Physics is a broad subject, but we are all aware of the way that it is divided into various themes, sometimes very different from each other, sometimes overlapping. Indeed, even when we publish our research, we are guided by schemes such as PACS, which has evolved over the years to encompass all areas of physics.
Within the European Physical Society [EPS], the technical organisation in terms of divisions and groups is similarly structured and has also evolved to cover all subjects in physics as well as areas of common interest such as Physics Education. This provides Individual Members of the EPS with the opportunity to interact with, and network with, colleagues with interests close to their own.
On a national level, the Member Societies of the EPS are similarly organised but it is here that things can get complex. The EPS as an umbrella organisation will often contact national societies only on the high level of executive governance, but for members of the EPS divisions and groups, it can be more desirable to make direct contact with partner divisions of national societies.
These two co-existing structures are inevitable within an organisation such as the EPS, but can lead to slow response times when trying to communicate to a specific division in a Member Society. A simple solution would be to harmonise the EPS and national scientific groupings to map each other more closely, and to identify for each EPS division and group a dedicated contact person from each national society.
Efforts in this direction are underway in some divisions and groups, and these will be followed and supported by the EPS Executive Committee. I hope this can lead to a better contact between the EPS and the national societies so we can better promote physics research without borders.
Indeed, issues of communication and structure and links with national societies are discussed frequently by the EPS Executive Committee, and improving these is always a priority. To this end, the Executive Committee recently decided that a dedicated member of Executive Committee would act as a contact point for every Division and Group, relaying information directly to its members.
But there are always ways to improve communication, and we welcome any suggestions, and so please tell us what you think!
Member of the EPS Executive Committee
Former Chair of the EPS Nuclear Physics Division