THE TGG WYP Speakers Program

Richard Price, University of Texas at Brownsville rprice-at-physics.utah.edu
Your Executive Committee felt that the topical group has a special relationship to the 2005 International Year of Physics. Einstein is the spur for WYP, and Einstein is ours. We sponsor the Einstein prize, don't we? And Einstein, after all, would have been a TGG member. As Chairman Jim points out in his message, there will be enhanced interest in Einstein, and in Einstein physics in the WYP. Our topical group has the experts in the physics, so the decision was made, almost two and a half years ago, to share our expertise with the world; the TGG WYP Speakers program was started.

The TGG WYP task force, Chairman Jim, Jennie Traschen and myself, set up a program to connect speaker requests with appropriate speakers. (Speakers on the right subject who can speak at the right technical -- or nontechnical - level.) The program, costing nothing, is well within the TGG budget. The administration is carried out by a staff member, Danka Mogilska, of the University of Texas at Brownsville (my new home). The requesting group sends in, by mail, email, or webform, a request with all the information, and Danka looks for a suitable speaker close enough so that negligible travel is involved. If a candidate speaker is found, then the speaker is invited to contact the requesting group. In this way, the inconvenience to the speakers is minimized.

It appears to others also now, that such a speakers program is a good idea. The WYP effort of the Forum on the History of Physics, under the leadership of Virginia Trimble, is quite naturally very interested in the Einstein connection in the WYP. A month ago, they joined with us in the Speakers program. We can now offer experts on Einstein as well as on his physics. Very recently we also established a tie to the Division of Astrophysics. This is so recent, in fact, that details have not been worked out. It is likely that they will provide a different kind of service (in which they pay travel funds!), but it will be useful to have a central administration for all these speakers.

Early on, the Executive Committee selfishly decided that our priority in the Speakers program would be undergraduate institutions, colleges that have potential gravity physics grad students. It appears at present that prioritization is necessary. Requests began rolling in at the end of July, and there are many we will not be able to fill.

You can see our website by going to the APS website (www.aps.org) and following the WYP link to the Speakers Program, or you can go directly to http://www.phys.utb.edu/WYPspeakers/REQUESTS/howto.html

It should be a long, but interesting year.


Jorge Pullin 2004-09-10