The SPS continues to surf on a successful wave thanks to the strong commitment of its executive committee members. Particularly important for our society is the excellent work done by S. Albietz in our secretariat office in Basel and by F. Erkadoo who keeps track of our finances.
As usual a large part of our activity focussed on the annual meeting which took place at the University of Basel in June 2010. Over 500 participants came to Basel for the two days conference where about 180 talks and as many posters were presented within the 9 parallel sessions. The success of the conference can undoubtedly be attributed to the large participation of the members of the three NCCRs MaNEP, NANO, QP as well as of the CCMX (Material Science and Technology) and the Division of Polymers and Colloids of the Swiss Chemical Society. The presence of many students animated the poster sessions, the discussions at coffee breaks and the 17 stands of the exhibitors. A review of the meeting can be found in the SPG Mitteilungen Nr. 32. At the SPS prize ceremony 2010, Erik van Heumen (Uni Genève) received the IBM prize, Sandra Foletti (ETH & Harvard) received the OC Oerlikon prize, whereas the ABB prize was awarded to to Konstantinos G. Lagoudakis (EPFL). The SPS honorary membership was awarded to five members, namely Professors Hans Beck, Øystein Fischer, Hans-Joachim Güntherodt, T. Maurice Rice and Louis Schlapbach for their outstanding scientific contributions and promotion of physics at the Swiss level.
During the General Assembly changes in the bylaws were voted to agree with the proposed new membership fees and the new categories of members which became effective on January 2011. The new section "History of Physics" was approved and is now headed by Jan Lacki (Uni Genève). Antoine Pochelon became our new secretary in replacement of Bernhard Braunecker, who is in charge of our "SPS Communications" as scientific editor.
We are confident that the SPS Communications has become an interesting source of information to our members in particular with the high quality articles of the rubriques "Progress in Physics", or "Physics and Society". Within the series 'Physics Anecdotes' we also wish to give the word to leading scientists who can share with us their own personal professional experience, their memories and be the witness of their own generation.
It is a great pleasure to acknowledge here a list of new collective members of our society. These are the Physics Departments of the Universities of Basel, Geneva, Zürich, of the ETHZ as well as the Laboratoire de Physique des Hautes Energies (LPHE) at the EPFL. In addition three student associations have marked their interest for the SPS by becoming members, namely the "Verein der Mathematik und Physikstudierenden (VMP) der ETHZ", the "Association des Etudiant(e)s en Physique, de l'Université de Genève" (AEP), and the "Fachverein Physik der Universität Zürich" (FPU). We are particularly grateful to all the persons who have been involved in this action. The contribution of the collective members is essential to the SPS in its various tasks and engagements for the Swiss physics community at large.
Among the different events let us mention the symposium organized by the SPS and PGZ on 2 October 2010 at the University of Zürich entitled "Die Wissenexplosion: Chancen und Risiken - Wissenschaftskommunikation im Zeitalter elektronischer Medien" (cf. Mitteilungen Nr. 33). Four speakers were invited to share their ideas on the various aspects of today's scientific communication issues. These were Jürgen Galler (Google, Zürich), Christian Speicher (NZZ, Zürich), Ursula Renold (BBT, Bern) and Heinz Bonfadelli (Uni Zürich). This type of joint symposium is planned to take place every second year.
Noteworthy is also the celebration of the 50 years of the laser organized by Antoine Weis, head of our section Atomic Physics and Quantum Optics, and his colleagues of the Universities of Bern (June 2010) and Fribourg (Nov. 2010) under the title "50 Jahre Laser - der Tanz der Photonen".
The Young Physicists Forum is gaining momentum thanks to the strong support of the student organisation VPM at the ETHZ. A visit sponsored by SPS took place at the Centre de Recherches en Physique des Plasmas (CRPP) of the EPFL on 22 Nov. 2010. Sixty motivated ETHZ students made the trip to Lausanne. This succesful event will be followed by a visit of the ABB Laboratory in Dättwil on 18 April 2011 and of the IBM Laboratory in Rüschlikon on 30 May 2011.
In a well established tradition, the SPS continues to sponsor the Swiss Physics Olympiads and the Swiss Young Physicists Tournament in their respective activities, thanks to the financial support of SCNAT. At the annual celebration of the Swiss Physics Olympiads, which took place in Aarau in April 2010, the two prizes of the SPS were awarded to the best finalists of the national contest who qualified for the international contest in Croatia. Timon Gehr (Kantonschule Trogen AR) and a young woman Janine Thoma (Kantonschule Willisau LU) were the happy awardees.
The contact to our partner SATW should be intensified: On their side new organisational structures are introduced to focus more on the early detection of new technologies and new social processes like changes in education, where they need input from professionals like our SPS-members in industry and teaching; on our side we could profit from their numerous activities and social contacts.
Christophe Rossel, SPS President, March 2011