Newsletter, October, 2015 – by Albert M. Chang, OCPA President
Dear OCPA Members,
The past 6 months has witnessed a number of important news items of relevance to the OCPA community.
A lot has transpired, and my original intent to write a newsletter every quarter was side-tracked by the news in late May (~May 21) that our colleague, Prof. Xiaoxing Xi, chair of Temple University physics department, was indicted by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on charges of wire fraud, in relation to his collaboration with mainland Chinese colleagues on developing MgB2 thin film devices, around the year 2004. The allegations centered on emails send by Prof. Xi, which, allegedly, disclosed proprietary information to the Chinese counterpart regarding a device that was co-developed with a US high tech company.
The news of this serious indictment, coming on the heels of recent indictments of Chinese American and ethnically Chinese scientists/engineers, notably hydrologist Sherry Chen, set off a great deal of uncertainty and concern within the community.
About 4 weeks ago, the DOJ has dropped the charges against Prof. Xi, as a consequence of the fact that the most serious charge, that of the violation of a signed agreement of non-disclosure of a proprietary device, turned out to be erroneous. In fact, the blueprint supplied by Prof. Xi to colleagues in China were NOT those of the proprietary device--a pocket heater designed for MgB2 thin film fabrication, but instead, a design invented separately by Prof. Xi, based on an entirely different principle of operation.
The dropping of charges was widely welcomed by Prof. Xi and his family, who was greatly relieved by this development, by our community, as well as many non-ethnically Chinese scientists. At this point, it is clear that the case brought by the DOJ against Prof. Xi has no merit whatsoever, and Prof. Xi is completely innocent of the charges.
An article on the case, its relation to other recent DOJ cases against ethnically Chinese scientists and engineers, as well as its ramifications to the entire community, is attached below. This article, "Temple University Prof. Xiaoxing Xi and the Dismissal of Wire Fraud Charges," was written by myself at the invitation of Prof. K.K. Phua, Editor-in-Chief, World Scientific Publisher, and appeared in the Asian-Pacific Physics Newsletters. Here, I attach a slightly different version [LINK to AMChang100415-Newsletter-XiaoxingXi.pdf].
As President of OCPA, I have been working closely with the OCPA Executive Council, and several past
OCPA Presidents, notably, Cheuk-Yin Wong, Jen-Chieh Peng, Keh-Fei Liu, Ngee-Pong Chang, and Tu-Nan Chang.Our efforts have been focused on finding ways to lend support to Prof. Xi and his family throughout this ordeal, and to deal with the ramifications of this and other cases to the community.
We have also been in close contact with the American Physical Society, holding discussions with APS President Prof. Sam Aronson, and APS Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Kate Kirby, who have been receptive and helpful. More recently, we have gotten into contact with the Committee of 100 (C-100).
For those who have followed the mailing I have been disseminating to the OCPA membership, many of these developments, including links to news items, open letters to the community, and letters to the APS, have been made available. In one letter, we have urged APS to hold an open forum on the Prof. Xi case and on starting a conversation to discuss the guidelines and protocols of US-China and US-International scientific exchange and collaborations. Our discussion with the APS is ongoing.
In the past few days, C-100 has invited OCPA to join in co-sponsoring an event, which features Joyce Xi as the speaker. The event will take place on Oct. 23, 2015, at the University of California Hastings Law School, in San Francisco. When the program is finalized, I will provide the URL link of the event.
In addition to this news item pertaining to the indictment of Prof. Xi and the dismissal of charges, which has garnered much attention from the OCPA leadership during the past 4 months, there are other important news items. These include:
The creation of the position of the Director of the OCPA Accelerator School
The Director reports to the OCPA Executive Council.
Please welcome Prof. Zhao Zhentang (SINAP), as the first holder of this important position within OCPA, and join me in wish him and the OCPA Accelerator School great success in the coming years.
As many in the OCPA community know, since the founding of the OCPA Accelerator School by Alex Chao (Stanford and SLAC), under his leadership, the School has flourished, and has become one of the premiere schools on accelerator physics and engineering globally. In the past few years, Alex has decided to gradually step down as the School's Director, and has worked closely with Prof. Zhentang Zhao (SINAP—Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics), to transition over to leadership under Zhentang.
It is gratifying that the transition has been seamless. Prof. Zhao is now the Director of the OCPA Accelerator School. In recognition of the important occupied by contributions of the OCPA Accelerator School, OCPA
Executive Council recently voted to create a new position within the Council, the Director of the OCPA Accelerator School, reporting to the Council. Please join us in welcoming Prof. Zhao to this position, and to wish him and the School continued success.
In view of the creation of the Directorship position with OCPA, and the transition in leadership, I had invited Alex to write a short article on the Accelerator School, its history, activities, and goals [LINK to AChao092915-AcceleratorSchool.pdf]. In addition, Zhentang has provided a short summary of the latest and very successful Topical School, which took place this past summer (August 3-7), at the National Tsing-Hua University, in Hsinchu, TAIWAN. [LINK to ZTZhao100515-4thOCPATopicalAcceleratorSchool.pdf.
On behalf of OCPA and its community, I would like to take this opportunity to extend our deepest thanks for the service and leadership Alex has given to OCPA and the Accelerator School over the years.
Clearly, Alex deserves time for rest, and we wish him our best. But knowing Alex, I am sure he will remain active and continue to make important contributions to OCPA and to the School.
Awards and Honors
During the past months, we have heard great news of major Award winners in our community. As previously announced:
Great News (courtesy of J.P. Chen)!
**Prof. Tai-Chang Chiang (UIUC) is the recipient for the 2015 Davisson-Germer Prize in Atomic or Surface Physics.
**The recipient of the 2014 thesis award in Biological Physics is
Dr. Lei Dai (UCLA).
**Prof. Peidong Yang (UC Berkeley)
and Prof. Mei Bai (Juelich, Germany; formerly BNL) won the 2015 Lawrence Award from the DOE
In the past few days, I have also announced the winners of the prestigious OCPA Awards for 2015, on behalf of OCPA Awards Committee Chair, Prof. Nu Xu:
1) Outstanding Young Researcher Award (OYRA Macronix Prize) Winners--
Lu Li (University of Michigan)
"For his experimental contribution to understanding novel electronic magnetic phases in strongly correlated materials, including fluctuation diamagnetism in high Tc superconductors, high field valley polarized phase in bismuth, negative compressibility and 2-dimensional ferromagnetism in oxide heterointerface, and quantum oscillations in a topological Kondo insulator."
David Shih (Rutgers University)
"David Shih has become the world leader in the analysis of theories of low energy supersymmetry breaking and their consequences for experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Shih's work on these ideas has taken on enormous importance for LHC experiments and he is routinely consulted by both the CMS and Atlas experimental groups."
2) Achievement in Asia Award (AAA Poe Prize) Winners--
Yugang Ma (Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics)
"For his leadership of the Chinese STAR Collaboration in the construction of the multi-gap resistive plate chambers for the STAR time-of-flight detector and for his pioneering research on anti-hypertriton, anti-Helium-4 and di-electron production from Au + Au collisions at RHIC."
Qing-Feng Sun (Peking University)
"For his seminal contribution to the field of quantum transport and spintronics including the helical structure and the spin-orbit coupling in DNA and helical protein molecules, the spin superconductor with zero spin-resistance, the electric Meissner effect and the spin-current Josephson effect."
We have had many outstanding candidates, and the awards are extremely competitive. The availability of many outstanding candidates speaks to the vibrancy of the ethnic Chinese physicists and astronomers community. We look forward to many years of highly competitive awards to come.
OCPA9 High School Program
Vice President Nu Xu (LBL) and I have been discussing about a "satellite program" for high school students and teachers, taking place one day ahead of OCPA9 in Beijing. The one day program will take place on Sunday, July 16, 2017, at Tsinghua University, Beijing, while the main OCPA9 conference runs from July 17-20. Our preliminary plan is as follows:
OCPA9 High School Program for Teachers and Students:
Date: Main activities, Sunday, July 16, 2017, with extension for
participation in the main OCPA9 programs, and for
interaction among local (Beijing area), and non-local
teachers, students, and among teachers and students.
NOTE: Nobel Laureates, if we are successful in attracting
them, will have a public lecture(s), and open forums on this
date of July 16, 2017.