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Baltimore braces itself for physics

The APS March meeting at the Baltimoe Convention Center (top) and the IOP Publishing stand at the exhibition.

March madness: the APS March meeting at the Baltimore Convention Center (top) and the IOP Publishing stand at the exhibition. (Courtesy: Tushna Commissariat)

By Matin Durrani and Tushna Commissariat in Baltimore, Maryland, US

So here we are in Baltimore to attend the 2016 March meeting of the American Physical Society (APS). We’re writing this at the window seats in a burrito bar on Pratt Street while staring at the hulk that is the Baltimore Convention Center, where nigh-on 10,000 physicists will be congregating all week.

We’ve been playing a game of “spot the APS attendee” while tucking into our burritos. Without wishing to stereotype physicists (okay, go on then, we will) they’re the ones with the backpacks stuffed with poster tubes, pulling little trolley suitcases, looking lost before veering towards the convention centre.

There are also some physicists inside Chipotle Mexican Grill – you can tell because they’re huddled around laptops looking at PowerPoint presentations showing graphs of Fermi surfaces and topological insultators. Probably not the usual subject of discussion in here.

A quick peek at the APS’s online conference scheduler, which records in real time the most popular sessions that delegates have selected to attend, shows that Weyl fermions are one of this year’s hot topics. At least five out of the top 20 sessions are devoted to these quasiparticles. The next two hot topics are Majorana particles (second on the APS conference scheduler) and quantum-error correction (third).

Two other popular sessions of a more personal nature feature Mildred Dresselhaus talking about “Nanoscience and reminiscenes of a woman in physics” and Steven Weinberg’s “Reflections of a whig physicist”.

Matin will also be giving a talk on Wednesday 16 March at the Forum on Outreach and Engaging the Public on “How Physics World reaches out in the digital age”. So if you’re reading this in Baltimore, do come along to say “Hi” or drop by the IOP Publishing booth in the exhibitor’s hall to pick up a copy of the latest issue of Physics World.

This evening, we will be attending the “official Tweetup” for the March meeting, where science writer Jennifer Ouellette (@JenLucPiquant) will talk about “social media for scientists” – follow our tweets  on @tushna42, @MatinDurrani and @PhysicsWorld.

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  1. M. Asghar

    1.It is not surprising that only the complexity of the condensed matter leads to all sorts of quasi-particles: Majorana particles, Weyl zero-mass fermions as electrons in graphite, Cooper pairs of the BCS theory, electrons without spin or charge.
    2.It will be interesting to know as to what Prof. Steven Weinberg has to say as a Whig physicist knowing that the scientific progress in general or in a specific field is mostly “iterative” in nature.

  2. Albertz

    Protecting his status?

    Explaining why his “nightmare scenario” came to pass at the LHC?

    Offering new ideas? (doubtful!)


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