writer: Emilia Kilpua
The Finnish Physical Society is part of the European Physical Society (EPS). EPS was founded in September 1968 in Geneva and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018. It has an important role for unifying physicists across the Europe and represents the European physical community in science policy issues. The former EPS president Rudiger Voss stated in EPS 2018 activity report that formation of EPS was “a strong and equivocal message about the power of power of physics to build scientific bridges across cultural and divides”.
Each year EPS organizes a Council meeting where representatives from different EPS members associations and division heads participate. In 2019, the meeting was held in beautiful city of Split in Croatia. It was one and half day meeting with quite a hectic schedule. This was my first time to participate to the council meeting and my first visit to Croatia.
The meeting consisted of a review of activities last year, including brief news and updates from EPS divisions and Action Committee, Young Minds and EPS journals, budget outlook and discussion on some current issues. Petra Rudolf was selected as the new EPS president.
One of the key new EPS activities is the establishment of a systematic training targeted for increasing the recognition of the importance of physics for the economy and society. Each EPS member organization can select one representative to participate to a two-day training course in Brussels in October/November in 2019. The participating physicists will be trained on “how to speak to politicians about the importance of physics to the society” and they can then share their knowledge at their home countries.
Increasing the gender equality was also addressed in the meeting at several occasions. The related activities are e.g., bi-annual Emmy Noether distinction (nominations may be submitted at any time), monitoring gender participation to physics conferences and EPS committees and publishing regular interviews of young female researchers in e-EPS newsletters. These actions are managed by the Equal Opportunities Committee.
On Saturday we had a very interesting panel discussion about plan-S, i.e., plans to transfer to a fully Golden open access publishing by 2020. EPS supports open access publishing, but has reservations for some aspects of this proposition and its aggressive schedule.
The next EPS council meeting will be held in April 220 in Brussels.