Once again, one of the highlights of 2011 for the SPS was its successful annual meeting organized at the EPFL in Lausanne on 15-17 June 2011, jointly with the Austrian Physical Society (ÖPG), and both national societies of Astronomy and Astrophysics (SSAA and ÖGAA). It was very well attended with about 650 participants, 10 plenary talks, 470 contributions spread over 10 parallel sessions and one large poster session. The commercial exhibitions reached a record number of 22 company booths. One can claim without any doubt that the formula of having our meeting every other year with our Austrian colleagues is a success. The meeting 2013 is therefore already planned in Vienna for early September.
The organization of the alternating meetings with the Swiss NCCRs and other invited learned societies has also proven to be an excellent and appreciated means to make this event attractive to the Swiss community. A detailed review of the meeting 2011 was published in the SPS Communications No 35 and on our website.
Worth remembering is the celebration of the centennial of the discovery of superconductivity with dedicated talks, a lively round table in presence of the two Nobel Laureates K. A. Müller and J. G. Bednorz and a special exhibition.
Based on the success of the session on Geophysics, it was proposed to create a new section named "Earth, Atmosphere and Environmental Physics". A dedicated session on this topic is planned in our next annual meeting at the ETHZ on 21-22 June 2012.
During the joint award ceremony the three SPS awards as well as several prizes of the ÖPG were attributed. During this ceremony the honorary membership was conferred to four new members.
At the General Assembly, two new board members have been elected; several others have been reelected (see minutes).
It is with pleasure that the SPS endorsed also the new membership of CHIPP, the Swiss Institute of Particle Physics, presided by Martin Pohl, within SCNAT. It trusts that this sister organization will strengthen science in general and physics in particular in association with the SPS.
The number of individual members keeps increasing steadily with about 1250 by the end of 2011. This enjoyable trend goes in parallel with the strong increase of collective members - renamed ‘associate’ members in the future - found among the different departments of physics, research organizations and physics student associations.
Because of improved financial incomes (membership, exhibition) but also because of stronger control of our expenses (reduction of publication and mailing costs) the negative trend of the last three years has been stopped and our budget 2011 ended again in the black with a slight earning.
Thanks to the excellent work of our scientific editor B. Braunecker, the SPS Bulletin continues to be a valuable source of information with society news, and the now well established topical rubriques 'Progress in Physics', 'Physics and Society' and 'Physics Anecdotes'.
In our collaboration with the Physikalische Gesellschaft Zurich (PGZ), a joint Symposium on "Careers for Physicists" was organized on the 25 October 2011. The student associations of the SPS Young Physicists Forum (YPF), VMP (ETHZ), FPU (Uni. Zürich) and FG14 (Uni. Basel) participated in this successful symposium. In fact the YPF remains active and continues to organize special events, such as visits of research centers or institutes for its student members.
In a well established tradition, the SPS sponsored also the Swiss Physics Olympiads and the Swiss Young Physicists Tournament in their respective activities. The best male and female finalists of the SwissPhO were awarded with SPS prizes (http://www.swisspho.ch/en/winners2011).
The SPS is actively represented via its president or other members in different EPS groups and commissions, in particular the editorial board of Europhysics News, Europhysics Letters, the Forum Physics and Society, the Technology group and the Energy group. The meeting of the latter took place at the Akershus Energy Park, close to Oslo on 6-7 October 2011. In addition to energy issues specific to Norway (hydro-energy, Thorium reactors), reports on radioactive waste disposal techniques and the status of disposals in EU nuclear energy countries including Switzerland (Nagra) were presented.
As a member organization of the Swiss Academy of Science SCNAT, the SPS is part of the platform Mathematics, Astronomy and Physics. We acknowledge here the organizational and financial support of SCNAT in the pursuit of our tasks and activities. The support of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Science SATW is also acknowledged and hopefully our interaction will be further developed on important issues such as energy, resources and sustainability, information technology, nanotechnology, education as well as the training of the physicists in industry and academia.
Christophe Rossel, President, March 2012