepal Physical Society asked for speakers to be nominated, and Long, Yokoyama, and Choi attended the conference as plenary speakers.

(9) Naka reported on the status regarding the induction of the next group of council members. We have so far received 12 candidates from nine member societies. She will make a slate soon after the nomination deadline on May 31st and circulate it to the presidents of the member societies for secondment. She pointed out a few typos in the bylaws and constitution, which should be discussed at the OGM in August.

(10) Long briefly explained the current status of the AAPPS Bulletin (AB). He mentioned the editorial board structure and the continued cooperation with Springer Nature and the improved citations of AB. There were 115 total citations in 2021, which was a remarkable improvement as compared to previous years. Articles in high-energy physics, particle physics, plasma physics, and bioscience contributed significantly. There were a total of 18 citations for 23 articles published in 2021, which means an estimated impact factor of 5, and there was a significant jump from 2020 to 2021 in terms of the quality of the papers.

A problem lies in the small number of publications. Presently, a large percentage of the article publishing charge (APC) has been paid for by APCTP. If we could have AB included in the Web of Science and Scopus, Long posits that there would then be more free submissions and then AB could run self-sustainably by the APC collected from the authors. He asked Mio Murao, an expert on quantum information, to contribute and for Choi to make a call to APPC15 participants to request the submission of their best articles to AB.

News and Views are published as one item, electronically, every two months, on the Springer Nature website. The articles are separated in the printed version with a table of contents to allow the readers to access them more easily. This year, four or five original research papers were accepted. A few days ago, AB received an email from EPS asking to publish one of the papers in AB as an article in EPS Newsletters. This shows that AB is getting noticed by EPS. Yokoyama mentioned that AB previously published one article from EPS and EPS published one article from AB. Regarding the editorial board members, Long asked council members for recommendations and, in particular, for recommendations for individuals with backgrounds in applied physics. The senior editors come from member societies, and editors are appointed on an expertise basis. Yokoyama expressed his gratitude to Bang for APCTP’s financial support.

(11) Treasurer K.-Y. Kim gave a brief report on the financial status of AAPPS. The balance is 85,873,176 KRW or $71,560 USD, in addition to the Leo Koguan Foundation’s $36,500 USD (with $10,000 USD excluded for AB). The only expense last year was the establishment fee for the Division of Condensed Matter Physics and up to now, this year’s only expense was the support of $1500 USD for SPC2022 held in Thailand. The account statements include membership fees (bank transfers from Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam are outstanding [*]), AB contributions, and support from APCTP of $468,360 USD. DACG has been supporting and will continue to support the domain fee of $113 USD until 2025. [*Note: payments by the Malaysian Institute of Physics, the Physics Society of the Philippines, and the Vietnam Physical Society were subsequently confirmed.]

(12) Yokoyama announced that the next council meeting will be organized online sometime in late July or early August 2022. The main agenda of the OGM in August will be to report on our activities of the last 2.5 years. Long asked Choi to send invitations and hotel information to the council members.


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[Source: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s43673-022-00061-4]