Join or update your membership the Topical Group in Gravitation

Join or update your membership the Topical Group in Gravitation
Why you? Why now?

by Deirdre Shoemaker (Chair, GGR), Laura Cadonati (Chair Elect, GGR), Peter Shawhan (Vice Chair, GGR), and Beverly Berger (Past Chair, GGR)

Are you interested in the future of gravitational wave research? Upgrades to Advanced LIGO? New 3rd generation instruments? A detector in space? How can we make this future happen?

Step 1: The first detection is in our hands. In the near future, we expect Advanced LIGO to catch our first glimpse of the gravitational wave sky.

Step 2: The next generation will require more than the creativity and dedication of the gravitational wave community and the excitement of the first detections.  The future of our field is in the realm of “big science” — where there is always a political component.

The American Physical Society (APS), founded in 1899, strives to be the leading voice for physics and an authoritative source of physics information for the advancement of physics and the benefit of humanity1. One of APS’s many activities to support physics is to promote the importance of physics research to the government and the importance and excitement of physics to the public.  But how does APS know what is important and exciting?

The Topical Group in Gravitation (GGR), one of the many units in APS, represents the gravitational physics community within APS and can speak for the field to APS and to the larger world. But, as a “topical group”, we are less influential than we need to be. To take our place along with the Divisions of Astrophysics, Particles and Fields, and Computational Physics, we should become a Division, too.

In its 20-year history, GGR has instituted many benefits for gravitational physics including raising funds to establish the APS Einstein Prize to recognize outstanding achievements in gravitational physics2, student travel awards to the APS April Meeting3, and best-student-talk awards at the regional gravity meetings. GGR is the only APS unit to include two students with voting privileges on its Executive Committee. APS members can submit abstracts for talks or posters at APS meetings. In fact, an APS member can organize an entire “focus” session on a topic of interest, providing an excellent opportunity for young scientists to increase their visibility in the broader scientific community.

For a topical group to become a division, its membership must equal or exceed 3% of the total APS membership in January of two successive years. We achieved one year of this milestone in January 2015 with 3.07%. However, this narrow margin means that the second year requires new GGR members. If you are now a member, please continue in GGR. If you are not a member, please join now — your membership will make a difference!

GGR is pleased to extend to all new members a waiver of the GGR dues of $8 for the first year. Note: The GGR dues are a supplement to the APS dues. To obtain this waiver, send an email expressing your wish to join to Deirdre Shoemaker ( If you prefer to join on your own, please see the panel on the right under “Quick Links” at

Students may join APS for $0 dues the first year and reduced dues of $35 per year while they remain students. They may also join two topical groups and/or divisions for free. For all student benefits and how to join, see

If you completed your degree within the past 12 months, you are eligible for the Early Career APS membership for 5 years with reduced dues of $71 per year.

1 For APS’s complete mission statement see
2 Note that the 2007 Einstein Prize was awarded to Rai Weiss and Ron Drever. See for more details.
3 See, e.g., the April 2015 scientific program at