American Physical Society
FormationMay 20, 1899; 124 years ago (1899-05-20)
PurposeTo advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics
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The American Physical Society (APS) is a not-for-profit membership organization of professionals in physics and related disciplines, comprising nearly fifty divisions, sections, and other units. Its mission is the advancement and diffusion of knowledge of physics.[1] The society publishes more than a dozen scientific journals, including the prestigious Physical Review and Physical Review Letters, and organizes more than twenty science meetings each year. APS is a member society of the American Institute of Physics.[2] Since January 2021 the organization has been led by chief executive officer Jonathan Bagger.[3]


The American Physical Society was founded on May 20, 1899, when thirty-six physicists gathered at Columbia University for that purpose. They proclaimed the mission of the new Society to be "to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics", and in one way or another the APS has been at that task ever since. In the early years, virtually the sole activity of the APS was to hold scientific meetings, initially four per year. In 1913, the APS took over the operation of the Physical Review, which had been founded in 1893 at Cornell University, and journal publication became its second major activity. The Physical Review was followed by Reviews of Modern Physics in 1929 and by Physical Review Letters in 1958. Over the years, Phys. Rev. has subdivided into five separate sections as the fields of physics proliferated and the number of submissions grew.

In more recent years, the activities of the Society have broadened considerably. Stimulated by the increase in Federal funding in the period after the Second World War, and even more by the increased public involvement of scientists in the 1960s, the APS is active in public and governmental affairs, and in the international physics community. In addition, the Society conducts extensive programs in education, science outreach (specifically physics outreach), and media relations. APS has 14 divisions and 11 topical groups covering all areas of physics research. There are 6 forums that reflect the interest of its 50,000 members[4] in broader issues, and 9 sections organized by geographical region.

In 1999, APS Physics celebrated its centennial with the biggest-ever physics meeting in Atlanta. In 2005, APS took the lead role in United States participation in the World Year of Physics, initiating several programs to broadly publicize physics during the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein's annus mirabilis. Einstein@Home, one of the projects APS initiated during World Year of Physics, is an ongoing and popular distributed computing project.

Name confusion and change proposal

During the summer of 2005, the society conducted an electronic poll, in which the majority of APS members preferred the name American Physics Society. The poll became the motivation for a proposal of a name change promised in the leadership election that year. However, because of legal issues, the planned name change was eventually abandoned by the APS Executive Board.[5]

To promote public recognition of APS as a physics society, while retaining the name American Physical Society, the APS Executive Board adopted a new logo incorporating the phrase "APS Physics."

APS introduced a new logo[6] to replace the APS Physics logo on November 1, 2022.

APS journals

Main category: American Physical Society publications

The American Physical Society publishes 17 international research journals and an open-access online news and commentary website Physics.[7]

All members of APS receive the monthly publication Physics Today, published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP).[8]

APS units

The American Physical Society has 47 units (divisions, forums, topical groups and sections) that represent the wide range of interests of the physics community.[9]




Topical groups

APS has the following topical groups:[9]


Physics Teacher Education Coalition

The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) is a joint project of the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, which helps universities transform their physics teacher education programs into national models. PhysTEC Supported Sites develop their physics teacher preparation programs by implementing a set of Key Components that project leaders have identified as critical to success in physics teacher preparation. The broader Coalition is a national network of institutions committed to developing and promoting excellence in physics and physical science teacher preparation.[13]

APS Bridge Program

The APS Bridge Program aims to increase the number of underrepresented minority students that earn doctoral degrees in physics. The program names doctoral and master's degree-granting institutions as Bridge Sites and awards them National Science Foundation funding to prepare post-baccalaureate students for doctoral studies through additional coursework, mentoring, research, application coaching, and GRE preparation.[14]

The APS Scholarship for Minority Undergraduate Physics Majors

Formerly called the APS Corporate Sponsored Scholarship Program for Minority Undergraduate Students Who Major in Physics, this scholarship was established in 1980 with the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minorities receiving bachelor's degrees in physics. The program provides funding and mentoring to talented students.[15]

Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics

APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (APS CUWiP) are three-day regional conferences for undergraduate physics majors. The conferences aim to help undergraduate women continue in physics by providing them with the opportunity to experience a professional conference, information about graduate school and professions in physics, and access to other women in physics of all ages with whom they can share experiences, advice, and ideas.[16]

Career Center

The APS Careers in Physics website is a gateway for physicists, students, and physics enthusiasts to obtain information about physics jobs and careers. APS Careers in Physics has an award-winning job board, offers professional development advice through its website and blog, and provides links to workshops, grants, and career resources.[17]

New Faculty Workshop

APS co-sponsors a set of workshops for new physics and astronomy faculty with the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Astronomical Society. These workshops reach nearly half of all new physics and astronomy faculty, and introduce them to current pedagogical practices, results of physics education research, and time management skills to help them begin and improve their academic careers.[18]

CSWP/COM site visits

The APS has had a long-standing interest in improving the climate in physics departments for underrepresented minorities and women. The Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) and the Committee on Minorities (COM) both sponsor site visit programs to universities as well as national labs.[19] [20]

Education conferences

APS is a leading voice for physics education and the society sponsors a variety of conferences dedicating to helping physics education leaders stay on top of the trends in the field. Conferences include the annual Physics Department Chair Conference, a Graduate Education in Physics Conference, and a Distance Education & Online Learning in Physics Workshop. [21]

Physics Outreach

The APS Physics Outreach program focuses on "Communicating the excitement and importance of physics to everyone." As part of this effort, it maintains an educational website, PhysicsCentral; offers grants to help APS members develop educational programs; and runs the Historic Physics Sites Initiative, which identifies and commemorates important historic physics sites in the United States.[22]

Prizes and awards

Main article: List of American Physical Society prizes and awards

The American Physical Society gives out a number of awards for research excellence and conduct; topics include outstanding leadership, computational physics, lasers, mathematics, and more.

See also


  1. ^ "About APS". American Physical Society. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  2. ^ "AIP member societies". Archived from the original on December 13, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  3. ^ "Departing APS CEO Kate Kirby Looks Back". Retrieved October 4, 2021.
  4. ^ "APS Membership Soars Above 50,000 Benchmark". American Physical Society. Retrieved January 24, 2012.
  5. ^ Tretkoff, Ernie (November 2005). "Legal, Financial Issues Impact APS Name Change Decision". APS News. 14 (10). American Physical Society. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  6. ^ "APS Has a New Look & Logo!". Retrieved November 8, 2022.
  7. ^ "APS Journals". American Physical Society. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
  8. ^ "Physics Today". American Physical Society. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  9. ^ a b "APS Units". Membership. American Physical Society. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  10. ^ "Membership Statistics" (PDF). Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  11. ^ "APS DBIO". Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  12. ^ "APS DCOMP". Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  13. ^ "Physics Teacher Education Coalition". Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  14. ^ "APS Bridge Program". APS Bridge Program. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  15. ^ "APS Scholarship for Underrepresented Minorities". American Physical Society. Archived from the original on December 17, 2013. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  16. ^ "Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics". American Physical Society. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  17. ^ "APS Careers in Physics". July 27, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  18. ^ "New Physics and Astronomy Faculty Workshop". American Association of Physics Teachers. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  19. ^ "Committee on the Status of Women in Physics". American Physical Society. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  20. ^ "Committee on Minorities". American Physical Society. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  21. ^ "APS Education Conferences". American Physical Society. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  22. ^ "Physics Outreach". Retrieved December 15, 2018.

Archival collections

Niels Bohr Library & Archives