Annual Report 2006

The year 2006 was mainly "The Year after the World Year of Physics”. After the tremendous success of the 2005 projects in universities, schools and museums, it was an important goal to keep momentum and to work on consolidation of the education and outreach projects we started in the year before. We took advantage of the improved media coverage. Not only the fact that physics is an interesting and demanding field of study, it opens a variety of possibilities for future careers. A leflet, dedicated to high school students, has been developed where the various career options are described by means of case examples. We were happy to have obtained contributions from prominent physicists like Otto Piller, Heinrich Rohrer and others.
Although last year’s campaigns resulted in a small increase of memberships, the committee started to develop a long-term program to win more physicists to join the society. We focussed on young researchers and on teachers. The first contact with the Swiss Mathematics and Phyics Teachers Association VSMP was fruitful and some collaborations have already started during the preparation of the annual assembly 2007. Soon, a flyer describing the SPS and its goals will be released together with the presentation of our new website.

The annual meeting 2006 held in Lausanne attracted more than 600 participants, following the concept of the “Woodstock of Neuchâtel” two years ago. The three physics-related National Centres of Competence in Research “Nanoscale Science”, “Quantum Photonics” and “Materials with Novel Electronic Properties” held three topical sessions. Additionally, sessions on other topics i.e. magnetism enriched the scientific program. A plenary session, giving a concise overview of the large research programs followed by the traditional prize giving ceremony, was held. At the general assembly we had to say good-bye to our president Jean-Philippe Ansermet who conducted the SPS the last four years. Also our vice-president Andreas Züttel left the committee. Ansermet and Züttel were succeeded by Christophe Rossel, researcher at IBM Rüschlikon and Pierangelo Gröning, Vice-director of EMPA. Later in the year, Ernst Ramseier from Leica Geosystems joined the committee, replacing Jacques Schmitt for Industrial Physics.

During the year, we learned that, according to some unconfirmed information, the SPS was founded in 1908. If so, the centenary has to be prepared for 2008. We took a look into our archives and tried to reconstruct the society’s history. Unfortunately, the archives are highly incomplete and our first try failed. In the mean time Alessandra Hool, a Science historian, did an excellent job. She was able to reconstruct a huge part of our history and we are confident of the success of her research work. One thing is sure already: We will celebrate the centenary in 2008.

The year 2007 will be dedicated to the tercentenary of the the birthday of the great Swiss mathematician and scientist Leonhard Euler. We are curious to see whether the success will be comparable to the World Year of Physics 2005.

Tibor Gyalog, December 13th, 2006