By Davide Castelvecchi
David Harris has just moved to SLAC to be the editor of a new magazine
dedicated to highlighting an exciting new age of fundamental research. He
was formerly Head of Media Relations at the American Physical Society (APS).
David Harris (COM) hails from Australia.
(Photo by Nicolle Rager)
The new publication—which does not yet officially have a name—will be a
joint venture between SLAC and Fermilab, our sister DOE facility near
"Particle physics is entering a new area, where traditional accelerator
physics is joining with cosmological physics, and that is changing the
whole field," Harris says. Harris wants the new magazine to emphasize that
cross-fertilization and also to explore the connections to other areas of
science and global culture.
The magazine will be a way for SLAC and Fermilab scientists to reach
out to the public and to policy makers, and facilitate communication in
both directions. "We also want to use the magazine as a way for policy
leaders to communicate with the physics community," Harris says.
In an age when addressing fundamental questions will require large
facilities such as the International Linear Collider, organizational and
financial cooperation among countries will be key. "We really want to take
a global perspective, because particle physics is increasingly an
international venture," Harris says.
Harris is a theoretical physicist. He has done research in Bose—Einstein
condensation and quantum information theory—and has extensive experience
communicating science through several kinds of media. After earning a
physics degree and a graduate degree in scientific communication from the
Australian National University in Canberra, Harris went on to graduate
studies in theoretical physics at the University of Queensland in
Brisbane. At the same time, he started a career as a freelance writer and
as a radio broadcaster for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, where
he led a weekly science program. He also worked for Radio Australia, an
international radio station, and wrote and co-produced a 65-episode TV
series on science for children.
Harris took his position at the APS in 2002, when he was only 28. He is
enthralled to be at SLAC and to be in charge of the new effort. "It’s not
every day that you have a chance to communicate science in a new form and
to a really diverse audience," he says. "This was too good an opportunity
to pass up."