Biophysical Society Bulletin | October 2020
International and Inclusive The COVID-19 pandemic and the changes it has imposed on the way we do and communicate about
The Biophysical Society honors the accomplishments of its membership in numerous ways. First, and foremost, we high- light the work of our members via invitations to present at the Annual Meeting. We strive to make BPS an inclusive Society. Thus, in programming the Annual Meeting we make every effort to include speakers that reflect the Society membership. Having served as Program Committee Co-chair in 2017, and on Council, I can attest to the fact that the sausage-making we go through to produce the Annual Meeting involves promoting participa- tion from our international members, including leadership on the Program Committee. All Society members can help us to highlight the achievements of our international colleagues by sending symposium and speaker suggestions to the Program Committee for the 2022 meeting. Society Awards also showcase the excellent biophysics of our membership. These awards are highly competitive, as we have legions of eminent researchers and scholars in the BPS. One thing is certain: Too few international members are nominated for yearly awards. Nominations are due in the spring, so begin now by visiting the Society Awards webpage, https:/www. biophysics.org/awards-funding/society-awards, and thinking about making a nomination. Another area I have been thinking about is the promotion of biophysics to our governing bodies and to the general public. Biophysics underpins responses to many global challenges in human health, environment and climate change, and sustain- able development. It is paramount that policymakers and the public understand the importance of fundamental research in meeting these challenges. To highlight the contributions of biophysics to people’s everyday lives, an open online mini-sym- posium on the biophysics of SARS-CoV-2 is being planned for October 29. Moreover, to promote awareness among policy- makers, BPS has been engaged for several years in lobbying efforts in Washington. For example, we support the salary of Congressional Fellows in collaboration with the AAAS. These efforts aim to promote increased funding for biophysics (and science in general) in the United States. However, we have not taken this advocacy work to an international level. It would be useful to engage in discussions with our international members about advocacy for biophysics awareness and funding in dif- ferent parts of the world, and how BPS might collaborate with national and regional societies in such efforts. Our international membership brings a depth and richness to the Society that makes all our science better and strengthens our education and outreach. As international BPS members, your participation will help us to better serve you, and by doing so build a stronger, more inclusive and more impactful Society. — Catherine A. Royer , President
science have emphasized the inter- national nature of our community. Of course, for centuries, scientists have traveled the world to meet and discuss results, work together, and advocate for science. But before the current health disaster, we were
Catherine A. Royer
all immersed, day-to-day, in our local and national scientific cultures. With COVID-19, these local contacts have been greatly diminished, as we virtually Zoom around the world listening to and interacting with colleagues from everywhere. Californians with their morning coffee chat with Europeans having a glass of wine before dinner, while Australians chime in, sleepy-eyed in their PJs. In some strange way, COVID-19 has brought us closer together, even as it keeps us physically apart. The Biophysical Society is an international society; about one- third of our membership works outside the United States (the definition of international member). BPS international members are also generally members of their national or regional soci- eties as well. These dual or even multiple memberships do not represent competing interests. Rather, they serve to strengthen biophysics everywhere. BPS maintains partnerships with nu- merous international biophysics societies and associations. Recognizing the international nature of our Society member- ship, BPS leaders work towards ensuring that our international members reap the benefits of BPS member services and gain recognition from the Society to the same extent as the mem- bers working in the United States. One-third of the Society’s current elected Council members are international scientists, as is our next Society President, Frances Separovic . Most BPS Committees include international members. These Committees are the backbone of the Society. They work to enhance the careers of biophysicists, to promote funding for and recogni- tion of biophysics, to provide resources and ideas for attracting young people to biophysics through education and outreach, to support interaction among biophysicists throughout the world, to recognize eminent researchers among us, to plan our Annual Meetings, and to serve the organizational aspects of our Society and ensure its success. It is vital that the viewpoints of interna- tional members contribute to the work of these Committees. So if you are an international BPS member, please visit the Com- mittees page at the BPS website https:/www.biophysics.org/ About-BPS/Governance/Committees and look over the charges of the different Committees. If you see one that interests you, please fill out the volunteer form by clicking on the link.
T H E N E W S L E T T E R O F T H E B I O P H Y S I C A L S O C I E T Y
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