Dear Physics Community,
A year has passed since the pandemic began, and I went back to look at the messages I sent back then. They were hard to send then and are hard to read now. In the last week, we reflected on all the things that have happened, good and bad, last year. With 530,000 lives lost to date in the US and 2.6 million worldwide, the pandemic has changed all of us forever.
Last week, our new president told of new plans for the vaccine in a prime time address (worth watching here). Some of us have been vaccinated, we all know people who have been vaccinated, and the delivery rate is ramping up.
We will have to follow the CDC guidance about masks, distancing, and small gatherings for the coming months with all the hopeful news. A recent issue of Science has an excellent article everyone should read. Here is an important graphic from the paper about the vaccine, variants, and behavior. This figure tells us why we have to keep up with CDC guidance: the vaccine will help slow the spread in the face of new variants only if we continue to wear masks, keep 6 feet apart, and do not congregate in closed areas.
For myself, I am decided to commit to living the COVID-19 life until June 1, vaccinated or not (currently not).
A year has passed since I started these Messages to the Physics Community. Things have evolved: Ryan Higgins started weekly events announcement, and Cathy Modica and the APO have been producing a robust student newsletter for several years. In recent months, the urgent pandemic-related announcements, the original reason for my Community Messages, has slowed, now.mit.edu started, and the Institute decision making has become more anodyne. Putting all this together, we’ve decided to put the community-wide messages and anything I have to say into Ryan’s message and keep student-oriented announcements in the APO weekly newsletter. If you have an announcement, please send it to any of us, and we will make sure your announcement goes to the right place.
Most times, I’ve enjoyed writing these messages, although it does take time. I’m viewing merging my messages with Ryan’s announcements as something good we have captured from the pandemic times. Thanks to everyone who contributed to these messages over the past year.
- MindHandHeart grants – everyone may apply
- Graduate student transitional support letter
- New DOE program in Accelerator Workforce Training