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African Physics Newsletter: Statement on Racial and Social Justice

The world is witnessing overdue developments in the struggle for racial and social justice, triggered by the recent killings of Black Americans George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery in the United States of America, and looking back, by the death of Adama Traoré in 2016 in France. These developments are reminding us of the presence of racism and bias in our societies, and thus the need for constant active promotion of fairness and diversity within the institutions of science. The leadership of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and others inspires us to work toward a more racially tolerant society. Science, which is universal, has an important role to play.

The African Physics Newsletter is committed to building an unbiased and inclusive physics community in Africa. The culture underlying physics as a science promotes evidence-based reasoning and respect for all colleagues. Physicists must work in an environment free of danger and harassment of any kind. APN continues to dedicate effort to building fair working environments through its publications.

The Editorial and Advisory Boards extend their support and their thoughts to colleagues in the African diaspora, and to all physicists on the African continent working towards universal access to, and participation in, physics and science.
The Principle of Freedom and Responsibility in Science is enshrined in the Statutes of the International Science Council [1]. It states that the free and responsible practice of science is fundamental to scientific advancement and human and environmental well-being. Such practice, in all its aspects, requires freedom of movement, association, expression and communication for scientists, as well as equitable access to data, information, and other resources for research. It requires responsibility at all levels to carry out and communicate scientific work with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency, recognizing its benefits and possible harms.

In advocating the free and responsible practice of science, the Council promotes equitable opportunities for access to science and its benefits, and opposes discrimination based on such factors as ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or age.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics is committed to assist in the worldwide development of physics, to foster international cooperation in physics, and to help in the application of physics toward solving problems of concern to humanity [2].

The American Physical Society, the publisher of African Physics Newsletter, has condemned racism and affirms its commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive physics community [3].

The START of Structural Biophysics in Africa Threatened by COVID-19
The Synchrotron Techniques for African Research and Technology initiative, hosted at the Diamond Light Source, has a significant biophysics component.
Sekazi Mtingwa Speaks About Mentoring and Africa
Sekazi Mtingwa won the Presidential Mentoring Award in the United States in 2019. He is a strong proponent for physics in Africa and gave this interview to the African Physics Newsletter.
Top Nuclear Physicist to Lead University of the Witwatersrand
Professor Zeblon Zenzele Vilakazi has recently been appointed as the Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, commencing 1st January 2021.
Fundraising for the First Laboratory of Applied Physics in the Republic of the Congo
In the Republic of the Congo, the UR2N laboratory is working on nanomaterials and their applications.
Teaching and Research Support by the Kenya Education Network (KENET) During the COVID-19 Lockdown in Kenya
This is how a non-profit organization is sustaining teaching and research in Kenya during the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. – Africa Initiative in Electronic Structure
A platform for exchange between African and U.S. physicists opens opportunities to have a major impact on research and education in Africa.
Invitation to You to Register with the African Scientists Directory
Connectivity in the scientific community is vital to physicists and is super-important in Africa.
Lasers, Fiber Optics, and the Building Blocks of Multispectral Imaging
Laser and Fibre Optics Centre in Ghana hosts AFSIN Workshop on “Building Simple Optical Systems for Advance Research and Doctoral School.”

The Experiences of Students in the Time of COVID

Students have encountered difficult times under the pandemic. Even with uncertainty, and with the pressures of life at home, students are showing great determination to contact each other and push through the hard times. We have an ongoing special call for informal articles about the experiences of students in the time of COVID, and welcome your contributions to the next issue about your own circumstances.

Please do send articles on the response by your university or organization to the crisis! Physicists are ingenious and imaginative, and your colleagues across the continent would like to know about what is being done.
Students’ Experience in COVID: How COVID-19 Affected My Daily Life and Scientific Activities
The current COVID-19 pandemic in the world has radically affected the development of several sectors of activity, including scientific activities. The consequences for me have been significant.
Students’ Experience in COVID: Kenyan Students speak about their activities during the COVID-19 Period - Technical University of Kenya
A final year student is striving for success even with the imposed lockdown in the country.
Students’ Experiences in COVID: Students speak about their activities during the COVID-19 Period – University of Nairobi
Under lockdown, Sister Mary is coping with both research and humanitarian work.

Corrections and Changes

Correction to African Physics Newsletter Issue 5, April 2020.
News about the Newsletter
Since the last issue, we have made a number of important changes to the operation of the newsletter.

Save the Date: Upcoming Events & Activities

6th African School on Electronic Structure Methods and Applications ASESMA-2020
(POSTPONED – Check Status Online)
Organizers plan to hold the school at a later moment, still to be determined, either later in 2020 or in 2021.

The Third African Synchrotron Light Source Conference AFLS3
Postponed to 2021
Kigali, Rwanda
The third African light source conference will review the light source based science and further progress the vision of an African Light Source.

Federation of African Medical Physics Organizations 2020 Conference
(POSTPONED – Check Status Online)
Marrakech, Morocco
The ExCo is hopeful of staging the event in the 4th Quarter of 2021. The postponed date will be communicated in due course.

CRéPAs Science and Society: Energy, Health and Environment in Africa
14 – 19 December 2020 (Postponed from July 2020)
Lomé, Togo
The theme of this second edition is "Science and Society: Energy, Health and Environment in Africa." This unifying theme will allow us to discuss all the issues related to renewable energy needs at the heart of the concerns about global warming, the automation of hospital practices in the era of "Internet of Things (IoT)," and the biological ecosystem (marine, forest, and materials).
Due to the Covid19 pandemic, the conference has been postponed and the deadline extended as follows.
Call for Submission: 30 August 2019
Opening of Submissions: 01 October 2019
Deadline for Submission: 30 October 2020
Notification of Acceptance: From 4 May 2020

16th International Conference on the Dark Side of the Universe
12 - 16 July 2021
EAIFR, Kigali, Rwanda
ICTP-EAIFR is looking forward to hosting the 16th International Conference on the Dark Side of the Universe in July 2021. The Dark Side of the Universe (DSU) is a series of international workshops in cosmology and astro-particle physics.
The workshops bring together a wide range of theorists and experimentalists to discuss current ideas on models of the dark sector of the Universe, and relate them to ongoing and future experiments. Topics covered include: dark matter, dark energy, cosmic rays, neutrino physics, large-scale structure, black holes, gravitational waves, physics beyond the standard model, and more.

ASP2020 African School of Fundamental Physics and Applications
(POSTPONED - Check Status Online)
Faculté des Sciences Semlalia, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakesh, Morocco
Main topics: Nuclear and Particle Physics; Astrophysics and Cosmology; Accelerators, Radiation and Medical Physics; Materials Physics; High Performance Computing; Physics Education; Physics Communication; Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency; Quantum Information.

ICTP Conference Notice
PLEASE NOTE: Due to ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 virus, ICTP conferences, schools and workshops are cancelled until mid-June 2020. Please note that some of the activities that have been cancelled this year will, in fact, be postponed until next year. The decision on which activities are to be postponed will be made after the COVID-19 emergency has passed. Please check ICTP's Scientific Calendar frequently for updates

Your Online Resources

FAMPO Free Resources
The National Physical Lab (NPL) has opened up its online training for free. Students, lecturers, early career researchers and academic staff are encouraged to register and take advantage of this important opportunity.

Physics World Webinars
Physics World Webinars from the Institute of Physics

APS Career Guidance Webinars
Career Guidance Webinars Archive of the American Physical Society

SPS Career Webinars
Society of Physics Students Archived Career Webinars

ICTP Virtual Seminars
ICTP is expanding its free, online, interactive streaming options for its seminars and colloquia to mitigate some of the effects of isolation during the COVID-19 emergency and beyond.


Opportunities for research visits for women
The mission of the Women for Africa foundation is to contribute to the development of Africa through its women. It is launching the sixth edition of the SCIENCE BY WOMEN program with the aim of promoting African women’s leadership in scientific research and technology transfer and fostering the capacity of the research centers in their home countries. The main goal is to enable African women researchers and scientists to tackle the great challenges faced by Africa through research in health, agriculture and food security, water, energy, and climate change, which can be transferred into products and technologies having impact on people's lives. Considering the exceptional challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the fellowships are focused on the research and innovation carried out by African women scientists from the diverse and interdisciplinary approaches.

The fellows will enjoy six-month research stays and this time the program will fund several sabbatical fellowships for senior African women researchers to do research at 19 selected institutes located in Spain.

For details see the website.

Deadline for proposal submission is September 30, 2020.

Updating Your APN Profile

If you have changed your email address or want to update your profile, read on. 

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If you select the “update your preferences” option, a new window will pop up that allows you to email a link to the email address on file. Choose “Email me a link.” From the message in your email inbox, choose “Update your preferences.” From the link, you can update the email address, username, career level, and more. 

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The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the African Physics Newsletter are not peer reviewed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of APS.
This newsletter is published and distributed by the American Physical Society.

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