Table of Contents: General Guidelines Capitalization Punctuation Italics Numbers Web Specific Notes on Tone APS Brand Guidelines APS APS Governance Journals APS Meetings APS Units Commonly Misused Words Word Crimes

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General Guidelines

Chicago Manual of Style

APS uses the Chicago Manual of Style with some exceptions. If the answer to your question is not covered here, refer to Chicago rules.


For questions of spelling, use the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Use the first spelling presented.



Capitalize a title before a name and when it follows a name.

  • APS CEO Kate Kirby received a PhD in chemical physics from Harvard University.
  • Malcolm Beasley, 2014 President of APS, explains proposed changes to the governance structure.
  • Sansa Stark, Professor of Physics at the University of Virginia, was recently elected to the APS Board of Directors.
  • In October, physicist Samwell Tarly resigned from the Panel on Public Affairs.
    Note: "Physicist" and "scientist" are usually not proper titles.

In running text, capitalize occupational titles like President, Professor, Chair, Councilor, Director, Officer, Ambassador, etc.

  • Malcolm Beasley is the current President of APS.
  • Alliser Thorne was appointed Ambassador to the United Nations.
  • Ramsay Bolton was elected APS International Councilor in the 2014 APS general election.
  • Elia Martell is a Councilor of the APS Forum on Education and a member of the AAAS.

Capitalize titles for display, such as in a printed event program or in a video graphic, when the title appears below a name.

  • Malcolm Beasley
    2014 APS President

In summary:

  • Always capitalize a title
  • Text should never appear in all caps unless absolutely necessary

Titles of Published Works

Always capitalize:

  • The first and last words, regardless of the length of the word or the part of speech
  • All nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns, regardless of the length of the word
  • Prepositions of four or more letters (unless, than), as well as if, how, and why

Do not capitalize:

  • Articles (a, an, the)
  • Prepositions of three or fewer letters (of, in, for)
  • Most conjunctions of three or fewer letters (as, and, or, but)
  • The “to” in the infinite form

Examples of Published Works:

  • Don’t Fence Me In
  • Walk With Me in Moonlight
  • Turn Off the Lights, I’m Home
  • She Took the Deal off the Table
  • What If I Do, What If She Won’t
  • The Least She Could Do Is Cry

Hyphenated Compounds in Titles

If a hyphenated compound appears in title-style capitalization, capitalize the first word, and capitalize all subsequent words in the compound except for articles (a, and, the), prepositions of three or fewer letters (to, of), and coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). Ask yourself: If this word weren’t in a hyphenated compound, would I capitalize it? If the answer is yes, capitalize it.

  • Consumers Prefer Eco-Friendly and Cheap Products
  • Author of How-to Book on Bee-Keeping Prone to Anaphylaxis

Additional Tips on Title Case

Verbs—even short ones like is, be, and do—should always be capitalized. No matter how short, pronouns such as he, she, it, me, and you should be capitalized. Capitalize both parts of phrasal verbs, multi-word verbs that include adverbs such as up and out (for example, tune in and hold on). Phrasal verbs don’t include the infinitive to form of a verb (to be, to run)—so lowercase the word to in such a verb.


All headings should follow title case and follow the same rules as titles of published works.

Company and Product Names

Follow an organization’s conventions as to how it capitalizes and punctuates its names. Many organizations (for example, FedEx) incorporate intercaps, or capital letters in the middle of the name. Other organizations, such as Yahoo!, incorporate punctuation characters in their names. Examples:

  • iPod
  • IHOP
  • PayPal
  • eBay
  • YouTube
  • MasterCard

Academic Degrees

Capitalize an academic degree when it is given in full.

  • Robert Baratheon received a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of Notre Dame.

Lowercase informal references to academic degrees.

  • For students earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree, the outlook is even better.

Exclude the periods in academic degree abbreviations.

  • Physics is now hiring an editor—PhD in physics or a related field is required.

See section on academic degrees in Commonly Misused Words.

APS Specific Departments and Titles

Within sentences, do not capitalize general APS terms (such as units, meetings, journals, members, presidential line, etc.). These are not proper nouns and should not be capitalized. However, when these nouns refer to specific APS products, services, or programs (such as APS Division of Particle Physics, APS March Meeting, APS Honors, APS Fellows, APS Education & Diversity, APS International Affairs, APS Outreach, etc.) they should be treated as proper nouns.

  • APS has 48 units, including divisions, topical groups, forums, and sections.
  • Jojen Reed, APS Fellow, was recently awarded the National Medal of Science.
  • Ted Hodapp, Director of APS Education and Diversity, led the conference with a presentation on the APS Bridge Program.
  • Amy Flatten is the Director of APS International Affairs.
  • The APS March Meeting will be held in San Antonio, Texas.
  • The APS Division of Particle Physics meeting is in New Orleans this year.
  • The American Physical Society publishes 11 journals, including 3 completely open access journals.
  • The APS Panel on Public Affairs is reviewing APS Statement 0.91 in compliance with the Panel’s annual statement review protocol.
  • Through the Matching Membership Program, individuals residing in eligible countries may apply for a reduced-cost membership.
  • The APS Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) sponsors a Professional Development Workshop at the April Meeting every year.

Pronouns Referring to Companies

When referring to your own or to another company, use the third-person singular pronouns "it" and "its". In the United States, a company is treated as a collective noun and requires a singular verb and a singular pronoun.

  • The company anticipates an increase in its third-quarter spending.
  • The American Physical Society has amended its Articles of Incorporation.



For plural nouns that don’t already end in s, add an apostrophe and an s (’s) to the end of the word. For nouns (singular or plural) that already end in s, just add an apostrophe, with the exception of abbreviated words. Here are some examples:

  • James’ words
  • Arkansas’ legislature
  • The witness’ testimony
  • Many businesses’ services
  • APS’s new Articles of Incorporation ensure the Society is in compliance with the current laws for nonprofit organizations in Washington, DC

Do not use an apostrophe to form the plural of years and decades.

  • 1960s
  • '90s


In a sentence, capitalize the first word after the colon if what follows the colon could function alone as a complete sentence. Use a single space following the colon. Place colons outside quotation marks when used together. Here are some examples:

  • This is it: the chance we’ve been waiting for!
  • This is it: We’ll never have to work again!
  • I feel sad when I hear the ending to “The Road Not Taken”: “And that has made all the difference.”
  • Participants stated they were "excited to begin": We controlled for participants' expectations in our study.


Always use the “oxford comma.” In a series consisting of three or more elements, separate the elements with commas. When a conjunction (like, and, or) joins the last two elements in a series, include a comma before the conjunction. Here are some examples:

  • He went to Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe for financial advice.
  • APS publishes a handful of open access journals that include PRX, PRST-AB, and PRST-PER

When using an ampersand in place of and in a series (acceptable only in company names and when space is limited, as in a headline), do not insert a comma before it. The combination of comma and ampersand creates visual clutter.

  • He went to Dewey, Cheatem & Howe for financial advice.


A hyphen is used to join words and indicate ranges of time. If you are unsure whether a word combination should be two words, two hyphenated words, or one compound word, check the Chicago Stylebook or the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

  • Jim was interested in the pre-Civil War era.
  • If you are interested in attending a pre-meeting workshop, you must preregister for the meeting.

When “from” precedes a range in running text, use “to” (not a hyphen). In other cases (specifically headlines, event dates, times, and the like) use a hyphen. The hyphen should be off set with a space on each side. See also section on time and date.

  • The talk will be held on October 1, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • US-China Young Physicists Forum
    Saturday, February 28 - Sunday, March 1
  • 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. EST

Note on Hyphens: Hyphens should be used sparingly, especially in running text. When in doubt, leave the hyphen out!

Em Dash

Use an em dash to set apart entire phrases from the main body of a sentence. Do not use spaces on either side the em dash.

  • We use the em dash to create a strong break in the structure of a sentence. Dashes can be used in pairs like parentheses—that is, to enclose a word, or a phrase, or a clause—or they can be used alone to detach one end of a sentence from the main body.

When a date range has no ending date, use an em dash instead.

Always insert a proper em dash.
: Alt+0151    Mac: Shift+Option+-    HTML: —

  • Since 2007, the consensus of the economic establishment—bankers, policymakers, CEOs, stock analysts, pundits—has been catastrophically wrong.
  • Mick Jagger (1943—), Brian Jones (1942-1969), and Keith Richards (1943—) were among the band’s original members.

Bulleted Lists

Bulleted lists should be used to break up dense blocks of text and to quickly summarize key points. Bullet points should never be complete sentences (with few exceptions), should always start with a capital letter, and never include end punctuation or a semi-colon. See example below:

The US-China Young Physicists Forum will combine scientific sessions with social events to provide participants with:

  • Networking, scientific, and social events
  • Plenary sessions with senior scientists
  • Student oral and poster sessions
  • Career development panels

The scientific sessions will focus on condensed matter and materials physics.


Use italics to set off the titles of major or freestanding works such as books, journals, movies, and paintings. Quotation marks are usually reserved for the titles of subsections of larger works—including chapter and article titles. Some titles—for example, of a book series or a website, under which any number of works or documents may be collected—are neither italicized nor placed in quotation marks.


Italics can also be used, sparingly, for emphasis but not for headers/subheaders.


Numbers in Titles

Use numerals for cardinal numbers in headlines, email subject lines, and HTML page titles. Spell out ordinals up to ninth.

  • In Pamplona, 8 Injured in “Running of the Bulls”
  • Subject: Presentation file 1 of 2 attached
  • Local Physics Olympiad Team Takes First Place

Cardinal Numbers

Spell out cardinal numbers (one, two, three, and so on) and ordinal numbers (first, second, third, and so on) below 10, but use numerals for numbers 10 and above. There is an exception to this rule: numerals in categories.

  • More than 9,000 physicists attended the 2014 APS March Meeting in Denver.
  • Meera Reed received first place in the student poster competition.
  • The US Physics Olympiad team took home three gold medals.

Ordinals and Suffixes

Numbers used to indicate order are called ordinals.

  • Always spell out first through ninth
  • Use figures starting with 10th
  • Avoid expressing ordinals with superscript letters (10th, 11th, etc.) because they may not display correctly in some places


When expressing percentages in digital and most print formats, always use numerals and the percentage sign. Do not spell out percentages.

  • This year, 25% of meeting attendees were undergraduate students.
  • APS News: This year, 25 percent of meeting attendees were undergraduate students.
  • The combined classes of existing master’s consisted of 22% women and 35% non-US citizens.


Always use a.m. and p.m. for indicating time. Use Eastern Standard Time (EST) when observing standard time (winter), and Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) when observing daylight savings time (summer).


When “from” precedes a range in running text, use “to” (not a hyphen). In other cases (specifically headlines, event dates, times, and the like) use a hyphen. See also section on hyphens.

  • The webinar will be held on Friday, Aug. 27 at 4:00 p.m. EDT.
  • The Professional Skills Development Workshop is on Saturday, March 1 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST.
  • Professional Skills Development Workshop
    8:00 a.m. - 5: 00 p.m. EST
  • Exception: Meeting Program Guide: AM and PM with en dash with no spaces


Running text

  • Dates are expressed as numerals
  • Months without dates are not abbreviated
  • “Th” and "st" are not used
  • In event descriptions, the full date and time is written out.


When “from” precedes a range in running text, use “to” (not a hyphen). In other cases use a hyphen. See also section on hyphens.

  • The APS general election will open for voting on July 1 and end on August 2.
  • Louis de Brogile was elected to the Academy in October 1933.
  • DPP’s meeting is from October 15 to October 18.
  • US-China Young Physicists Forum
    Saturday, February 28 - Sunday, March 1
    Register Online
  • PhysTEC Annual Conference
    February 5 - 7, 2015

Dollar Amounts

Dollar amounts are always expressed as numerals. In contexts where the symbol $ may refer to non-US currencies, the currencies should be clearly identified (this applies only to non-US currency).

  • C$300 = $300 Canadian dollars
  • NZ$749 = $749 New Zealand dollars
  • Mex$98 = $98 Mexican pesos

Phone Numbers

For US numbers, use parentheses around the area code and the local number separated by a hyphen. It is not necessary to include the US country code.

For international numbers, the country code is preceded by a "+" sign, followed by the area code, then the local number. +<country code> <area code> <local number>

  • (301) 209-3200
  • +44 20 7470 4800

Numerals in Categories

If a passage contains two or more numbers that refer to the same category of information and one is 10 or higher, use numerals for all numbers referring to that category. When numbers are treated consistently, readers can recognize the relationship between them more easily.

  • The delegation included 3 men and 11 women.
  • There are 7 APS forums and 14 APS divisions.

Large Numbers

When stating million, billion, or trillion with a numeral, don’t hyphenate, even before a noun. But do use a hyphen between the numeral and million or billion if the expression is part of a compound adjective that takes a hyphen elsewhere.

  • A $6 million lawsuit
  • The 400-million-served mark

Web Specific


Links should be descriptive and clearly describe the destination page. The words you choose for link text are important for search engine traffic. Search engines use the link text to understand the destination page. Descriptive, keyword appropriate anchor text supports the ranking of the linked page.

Because links stand out, they are an important scanning element. To improve scannability, keep link text short and concise, using relevant keywords related to both the destination page and the surrounding content.

It’s important to be consistent when describing repeated links. For example, linking “education and diversity” and “minorities in physics” to the same page may confuse readers.

Inline Links - For Editorial Content

Inline link text should be descriptive and clearly describe the destination page. While it’s preferable to use the title of the destination page, link text often requires edits to suit the sentence structure or to be made contextually relevant. Inline links should appear naturally within page copy and not disrupt editorial flow.

Offset Links - For Informational Content

We offset links for informational purposes to help users quickly find what they are looking for (for example, meeting information, registration and application links, etc.).

It is preferable to use the name of the webpage when possible. In instances where the webpage name is redundant, other acceptable phrases may be used. A gray arrow and a single space always precede the link. See examples below:

  • Many units provide travel funding and grants to presenters attending the APS March Meeting. A current listing of travel grants is available online, but check with your individual unit for the most up-to-date information.
    Gray Arrow March Meeting Travel Grants
  • Two former APS presidents were among the recipients of top science and engineering prizes.
    Gray Arrow Read APS News Update

Always include the appropriate graphic or text after a link when directing to an external (non-APS) website or a PDF.

  • If you are not an APS member, you must register by fax or mail to receive special student rates. Do not register online.
    Gray Arrow Download Form format_pdf
  • Scientist Matthew Bobrowsky writes about the importance of federally funded scientific research in the Baltimore Sun.
    Gray Arrow Read the Op-Ed in the Baltimore Sun external

Links in Print

Start the URL with the subdomain (such as, if one exists, and leave off the protocol (http://www.). Always drop "index.cfm" for APS webpages.

  • For more information, see the APS March Meeting website at
  • Information about the process can be found online at


All images, with the exception of stock and staff photos, must be credited. Images and graphics obtained through a stock image service (such as iStock) usually don't require credit, however licensing terms may vary with each service. Images and graphics by APS staff do not receive attribution.

  • Photo: Donna Coveney/MIT
  • Photo: Department of Defense

Images in Creative Commons require different types of attribution depending on the license. Please see the wiki on Creative Commons for additional information.


All images should include a caption (text that appears below an image). A good caption is succinct, clearly identifies the subject of the picture, provides context, and establishes the picture's relevance to the article. Short captions are often appropriate, but should add value to the image and relate to the surrounding text.

Standard width (250px) photos:

Image credit example <div class="greyBox">
<p style="text-align:center;"><img src="URL" alt=" " title=" " border="0" height=" " hspace="0" vspace="0" width="250" /><br /><span class="credit">Photo: Credit</span></p><p style="margin-top:-15px;">Caption</p>







Full width (610px) photos:
<p><img src="URL" alt=" " title=" " border="0" height=" " hspace="0" vspace="0" width="610" /><br />Caption.</p>


Alt tags:

Alt text describes what’s on the image and the function of the image on the page. This is largely used for visually impaired users to know what is in an image or indicate the function of a button. When relevant, include keywords from the page content to help improve search engine optimization.


Notes on Voice & Tone


APS is informative, professional, and authentic.

  • Website: concise, direct, informational
  • Editorial: authoritative, knowledgeable, human, subjective
  • News updates: impartial, factual, informational
  • Press releases: factual, informational, promotional
  • Twitter: topical, friendly, humorous, cheeky
  • Facebook: topical, friendly, informative
  • LinkedIn: friendly, professional
  • Blogs: authoritative, knowledgeable, human

Vocabulary and punctuation

Avoid overly formal and informal language and aim for somewhere in the middle. APS is professional but aims to be approachable and inclusive. Example:

  • Too Formal:
    APS extends sincere congratulations to Jon Snow, recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Science.
  • Not formal enough; good for social media:
    Congrats to Jon Snow for winning a National Medal of Science!
  • Just right:
    APS congratulates Jon Snow on winning the National Medal of Science.

Active vs. Passive Voice

Write in active voice whenever possible.

A good primer on writing in active and passive voice is available here.

  • Active Voice: 29 physics Nobel laureates signed a petition calling for Kokabee's release.
  • Passive Voice: A petition calling for Kokabee's release was signed by 29 physics Nobel laureates.

APS Brand Guidelines


On the APS website and in APS publications, it is acceptable to refer to the American Physical Society as APS on the first use. Appropriate second and subsequent referrals to APS include the Society (always capital S) and/or APS. Never replace APS or the Society with a pronoun such as us, we, our. Capitalize “the Society” when used alone to refer specifically to APS in running text, but lowercase “society” when using it in a general sense.

On non-APS publications and websites (including co-branded and secondary websites such as PhysicsCentral and PhysTEC), use the full brand name followed by the acronym on first use if you mention APS again. Second and subsequent uses include APS and/or the American Physical Society.

Note: Never capitalize “the” before American Physical Society unless it is the beginning of a sentence. When using APS, "the" is usually not needed.

  • On APS website: APS is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics. With more than 50,000 members, the Society is a leading voice for the physics community.
  • On an outside publication: PhysTEC is sponsored in part by the American Physical Society (APS) and AAPT. APS is a leading voice for physicists in the community.

APS Governance

APS Board and Council; the Board and Council
Always capitalized. Never use an "&" except in headlines.

  • The APS Board and Council will act as the governing body of the Society.

APS Board of Directors; the Board
Always capitalized.

  • The APS Executive Board will become the Board of Directors, with overall responsibility for matters of governance and finance.

Capitalize when referring to the APS Bylaws.

  • The new APS Bylaws will be presented to the Council next month.


  • Brienne Tarth will become Chair-Elect of DFD.
  • Brienne Tarth
    DFD Chair-Elect

Chief Executive Officer;  CEO
CEO is preferred on first use in all cases.

  • If the proposed governance changes are accepted, the APS Board and Council will begin their search for the Society's first CEO.

APS Constitution
Always capitalized when referring to the APS document.

  • The new APS Constitution will be ratified on January 1.

APS Constitution & Bylaws
The APS Constitution & Bylaws is always capitalized, italicized, and separated with an ampersand.

  • The new APS Constitution & Bylaws will be ratified on January 1.

APS Council of Representatives; the Council

  • The APS Council recently voted to adopt the revised Constitution & Bylaws. The Council voted without a single dissenting vote.

Editor in Chief
Do not hyphenate.

  • The Editor in Chief was jointly appointed by the CEO and Board of Directors.

APS General Election

  • Voting in the APS general election will open next week.


  • Nominate a friend or yourself to become FGSA's next Member-at-Large!

Name Preferences

Philip H. Bucksbaum

  • Informally, within text: Phil.
  • Signature blocks, in emails and letters: Philip H. Bucksbaum

Past Chair
Do not hyphenate.

  • The Council shall create a nominating committee that is made up of the Chair, Chair-Elect, Past Chair, and Past President.


  • Malcolm Beasley, 2014 President of APS, explains proposed changes to the governance structure.
  • A letter from 2014 APS President Malcolm Beasley.
  • Signature Line: Malcolm Beasley, 2014 APS President


  • Laura Greene has been elected Vice President. She will serve one year as Vice President then one year as President-Elect before serving as President of the Society in 2017.
  • Laura Greene
    APS President-Elect

presidential line
Always lowercase, never hyphenate.

  • The presidential line is elected by APS members in the general election.


  • The new Secretary/Treasurer will begin their post in July.

Speaker; Speaker of the Council

  • The APS Council of Representatives will be chaired by a Speaker.
  • The Speaker of the Council will be selected in spring of 2015.

APS Statements

  • The APS climate change statement will be formally reviewed next year.
  • America must continue to invest in basic scientific research (Statement 05.2) if it is to remain competitive in the 21st century.

Vice Chair
No hyphen.

Vice President
No hyphen.

Physical Review Journals

If the title of a journal only appears once in an article, refer to it by its title only. If there are subsequent references to the journal in the article, the first reference should appear as the full title plus its abbreviation in parenthesis. All subsequent references should be the abbreviation.

  • Physical Review Letters is the flagship journal of APS.
  • Physical Review Letters (PRL) is the flagship journal of APS. PRL aims to move science forward across the full arc of physics.

The Physical Review

When referring to the original journal from 1893, use italics and capitalization.

The Physical Review

When referring to the journal collection (or portfolio, or suite, or other collective noun), "the" is not italicized and should be lowercase unless at the beginning of a sentence.


List of journals and publications:

Full Name Abbreviation Alt Abbreviation
Physical Review Letters PRL Phys. Rev. Letters
Physical Review X PRX Phys. Rev. X
Reviews of Modern Physics RMP Rev. Mod. Phys.
Physical Review A PRA Phys. Rev. A
Physical Review B PRB Phys. Rev. B
Physical Review C PRC Phys. Rev. C
Physical Review D PRD Phys. Rev. D
Physical Review E PRE Phys. Rev. E
Physical Review Accelerators and Beams PRAB Phys. Rev. Accel. Beams
Physical Review Applied PRApplied Phys. Rev. Applied
Physical Review Fluids PRFluids Phys. Rev. Fluids
Physical Review Materials PRMaterials Phys. Rev. Materials
Physical Review Physics Education Research PRPER Phys. Rev. Educ. Res.
Physical Review Research PRResearch Phys. Rev. Research
Physics Magazine    

Journal Colors

Font: Avenir Medium

Journal Citation Reports

  • "Journal Impact Factor" not "Impact Factor"
  • Journal Citation Reports (Web of Science, year report is published)
    The 2017 Journal Impact Factor is published in 2018. (The report is published the year after the Impact Factor year.)

APS Meetings

APS March Meeting

The official brand name of the meeting is “APS March Meeting [yyyy]”. On first use, always use the full name. On second and subsequent use, it is acceptable to refer to the meeting as the APS March Meeting (omitting the year), or the March Meeting (omitting the year and APS).

  • In running text, place the year before the name of the meeting: First Use: The 2015 APS March Meeting was held in San Antonio, Texas.
  • Second Use: The March Meeting will feature more than 100 invited sessions and over 9,000 contributed talks.
  • #FlatMeitner will attend both the APS March and April Meetings.
  • Incorrect: The APS Marchl Meeting 2015 will be held in Baltimore.
  • Incorrect: The APS 2013 March Meeting was also in Baltimore.

APS April Meeting: Quarks to Cosmos

The official brand name of the meeting is “APS April Meeting [yyyy]”. The theme of the meeting is Quarks to Cosmos. On first use, always use the full name. On second and subsequent use, it is acceptable to refer to the meeting as the APS April Meeting (omitting the year), or the April Meeting (omitting the year and APS).

  • In running text, place the year before the name of the meeting: First Use: The 2019 APS April Meeting was held in Denver, Colorado.
  • Second Use: The April Meeting will feature more than 10 invited sessions and over 400 contributed talks.
  • #FlatMeitner will attend both the APS March and April Meetings.
  • Incorrect: The APS April Meeting 2015 will be held in Baltimore.
  • Incorrect: The APS 2013 April Meeting was also in Baltimore.
  • The theme is Quarks to Cosmos, not Quarks to THE Cosmos.

Both Meetings

To mention both meetings, use the following formats:

  • With year: The APS March and April Meetings in 2015 will celebrate the International Year of Light.
  • Without year: This year, the APS March and April Meetings will celebrate the International Year of Light.

Bulletin of the American Physical Society

When using the complete title, use title case and italicize. The acceptable abbreviation is “Bulletin,” always capitalized. "BAPS" should only be used internally with APS staff.

  • The Bulletin of the American Physical Society archive contains the technical programs of APS meetings dating back to 1993.

scientific program
Always lowercase.

scientific program vs. the Bulletin

“Scientific program” is the preferred term, except when referring to the printed book that is distributed to meeting attendees.

The Bulletin contains the full scientific program, complete with abstracts. The scientific program may or may not include abstracts. It is preferable to use the term “scientific program,” except when referring to the printed Bulletin that is distributed to meeting attendees.

  • Pick up your Bulletin at the registration desk starting tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. EST.
  • The scientific program is now available online.

mobile app
Never capitalized. “Mobile app” is the preferred term on first use. “App” is acceptable on second and subsequent use. When referencing app compatability, always state the operating system, not the device.

  • The APS March Meeting mobile app will be available in early January for iOS, Android, and Windows devices. The app contains the full scientific program and maps of the convention center.


Flat Physicist
Capital “F” and capital “P.” When naming the specific Flat Physicist, always include the hashtag and hyperlink to Twitter search results if applicable.

  • This year’s Flat Physicist is Lise Meitner! Follow her on Twitter at #FlatMeitner.

#apsmarch & #apsapril
These are the official Twitter hashtags of the APS March and April meetings. Always lowercase, no spaces, and no year.

APS Units

Unit names and abbreviations are listed below. Do not capitalize "unit" except when used in a headline.

  • APS is made up of 45 units including divisions, sections, forums, and topical groups.

Appropriate abbreviations of unit names include the official three or four letter abbreviation or the proper noun of the unit's type.

  • The vice chair will serve in that office for one year, then one year as Chair-Elect, then one year as chair of the Division.
  • The Topical Group on Gravitation is co-sponsoring an international conference called General Relativity and Gravitation: A Centennial Perspective. More information about the conference is available on the Topical Group's website.
  • The Northwest Section is launching a new program to connect scientists, students, and faculty in the region. Institutions may select a speaker to present their work and interact with students and faculty. The Society will provide travel funding to the speakers. To sign up, please visit the NWS website.
  • The Forum on the History of Physics is on Twitter! Follow the Forum at @APSHistory.

Leadership Convocation; abbr. convocation
Capitalized when using the full name. The appropriate abbreviation is "convocation" in lowercase.

  • APS Leadership Convocation will be held in February.
  • This year's convocation will take place at APS headquarters and the Greenbelt Marriott.

Congressional Visits Day
Always capitalized.

  • APS Leadership Convocation attendees are encouraged to participate in Congressional Visits Day to meet face-to-face with members of Congress.

unit meetings

APS Naming Conventions:

[Year] [Season] Meeting of the APS [unit name] ([meeting abbreviation])

  • 2014 Fall Meeting of the APS New York Section (NYF14)

[year] Meeting of the APS [unit name] ([meeting abbreviation])

  • 2014 Meeting of the APS Far West Section (FWS14)

[##] Annual Meeting of the APS [unit name] ([meeting abbreviation])

  • 46th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP14)


Full Name Abbr Meeting
APS Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics DAMOP 46th Meeting of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP14)
APS Division of Astrophysics DAP  
APS Division of Biological Physics DBIO  
APS Division of Chemical Physics DCP  
APS Division of Computational Physics DCOMP  
APS Division of Condensed Matter Physics DCMP  
APS Division of Fluid Dynamics DFD 67th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD14)
APS Division of Gravitational Physics DGRAV  
APS Division of Laser Science DLS  
APS Division of Materials Physics DMP  
APS Division of Nuclear Physics DNP 4th Joint Meeting of the APS Division of Nuclear Physics and the Physical Society of Japan (DNP14)

2013 Meeting of the APS Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP13)
APS Division of Particles and Fields DPF 2013 Meeting of the APS Division of Particles and Fields (DPF13)
APS Division of Physics of Beams DPB  
APS Division of Plasma Physics DPP 56th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics (DPP14)
APS Division of Polymer Physics DPOLY  
APS Division of Quantum Information DQI  
APS Division of Soft Matter DSOFT  
APS Forum for Early Career Scientists FECS  
APS Forum on Education FEd  
APS Forum on Graduate Student Affairs FGSA  
APS Forum on the History of Physics FHP  
APS Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics FIAP  
APS Forum on International Physics FIP  
APS Forum on Outreach and Engaging the Public FOEP  
APS Forum on Physics and Society FPS  
APS Far West Section FWS 2014 Meeting of the APS Far West Section (FWS14)
APS Four Corners Section 4CS 2014 Meeting of the APS Four Corners Section (4CS14)
APS Mid-Atlantic Section MAS 2014 Meeting of the APS Mid-Atlantic Section (MAS14)
APS New England Section NES 2014 Fall Meeting of the APS New England Section (NEF14)
APS New York State Section NYSS 2014 Annual Fall Meeting of the APS New York Section: 111th Topical Symposium on Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate

2014 Spring Meeting of the APS New York State Section (NYS14)

2014 Fall Meeting of the APS New York State Section (NYF14)
APS Northwest Section NWS 16th Annual Meeting of the APS Northwest Section (NWS14)
APS Ohio-Region Section OSAPS 2014 Fall Meeting of the APS Ohio-Region Section (OSF14)

2015 Spring Meeting of the APS Ohio-Region Section (OSS15)
APS Prairie Section PSAPS 2014 Fall Meeting of the APS Prairie Section (PSF14)
APS Southeastern Section SESAPS 81st Annual Meeting of the APS Southeastern Section (SES14)
APS Texas Section TSAPS 2015 Spring Meeting of the Texas Sections of AAPT and APS, and SPS Zone 13 (TSS15)

2015 Fall Meeting of the Texas Sections of AAPT and APS, and SPS Zone 13 (TSF15)
APS Topical Group on Data Science GDS  
APS Topical Group on Energy Research and Applications GERA  
APS Topical Group on Few-Body Systems GFB  
APS Topical Group on Hadronic Physics GHP 6th Workshop of the APS Topical Group on Hadronic Physics
APS Topical Group on Instrument and Measurement Science GIMS  
APS Topical Group on Magnetism GMAG  
APS Topical Group on Medical Physics GMED  
APS Topical Group on Physics Education Research GPER  
APS Topical Group on Plasma Astrophysics GPAP  
APS Topical Group on Precision Measurement & Fundamental Constants GPMFC  
APS Topical Group on Physics of Climate GPC  
APS Topical Group on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter GSCCM Also called SHOCK
APS Topical Group on Statistical and Nonlinear Physics GSNP  

Commonly Misused Words





Stands for "article publication charges" not "article publishing charges"


academic degrees

  • Option A: Jon Snow holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from University of Colorado-Boulder.
  • Option B: Jon Snow holds a bachelor's degree in physics from University of Colorado-Boulder.
  • Option A: Jamie Lannister holds a Master of Science in Engineering from Harvard University.
  • Option B: Jamie Lannister holds a master's degree in engineering from Harvard University.
  • Option A: Robb Stark holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Physics from Florida State University.
  • Option B: Robb Stark holds a doctorate in physics from Florida State University.

academic degree abbreviations
AA for Associate in Arts
BA for Bachelor of Arts
BS for Bachelor of Science
MA for Master of Arts
MS for Master of Science
MBA for Master of Business Administration
MFA for Master of Fine Arts
PhD for Doctor of Philosophy

advisor (n.)
This is the preferred spelling. Not "adviser."

alumnus, alumni, alumnae
Alumnus: one male graduate
Alumni: more than one male graduate, or a coed group of graduates
Alumna: one female graduate
Alumnae: more than one female graduate
Alum: informal use only; one graduate
Alums: informal use only; more than one graduate

annual gift (n.)
Never capitalized.

assure, ensure, insure
Assure means to give confidence. Ensure means to guarantee something or make certain. Insure means to secure or protect someone against a possible contingency or to issue insurance.

audiovisual; AV
One word, no hyphen.

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Big Bang
Always capitalize.

Never hyphenate. Only capitalize when referring to an actual document.

  • Consistent with APS Bylaws, APS members will be given an opportunity to review and comment on the new statement.

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capital (n.)
A city that serves as a center of government; wealth in the form of money or property.

  • The capital of Florida is Tallahassee.
  • Net debt rose from $40 million to $75 million during the first half, due to an increase in working capital and ongoing capital investment.

capitol (n.)
A US state legislature building; the US Capitol building in Washington, DC

  • The House will take up a bill this week adding one statue of a District luminary to the halls of the Capitol.
  • Vermont's capitol building is a magnificent building located in downtown Montpelier.

First-year student (avoid “freshman” when possible), sophomore, junior, senior, entering class, sophomore class, etc.

congressional representatives
See party affiliation.

Spelled with one l.

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earth; Earth
Capitalize when used as the proper name of the planet.

Never hyphenate.

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follow-up (n., adj.); follow up (v.)
Hyphenated when used as a noun or an adjective. Two words when used as a verb.

  • I’m sending a follow-up to the conversation we had earlier today.
  • Please follow up with Mark on the status of the meeting.

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'A' historic not 'an' historic

homepage (n.)
Always one word.

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login (n., adj.); log in, log in to (v.)
One word when used as a noun or an adjective. Two words when used as a verb, which may be followed by the preposition to.

  • Users are required to log in using their APS account information.
  • Request a new login name by emailing

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Never hyphenate.

  • The American Physical Society is a nonprofit organization.

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on-site (adv., adj.)
Always hyphenate.

  • Online registration is now closed. You may register on-site at the convention center during normal registration hours.

open access
Two words, never hyphenate.

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party affiliation
A political figure's party affiliation and state should be routinely included in stories. For short form punctuation, use R for Republicans, D for Democrats, and I for Independents; and use US postal abbreviations for states. This applies to US House representatives and senators. Examples:

  • Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina said...
  • Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) said...
  • Sen. Tim Scott also spoke. The South Carolina Republican said...
  • Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, the senior Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, said...
  • Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) is a member of...

Stands for Portable Document Format. Always use the abbreviation.

Always one word. Always capital "P" and "B."

Always one word. Always capital "P" and "C."

Always hyphenate.

postdoctoral, abbrev. postdoc
Always one word, no hyphen.

  • Early career memberships provide postdocs with reduced membership rates.

Always hyphenate.

  • The APS March Meeting hosts a number of pre-meeting workshops and tutorials.

One word, no hyphen

  • You are required to preregister for APS March Meeting tutorials.

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real-time (adj.); real time (n.)
Hyphenated when used as an adjective; not hyphenated when used as a noun.

  • Get real-time updates on the meeting by following #apsmarch.
  • The lecture will be broadcast in real time.

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See party affiliation.

setup (n., adj.); set up (v.)
One word when used as a noun or adjective. Two words when used as a verb.

  • Have you seen this setup?
  • We need to get set up for the meeting this afternoon.

sign-in (n., adj.); sign in, sign in to (v.); sign-out (n., adj.); sign out, sign out of (v.)
Hyphenated when used as a noun or adjective. Two words when used as a verb, which may be followed by the preposition to.

  • All visitors must sign in on the sign-in page.
  • Don’t forget to sign out!

sign up (n.); signup (v.)

Hyphenated when used as a noun or adjective. Two words when used as a verb.


Not a synonym for “because.” Can be confused with the sense of “over the time that has passed” rather than “as a result of.” Use “because” instead of since when possible. Also applies to “due to” and “owing to” and “due to the fact that” and other, needlessly wordy ways of saying “because.”

speaker ready room
No hyphen.

Spectra, Spectra comic books, Spectra: Turbulent Times
Spectra is always capitalized. Italicize comic books when using the full title.

  • PhysicsQuest is a story-based activitiy for middle school students that follows the adventures of Spectra, the original laser superhero.
  • The newest PhysicsQuest comic is out! Download Spectra's Quantum Leap now.

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Not towards.

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Always hyphenate.

All capitals. Stands for Uniform Resource Locator. Abbreviation is always acceptable. Plural: URLs.

US (adj.), United States (n.)
Abbreviation for United States. Note periods, no space. Not US or U. S. The single exception is when specifying currency in prices, in this case, do not include the periods. When referring to the United States as a noun, do not use the abbreviation.

USA (n.)

Do not use. Instead spell out “United States” or use the preferred abbreviation “US”

Lowercase, one word.

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Washington, DC

  • APS’s Office of Public Affairs is located in Washington, DC
  • Ygritte's headquarters, located in Washington, DC, focus on political litigation.

web (n., adj.)

Lowercase, one word.

website, webpage
Lowercase, one word. Website refers to multiple pages on the web (such as the APS website or the New York Times website). Webpage refers to a page or set of pages within a website (such as the APS CUWiP webpage or the APS International Affairs webpage).

Capital W, capital F. No hyphen.

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