President’s Message

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the website of the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP). I encourage you to explore the information, resources and opportunities presented throughout this website and to learn more about the exciting activities and programs run by the CAP.

It is an honour to serve as the CAP’s 79th President. I have been a member of the CAP for my entire 26-year career. Over this time, I have experienced first-hand the personal and professional value of being part of a national physics community. I believe strongly in the mission of the CAP: to advocate, communicate, and celebrate the value, role and contributions of physics education and research in Canada. Our more than 1500 members are physicists in academia and industry, undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in physics programs, and educators in Canada’s public school systems. We are committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion across the Association, from our membership to programs, and from conferences to recognitions. Be sure to check out our Division of Gender Equity in Physics to learn about some of the initiatives in this area.

The CAP plays a key advocacy role, meeting regularly with research funding agencies, politicians, and policymakers to promote the importance of physics as both a fundamental science and as part of Canada’s innovation economy. Simply put, the CAP advocates for everyone studying and working in physics in Canada.

The CAP currently has about 710 student members (undergraduate and graduate). The CAP Student Advisory Council (SAC) represents students, and provides important advice to the CAP Board. The SAC also provides academic and career resources for students and the council runs a number of programs including a national online physics speakers series. The CAP also engages with more than 700 high school / CEGEP students annually through the High School Prize Exam, where students demonstrate their aptitude and talent for physics and compete for regional and national awards. In June 2023, the CAP received new funding from a national Foundation that will allow us to engage more with students in high schools / CEGEPs across the country.

A highlight in the CAP calendar is our annual Congress which attracts speakers from across Canada and around the world. Almost half of the speakers annually are physics students representing universities and research labs nationwide. Students can compete for national prizes for both oral and poster presentations. The recipients of the CAP Medals for excellence in research, service, and teaching are also recognized at Congress. Please consider nominating a worthy colleague. The Congress also hosts a full-day physics workshop for local high school / CEGEP teachers. Please join us next year for our 2024 Congress at Western University in London, Ontario, May 26-31.

In 2022 we launched a Fellows Program to recognize significant contributions by CAP members in education, research, professional practice or service. The first two CAP Fellows were awarded to Nobel Laureates and CAP members, Prof. Donna Strickland and Prof. Arthur MacDonald. Please consider nominating a worthy colleague for CAP Fellow.

This year we will develop a new 5-year strategic plan, 2024-2029. This will start with a review of our current state, followed by an Association wide discussion about our desired future state. I am excited to help lead this process, to hear from you about your ambitions for the CAP, and to help identify the priorities and actions needed to advance our membership, programs, reach and impact.

If you are not a member of the CAP, please consider joining YOUR national physics association today! Your support is critical to our ability to advocate on your behalf, and to provide the services that are important to Canadian physicists, physics students and physics educators. The CAP has reciprocal agreements with several other physics societies (APS, JPS, Australian PS), that allow members to attend conferences of other societies at member rates.

If you are a member, please consider contributing your time and talents by joining the CAP Advisory Council, or one of our committees in Science Policy, Student Affairs, Professional Practice, International Affairs, or Member and Affiliate Services.

The CAP Foundation (CAPF) is the fund-raising arm of our organization and provides support to many of our education-related activities which are not supported by membership fees, such as the CAP Lecture Tour, Student Scholarships, the High School Prize Exam and the Canada Wide Science Fair. Your tax-deductible donation would be much appreciated. Please give generously. Donations are processed through Canada Helps with charitable receipts issued directly by them.

If you have any questions about the CAP, or you have some ideas on how the CAP can increase the value of membership or have a greater impact, please do not hesitate to contact me (wwhelan[at]upei[dot]ca).

Bill Whelan