APS’s Efforts to Help Physics Community Recover from COVID-19 Impact

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, American Physical Society (APS) President Phil Bucksbaum outlines several policy initiatives aimed at helping the physics community get through and beyond the pandemic.

View the full video

A Message to Our Community

“We face a time of extraordinary challenges. We know, however, that our physics community will be resilient and resourceful in the face of crisis as the world confronts the coronavirus pandemic.”

Read the full letter from APS President Phil Bucksbaum and APS CEO Kate Kirby

APS Continues to Support You

APS is committed to doing its part to slow the spread of the coronavirus, while continuing to serve our members, customers, and broader community, as well as ensuring the health and safety of our employees. Therefore, APS staff are currently at home, performing their regular work in support of APS's mission. Please be assured that we will continue to do all that we can in support of you and the physics enterprise. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know via this form.

Activities to Assist Graduate Students

Since early March, APS has focused the activities of the Office of Government Affairs (OGA), in coordination with other APS departments, on assisting the physics community through and beyond the pandemic. A primary focus of these efforts is addressing the needs of graduate students, primarily the financial pressures that have resulted from the closure of universities and laboratories across the country. Learn more

Special COVID-19 Innovation Fund Cycle (IF-COVID19)

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our community, it is also the case, as stated by the APS President and CEO, that the pandemic presents "an existential challenge, which can accelerate positive change, spur innovation, and make us stronger and more resilient." To facilitate these activities and respond to unique needs of the community as a result of the pandemic, APS is re-opening the Innovation Fund for a condensed cycle to fund projects that address critical needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The APS Innovation Fund provides funding to advance collaborative projects that support the APS mission "to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics for the benefit of humanity, promote physics, and service the broader physics community."

APS will award grants led by current APS members ranging from $25,000-$100,000/year to fund 3-5 projects for up to two years that advance an interest of the physics community that have arisen as a result of current circumstances and align with the APS Strategic Plan. Note, these funds are not intended to support scientific research related to the virus (e.g., testing masks, infectious disease models, statistical analysis of spread, antibody tests). The application deadline is May 15, 2020. Learn more

Physical Review Journals

Read detailed, up-to-date information about all aspects of the Physical Review journals’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key updates include the following:

  • All Physical Review editorial and publishing functions continue to operate at full capacity.
  • APS is extending increased support and flexibility to authors, referees, readers, and librarians experiencing challenges due to COVID-19, including:
    • Many researchers now find themselves working away from their institutions and, thus, may have trouble accessing the Physical Review journals. To address this, we have been improving remote access via several different mechanisms. Learn more
  • APS is highlighting a collection of peer-reviewed research from the Physical Review journals potentially relevant to COVID-19, and taking steps to make it more discoverable, accessible, and usable, including:

Status of Scientific Meetings

Meetings Operating Status

All in-person APS meetings and unit meetings have been canceled through May 31, 2020, but APS is working closely with our unit executive committees and program committees to coordinate virtual meetings and events in their place, when requested.

A decision will be made on April 15 about the 2020 Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP) Meeting; in the meantime new registrations are not being accepted.

The operating status of all APS meetings will be posted on our meetings calendar. 

View the calendar

Virtual Meeting Efforts

There were a number of units that self-organized virtual sessions after the cancellation of March Meeting and we learned a great deal from these efforts. Building upon these experiences, APS is working towards a comprehensive solution for hosting virtual meetings.

April Meeting

The April Meeting Program Committee chair line is working with APS staff and unit executive committees to reimagine the April Meeting as a fully virtual meeting. We are currently investigating options to support this with the goal of making a decision by March 30. More information will be shared with presenters and registrants as the plan develops, and posted to the April Meeting website.

March Meeting

Many March Meeting presenters have uploaded their presentations, slides, and posters to the:

Many other units have held live, virtual sessions, and others, including the Topical Group on Data Science are holding a series of live presentations in the coming months. View the schedule

Other Meetings

Virtual substitutes are not being planned for these canceled unit meetings:

  • Joint Spring 2020 Meeting of the Texas Sections of APS, AAPT, and SPS Zone 13
  • Spring 2020 Meeting of the APS New England Section
  • Joint Spring 2020 Meeting of the Ohio-Region Section of APS, the Ohio Section AAPT, and SPS Zone 7
  • 2020 Spring: 122nd Topical Symposium of the APS New York Section
  • 21st Annual Meeting of the APS Northwest Section

March Meeting Refund Status

The majority of registration refunds for March Meeting were processed as of March 23, 2020. The staff is working diligently to complete all refunds no later than March 31, 2020.

April Meeting Refund Status

April Meeting registration refunds will not be processed until after April 1, 2020. More information on the status of refunds will be provided here and on the April Meeting website.

US Funding Agency Policy on Travel Reimbursement for Canceled Conferences


APS extends thanks to all members who continue to demonstrate support of the Society by renewing their membership. Processing of new memberships and renewals is functioning as usual. If you have any questions about your membership status, unit membership, or other details, you can contact APS Member Services.

Funding for Science

We are focused on ensuring that our graduate students and postdocs continue to receive support, despite the shutdown of labs and universities across the country. The response from NSF was immediately positive and they will continue to provide stipends. Through a grassroots-driven APS member alert, the APS Office of Government Affairs is urging other federal agencies to make a similar decision. 

In preparation for any future phase of federal economic stimulus to respond to COVID-19, we have prepared a proposal for making scientific infrastructure a piece of the funding package.

Supporting Educators

Many physics instructors have suddenly found themselves in an unprecedented situation: their institutions are immediately transitioning to a completely online format. Find strategies and lists of resources to get started:

APS News and Physics Today

APS members will continue to receive print copies of APS News and Physics Today.

If you currently receive them at your workplace, you may go to your profile to add a delivery address to receive them at home. Please add your address by April 10 to receive the May issues in the mail.

We would also like to remind everyone that they can read all the articles published by APS News free online. Read APS News

APS Prizes, Awards, and Fellowship

Our staff are working with Unit leaders to ensure that timely and relevant information is communicated to their members and to ensure continuity of awards, prizes, and fellowships. Some fellowship nomination deadlines have been extended. View fellowship deadlines


If any of your questions are not addressed above, you can always contact us using the information on our Contact Us page.