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Report on the 11th AAPPS Ordinary General Meeting


Vol.32 (Dec) 2022 | Article no.40-4 2022

The 11th Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) of the Association of Asia Pacific Physical Societies (AAPPS) was held in a hybrid format from 1:04 p.m. to 3:27 p.m. (UTC+9hr) on August 21, 2022. The in-person venue was the physics department’s faculty meeting room at Yonsei University, Seoul, which was connected online via a Zoom session hosted by the Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics (APCTP). The participants were Jun'ichi Yokoyama (president, in person), Hyoung Joon Choi (vice president, in person), Nobuko Naka (secretary), Keun-Young Kim (treasurer, in person), and official representatives of member societies Kirrily Rule (proxy of Sven Rogge, Australian Institute of Physics (AIP)), Gui-Lu Long (ex officio member as a former president, editor-in-chief, and proxy of Jie Zhang, the Chinese Physical Society, Beijing), Xun-Li Wang (president of the Physical Society of Hong Kong), Vandana Nanal (proxy of S. Ramakrishnan, Indian Physics Association), Setsuko Tajima (president of the Physical Society of Japan (JPS)), Toshiro Hiramoto (president of the Japan Society of Applied Physics (JSAP)), Akira Yamada (proxy of Toshiro Hiramoto for the election, JSAP), Tae Won Noh (president of the Korean Physical Society (KPS), in person), Tou Teck Yong (president of the Malaysian Institute of Physics), Michael Francis Ian Vega II (proxy of Elmer Estacio, Physics Society of the Philippines), Rajdeep Singh Rawat (proxy of Christian Kurtsiefer, Institute of Physics Singapore), Ying-Jer Kao (president of the Physical Society located in Taipei), Bobomurat Ahmedov (proxy of Kadyr Gulamov, Council of Uzbekistan Physicists), and Nguyen Quang Liem (proxy of Nguyen Dai Hung, Vietnam Physical Society). Present as observers were council members Mio Murao (JPS), Kurunathan Ratnavelu (Malaysian Institute of Physics), Kadyr Gulamov (president of the Council of Uzbekistan Physicists, in person), Yunkyu Bang (president of APCTP, in person), Jae-Hyung Jeon (executive director of APCTP, in person), Mirim Lee (academic support staff, APCTP, in person), Sojin Park (academic support staff, APCTP, in person), and Kyeongtak Ryu (academic support staff, APCTP, in person). Official representatives T. A. Kozhamkulov (president of the Kazakh Physical Society), Nilam Shrestha Pradhan (president of the Nepal Physical Society), Riaz Ahmed (president of the Pakistan Physical Society), and Boonrucksar Soonthornthum (president of the Thai Physics Society) were absent.

(1) Secretary Naka reported the presence of 13 official representatives (including proxies) out of 20 member societies. All these official representatives present were eligible to vote and the simple majority was confirmed as seven. The minutes of the 10th Ordinary General Meeting were approved.

(2) Yokoyama opened the 11th Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) and welcomed the participants. All participants introduced themselves.

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

(4) Naka explained the procedure for the election of new council members. At the 47th Council Meeting held on December 18, 2021, the size of the next council was determined as 15(+1+1+ex officio). A call for nominations was made to the representatives of member societies and 18 nominations were received from 13 member societies. The list of the candidates and their brief CVs were circulated for the secondment. The final slate was made, which comprised of all 18 candidates seconded at least by one other member society. Naka explained that a new position, “associate council member,” was proposed and approved at the same council meeting. For more member societies to join discussions and express their opinions at council meetings, the council decided to invite one representative as an associate council member from each society that does not send council members. Associate council members have no voting rights.

The slate of 18 candidates for the next council was confirmed. Naka reported that she sent a notice on Clause 7.3 of the Constitution that member societies with unpaid fees have no voting rights at the OGM. It was confirmed that all 13 official representatives present have voting rights. Subsequently, Naka explained the election rules and conveyed a question about a tie vote. Yokoyama suggested the acceptance of both two candidates in light of the possible extension of the council size in near future, which was the next item on the agenda of this meeting. Yunkyu Bang commented that, although he is an observer and not an authority at this meeting, there is some international tradition to take the older candidate. Yokoyama stated that he would rather choose a younger candidate in such an occasion. Xun-Li Wang stated that it seems to be a more hypothetical situation and we should just proceed. He added that this is a good point for the council to consider and the rule to break a tie should be formulated. It was agreed to conduct the first round and to see the result.

Naka requested the official representatives to cast votes for up to 15 candidates in the first round. All 13 voting ballots collected were confirmed to be valid with the number of selected candidates not exceeding 15. According to the rank based on the number of votes received by each candidate, the top 15 candidates were declared elected after confirming that they received more than the simple majority. A second, tiebreaking round was not needed because the candidate in the 16th place received fewer votes than the candidate in the 15th place. The names and societies of new council members elected are listed below in alphabetical order of the name of member societies.

1. Nicole F. BELL (Australian Institute of Physics)

2. Xiudong SUN (the Chinese Physical Society, Beijing)

3. Tao XIANG (the Chinese Physical Society, Beijing)

4. Ruiqin ZHANG (the Physical Society of Hong Kong)

5. Mio MURAO (the Physical Society of Japan)

6. SHEN Qing (the Japan Society of Applied Physics)

7. Hyoung Joon CHOI (the Korean Physical Society)

8. Jae-Hyung JEON (the Korean Physical Society)

9. Keun-Young KIM (the Korean Physical Society)

10. Kurunathan RATNAVELU (Malaysian Institute of Physics)

11. Narayan Prasad CHAPAGAIN (Nepal Physical Society)

12. Rajdeep Singh RAWAT (Institute of Physics Singapore)

13. Meng-Fan LUO (the Physical Society located in Taipei)

14. VU Dinh Lam (Vietnam Physical Society)

15. Kadyr GULAMOV (Council of Uzbekistan Physicists)

Naka expressed her gratitude to the official representatives of the member societies for their active participation in the nomination and election processes, and to Ms. Dayoung Yang and her team for the excellent arrangement of election forms and email correspondences.

(5) Yokoyama proposed a possible amendment to the Constitution of AAPPS.

At the 49th Council Meeting held on July 28, 2022, the council discussed that it would be appropriate to expand the size of the council as the number of our member societies has been increasing and this trend is expected to continue. Subsequently, Yokoyama received a written proposal from Prof. Ying-Jer Kao, president of the Physical Society located in Taipei, who attended the council meeting as the proxy to Prof. Meng-Fan Luo, to increase the number of council members to broaden the representation. Yokoyama explained that its upper limit is currently determined in Clause 5.3 as 15 for those elected at the OGM, and the change needs an amendment to the Constitution. Ying-Jer Kao added that he was the only one that could make the proposal among those who were present at the meeting.

As described in Clause 9 of the Constitution, there are three steps to amend the Constitution. Yokoyama explained that a council member is not an authority to propose an amendment. The first step, defined by Clause 9.1, i.e., proposal by a member, has been filled by the message from Prof. Kao. After approval by the council, the president informed the representatives of member societies of this proposal on August 4, following Clause 9.2. Clause 9.3 states that a change in the Constitution shall require a two-thirds majority vote at a General Meeting.

Yokoyama explained that the motion is to change the phrase, ”no more than 15” to “no more than 20” in Clause 5.3, as unanimously agreed by the council. He added that the amendment, even if accepted, does not mean an immediate increase in the number of council members to 20 for the term starting from 2026. The number of new council members would be determined, within the lower and upper limits, by the outgoing council.

Yokoyama proposed that we should exchange opinions and then proceed with a vote. (See Appendix 1 for details of the discussion.) After a discussion, an open vote was proposed and conducted. The result was 7 for the change, 3 against the change, and 1 staying vote. Because a two-thirds majority was not obtained, the motion for amendment to the Constitution was rejected.

Yokoyama finally commented that there are several things to be considered about the Constitution. There are simple typos, which we would like to correct. Some timelines are too long because airmail was the most rapid means of communication at the time of the Constitution’s formulation. The mutual understanding for the council members to serve up to three terms should be explicitly stated in the Constitution. Yokoyama requested that the presidents of member societies read the Constitution and propose amendments if necessary. He noted once again that only the members of the OGM (i.e., representatives of the member societies of AAPPS) can propose an amendment to the Constitution.

(6) Yokoyama reported on the activities of the past 3 years (see Appendix 2)

Yokoyama summarized his report that we are growing in terms of the numbers of member societies, divisions, and meetings in AAPPS, although most of the activities during this term (2020–2022) were conducted on online platforms. There are some remaining issues, which were not realized in this term. The most important one is the establishment of a legal entity of AAPPS, for which Vice President Choi has been investigating the possibility in Korea. Yokoyama stated that the financial vulnerability of AAPPS has been largely helped by the APCTP, both via direct and in-kind supports. Cooperation with the European Physical Society (EPS) for the next Asia Europe Physics Summit (ASEPS) is also a remaining issue. Yokoyama emphasized that these cooperative societies truly help energize the activities of AAPPS. He concluded the report by stating that our goal is to work together to make our world more prosperous and peaceful through communications, research, and education in physics.

Xun-Li Wang appreciated the leadership of President Yokoyama and the council during this term. In the last few years of the pandemic, the Physical Society of Hong Kong was more connected with other physical societies, through AAPPS. He hopes AAPPS continues to help the community grow and increases its activities. Tou Teck Yong also expressed his gratitude to Yokoyama for his great efforts.

(7) Treasurer Keun-Young Kim reported on the financial status of AAPPS. (Refer to item 6 of the 50th Council Meeting.)

(8) Gui-Lu Long, the editor-in-chief of the AAPPS Bulletin (AB), reported on the current status of AB. (Refer to item 7 of the 50th Council Meeting.)

(9) Jae-Hyoung Jeon gave a report from APCTP as the executive director. He explained that AAPPS was one of the global associations that supported the foundation of APCTP in 1996. In 2013, the center moved from Seoul to Pohang and has been hosting the headquarters of AAPPS since 2016.

The center currently has 17 member entities and 33 partnership institutions. Its mission is to act as a hub center for academic activities. The center supports as many as 70 conferences per year and provides in-house research programs and education and training for young scientists, including Junior Research Groups, Young Scientist Training Programs, and Senior Advisory Groups. For science diplomacy, the center cooperates with AAPPS, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and AB for publication.

Since 2004, APCTP has provided support for meetings for AAPPS ($72,000 USD), has supported APPCs ($112,000 USD), and has supported AB ($231,970 USD). The support for division activities started in 2017 and amounts to $23,000 USD per year. In addition, APCTP has been providing the monetary prize of $1000 USD for each winner of the AAPPS-APCTP CN Yang Award and provided support to renovate the AB website.

Kadyr Gulamov wondered how the center manages to organize 70 conferences every year. Yunku Bang clarified that the number includes conferences and colloquiums, not only organized but also endorsed by APCTP.

(10) Yokoyama thanked the official representatives of member societies for their participation and closed the meeting.


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Appendix 1

Discussion on the council size

  • Bobomurat Ahmedov wondered why we have an even number. Yokoyama answered that 20 is the possible largest number and there are other members with a voting right in the council, such as the ex officio.

  • Michael Francis Ian Vega II was trying to understand the background of the proposal and the broader rationale of the change. He was curious about whether there was a sentiment that the current number of council members represents a severe underrepresentation among member societies. He stated that the increase in the number of AAPPS member societies does not necessarily imply underrepresentation. Yokoyama responded that the reason for the proposal is to appropriately represent member societies whose number has been increasing. Currently, some member societies are sending more than one council member.

  • Tou Teck Yong expressed his concern that it would become financially more difficult for a small society to host a council meeting and invite all of the council members, as the Malaysian Institute of Physics did on the occasion of APPC14. He imagines that a small society with a limited budget would never be able to host council meetings unless the council members pay themselves to travel to the venue. Although he appreciates that APPCs are successfully organized mostly by financially stronger, active, and supportive member societies, he is not sure whether the AAPPS council assures to help smaller societies. Tou pointed out that we might have a situation where only four countries or regions occupy the whole council.

  • Tou stated that he does not think it practical to have more council members than currently. Tou wondered why five more council members are needed for only one meeting, where a vote occurs only every 3 years. Yokoyama clarified that this situation describes an OGM, where official representatives gather once every 3 years, whereas the council itself has many more meetings.

  • Vandana Nanal focused on two points. First, due to travel restrictions and other difficulties for council members, hybrid meetings ensure wider representation. Second, regarding the size of the council, the representation of member societies in the AAPPS council appears to be not very balanced. The reason why member societies want to be a part of the council is that they want to be more interactive regarding the policies discussed in the meetings with major societies in the Asia Pacific region. She was unsure if this could be achieved simply by increasing the number of council members. As mentioned earlier (See agenda item 4), at least through the scheme of associate membership, we will be able to keep the whole council balanced without expanding its size. She suggested having associate members from all member societies. Yokoyama agreed that better representation could be realized by continuing hybrid or online meetings with the inclusion of associate council members.

  • Kirrily Rule pointed out that increasing the number of council members to 20 would not automatically give better representation to the smaller societies. She stated that the whole point of increasing the number is to give fair representation; consequently, the constitution would need to be changed even further to state that at least one member from each member society should be represented at council meetings. Tou confirmed that presently, not all the member societies that pay their respective membership fee send a council member.

  • Nanal commented that there was a discussion in the Indian Physics Association when they paid the membership fee. They want to be more associated with the Asia Pacific regional activities, and they are a member. However, the specific benefits of AAPPS membership are very difficult to explain. This will go back to the point that there is no fair representation in the council. Yokoyama welcomed the restoration of India to AAPPS with payment of all remaining membership fees. He explained that we did not receive any nomination from the Indian Physics Association although we sent the call and reminders. Yokoyama stated that active participation in the election is highly appreciated. Nanal responded that it would be now possible with an online format. She stated that there might have been some communication problems, but the community people will feel more involved if the Indian Physics Association would play a major role in AAPPS activities.

  • Wang stated that he has trouble understanding the reason for increasing the number of council members. He always had the impression that the current scheme of the council is working quite well and he finds no rationale to increase the number of members. He added that we might fail to have 20 candidates, considering that only 18 candidates were nominated for 15 seats this time. Yokoyama responded that on the other hand, all those who are interested in joining the council will be accepted if we increase the number to 20. Wang agreed that that is also true.

  • Rawat understands the point that the council should include representatives from as many societies as possible. He stated that we might probably need to qualify our tradition that both societies, which have paid or unpaid fees, can send a council member. He expressed his thoughts on the reason why a few major societies represent a high total percentage of the council. Those societies are actively participating and showing their presentations, by paying not only the membership fees but also through other contributions, as will be explained in the financial report. Namely, these five leading societies contribute strongly to the functioning of AAPPS, and their large representation in the council could be considered as real recognition of their respective societies’ contributions to AAPPS. As the Constitution was formulated 30 years ago, we need to think about its updates. One of the past drawbacks of the operation of AAPPS was that council meetings were held only on-site and participation from smaller member societies was not easy. A positive change is the possibility for online meetings, where we could be more inclusive. He summarizes that we will have to look into not only the number of council members but also several factors in the Constitution itself.

  • Yokoyama stated that, as pointed out by Prof. Tou, a council consisting of members of only four societies is in principle possible but would never happen because an equal voting right is offered to each member society at the OGM. This is indeed observed in today’s election result (see item 4), where some member societies had sent more than one nomination and they were not fully elected. The current scheme is working well and the council concluded that just increasing the numbers should work.

Appendix 2

Presidential report

Yokoyama has been serving as the president of AAPPS since January 2020. The start of the term was just after the outbreak of Covid-19. Therefore, AAPPS activities were mostly restricted to online ones. So far, council meetings were held nine times (from the 43rd to the 50th Council Meetings, including the 44th: Parts I and II). Previously, the council meetings were held on-site and only once a year as it cost too much for council members to directly meet more frequently. Thanks to the development of the online platform, many more council meetings were held this term than previously.

At the beginning of Yokoyama’s term, there were 18 member societies. There are now 20 member societies, as Uzbekistan and Pakistan have now joined AAPPS. The Physics Society of Iran also expressed interest to join and will deliver a presentation at a future council meeting for approval of membership. In comparison, IUPAP has 60 member societies and AAPPS has a significant percentage of the physicists in the world. Yokoyama showed the list of officers, current council members, and their member societies and explained that five societies are providing extra support in addition to the membership fees.

The council organized the Asia Pacific Physical Societies’ Forum in November 2021, at which 14 member societies and the Council of Uzbekistan Physicists delivered presentations. India, Nepal, and the Philippines have also rejoined the activities of AAPPS.

The headquarters of AAPPS is hosted by and located at APCTP in Pohang, Korea. Yokoyama acknowledged support from APCTP to AAPPS and stated that this meeting is attended by Yunkyu Bang, the president of APCTP, and Jae-Hyung Jeon, the executive director of APCTP. The memorandum of understanding between APCTP and AAPPS was first signed in 2011 and has been automatically renewed every 5 years.

The main activities of AAPPS consist of publication of the AAPPS Bulletin, organization of APPCs and Asia Europe Physics Summit (ASEPS) meetings, selection and awarding of the CN Yang Award, and division activities.

The next APPC (APPC16) is planned to take place in Beijing in 2025. Yokoyama discussed with the European Physical Society (EPS) to resume a face-to-face meeting of ASEPS, which had been suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The next ASEPS will be hosted in Europe.

In 2017, the previous council determined the rules on sponsorship, co-sponsorship, and endorsement of AAPPS activities, under the former President Long. Part of the rule will soon be promoted to the Code of Conduct, whose draft was approved at the 50th Council Meeting. AAPPS has provided support to the conferences held in Malaysia in 2021, Nepal in 2021, and Thailand in 2022. Some speakers were sent to these conferences from the AAPPS council and member societies. The main scope of the conference in Thailand was applied physics, and two plenary speakers were recommended by JSAP, which has been providing extra financial support to AAPPS activities. Yokoyama has so far attended 10 meetings as the president.

The CN Yang Awards are currently disbursed in partnership between AAPPS and APCTP every year. Yokoyama acknowledged APCTP for supporting the prize money for three awardees every year and holding ceremonies in the years between the APPCs. It has been pointed out that in order to attract a greater audience to the award ceremony, it may be better to have the ceremony at an annual meeting of the member society to which the awardee belongs. Yokoyama requested the official representatives to consider the feasibility of this change. He also stated that he welcomes opinions on how we should incorporate gender, geographical, and subject balances.

Sparked by Yokoyama’s participation at a meeting of the Physical Society located in Taipei, the AAPPS-XPS Award was proposed as a joint award for talented young researchers, where X represents the initial letter of the member society’s name. The joint award of the Physical Society located in Taipei launched as a pilot program and the first-year prizes were already provided to three researchers from the Physical Society located in Taipei. The winners received gold medal plates from AAPPS, which were donated by the AAPPS president, and monetary prizes from the Physical Society located in Taipei. At the 49th Council Meeting, the guidelines for establishing such an award were formulated and approved (the related material has been sent to the presidents of member societies by e-mail). JPS is also planning to establish a joint award in a different format. Yokoyama stated that these new joint awards will enhance the visibility of AAPPS, similarly to the IUPAP’s Early Career Scientist Prize (formally the Young Scientist Prize), which has spread the visibility of IUPAP among young researchers.

There were three divisions when Yokoyama’s term began. The Division of Plasma Physics (DPP) was the first division created under AAPPS and has its own review journal. The Division of Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravitation (DACG) organizes annual conferences and schools. In the Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP), the Asian Nuclear Physics Association (ANPhA) acts as the division and conducts many activities. The Division of Condensed Matter Physics (DCMP) is the newest division, established in January 2021, which covers all the fields of condensed matter physics. AAPPS has a similar division structure as the 12 divisions of the EPS, but has not reached a stationary state yet. The foundation of the Division of Particles and Fields is underway and that of the Division of Computational Physics is under discussion.

Women-in-Physics activities are important in AAPPS. On Tuesday August 23, 2022, Women-in-Physics sessions will be held at APPC15. In some countries in Asia, such as Malaysia and Myanmar, the majority of physicists are women. Some of the members of DNP are organizing education programs to support physicists in Myanmar, who have difficulties under military rule.

[Source: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s43673-022-00066-z]