African Physics Newsletter

APS Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Resources for the Global Physics Community

The American Physical Society adapts its journals access and meeting to the lockdown, and surveys online physics ressources.

Whether conducting research, studying, or teaching from home, scientists are experiencing an increased need for online scientific resources. APS is providing the global physics community with access to its journals, meetings, and educational materials during this time of need.

The resources below may be of particular interest to the readership of the African Physics Newsletter.

Access to the APS Physical Review Journals

As a result of the pandemic, authors, referees, readers, and librarians are likely to experience challenges accessing scientific literature. Consequently, APS is providing additional support to ensure this community has access to our Physical Review journals.

APS developed a webpage outlining the Physical Review journals’ coronavirus response. This site answers many questions scientists and institutions may have about editorial and publishing functions, deadlines, Article Publication Charges, and subscription renewals.

Remote access

Additionally, scientists who typically use Physical Review journals through their institution or a library may now experience difficulty doing so. The webpage "Off-Campus Access to Physical Review" explains ways scientists can access the journals while physically removed from their institutions.

To support the global effort to stem the spread of COVID-19, the Society has identified a collection of Physical Review journal articles potentially relevant to researchers and public officials working on the COVID-19 pandemic. This collection is free to read online during the crisis and includes any article that mentions the coronavirus as well as any that are epidemiology related.

Additional information regarding the response to the pandemic from Physical Review journals is available.

APS Virtual Meetings

Travel and many in-person collaborations have been delayed in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. Scientists are now faced with travel restrictions, resulting in reduced contact with colleagues at meetings and conferences.

To help scientists network with their peers and gain access to the latest scientific research, APS is now making some meeting content available online. The annual APS April Meeting was originally scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C. in April 2020. Instead, the Society quickly transformed this traditional in-person meeting to a fully virtual one into the pandemic.

More attendants to virtual meetings

While the April Meeting typically draws 1600-1800 attendees, the 2020 virtual meeting drew nearly 7300 virtual participants, including African scientists from Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe. This online format offered expanded access to scientific sessions and still enabled opportunities for networking.

Individuals who registered for the April Meeting can continue to access the meeting content by logging into the APS Virtual April Meeting website. APS is exploring options to make meeting presentations more widely available to the public. The African Physics Newsletter will provide updates.

Archived content online

The pandemic has affected other APS meetings as well. The APS 2020 March Meeting was canceled out of concern for the health of meeting participants, staff, and residents of the host city Denver, Colorado.

Participants who had prepared presentations, slides, and posters nonetheless sprang into action to devise ways to share their research. This culminated in the Virtual APS March Meeting website, which contains much of the planned scientific content.

In addition to the 2020 APS March and April Meeting content, selected presentations from past APS meetings can also be accessed in the APS Meeting Presentation Archive.

Resources for Online Physics Instruction

The pandemic impacts nearly everyone, especially students. Consequently, educators need tools for online teaching on a large scale.

In response, the APS Programs Department has identified resources for virtual education. The recent APS News article, "Moving Physics Courses Online on Short Notice" (April 2020), offers advice regarding how to prepare and execute effective online courses.

Resources for parents

For parents now teaching from home, APS has developed some fun activities aimed at young students that can be accessed on the Society’s website. This information and more is also highlighted in another recent APS News article, "Sparking the Joy of Physics at Home" (May 2020).

In addition to these APS resources, the APS Education Programs team has collated a variety of physics education resources. This includes PhysPort, a user-friendly web portal hosted by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). PhysPort supports physics faculty with implementing research-based teaching practices.

Substitute to hands-on laboratory

To help educators facilitate laboratory exercises remotely, PhET Simulations is a useful web portal hosted by the University of Colorado. The site provides over 100 interactive simulations of physics phenomena that can be used to supplement or substitute hands-on laboratory.

APS continually updates the APS COVID-19 response website as new information and resources become available. Please visit the website for updates regarding meetings, educational materials, programs, and other ways the Society is serving the physics community. Likewise, APS hopes the resources listed here are useful to the international physics community during this challenging time.

Alex Adams and Michele Irwin, Office of International Affairs, American Physical Society

This post has first been published by the African Physics Newsletter. © American Physical Society, 2020.

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