The EPS hired me during the very cold winter 2012 and I am going to leave my position of communication coordinator by the end of this summer. I already cast a wistful eye on my desk. Amongst other fancy items that are arranged on the wall, my collection of badges best summarises my 38 months at the EPS. In particular, it reminds me of the early time, when I nervously asked myself: What is a learned society? Concretely, what does the EPS do?
Badges are souvenirs of the people I have met during the many events that I attended. The EPS allowed me to meet a lot of people: my co-workers -of course-, physicists -of course again-, policymakers, teachers, professors, managers, etc. I started to work regularly with some of them. By discussing with them I discovered new approaches to communication. It is true for my job and it applies even more so to scientists who need their peers and colleagues to collaborate on experiments or to evaluate their research. De facto, physicists form a community. The EPS provides the formal contours for the physics community to gather from time to time to meet, discuss and exchange their ideas.
The EPS arranges events and does much more. Five of my badges come from European projects, in which the EPS participates. The purpose of these projects is to enhance the scientific curiosity of children and teenagers, in particular through new teaching methods in schools. I have another badge from attending an EPS conference during which the prizes of the EPS Quantum Electronics and Optics Division were awarded. I remember explaining the EPS study on “The Importance of Physics to the Economies of Europe” during a dinner – hint: best conversations happen during social events. That day I got a white and black badge.
Some badges are missing in my collection. I would like to earn a badge for having spent a non-negligible amount of my time in front of my computer alone in the office. On this computer I edited dozens of articles for this newsletter. It was a pleasure – often challenging – to publish news for the physics community on time. Thousands of physicists from all over the world read e-EPS each month. Somehow, I do not feel alone anymore.
Since I received my first badge in March 2012 in Barcelona, Spain, I have become more efficient, more relevant, and more confident too. “I have worked for a learned society.” From now on, I will be able to say -proudly- this, knowing what it means. I learned from the people and from my experience at the EPS. I learned a lot about the physics community in Europe: how diverse, inspired and encouraging physicists are. A structure like the EPS is essential to the community to evolve as scientists and with the civil society.
Now, I will bring my badges home in a box and leave a clean desk to the next communication coordinator of the EPS – even if I will keep an almost-maternal watch at the newsletter.
Bénédicte Huchet, (nearly-former) EPS Communication Coordinator