Traditionally, American Physical Society has served the physics community by organizing technical meetings and publishing journals. Beginning in 1973, however, the Society expanded its role to serve emerging public needs. As one component of its concern with the relationship between physics and public policy, APS has undertaken a number of studies of timely technical issues.
Guidelines for APS Studies
Physics and Public Policy Studies
Future Energy - Energy Efficiency Study
B. Richter and D. Goldston, Chair and Vice-Chair of the APS Study Group on energy efficiency. Report published as Future Energy: Think Efficiency.
Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 80, pp. S1 (2008)
Energy Efficiency Report Website
Future Energy: Think Efficiency Report (112 pp)
Future Energy: Think Efficiency Executive Summary (20 pp)
Boost-Phase Missile Defense Study
D. Kleppner and F. Lamb, Co-chairs of the APS Study Group on Boost-Phase Intercept Systems for National Missile Defense
Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 76, pp. S1-S424 (2004)
Boost-Phase Missile Defense Executive Summary (52pp)
Boost-Phase Missile Defense Report (462pp)
Science and Technology of Directed Energy Weapons
N. Bloembergen and C. K. N. Patel, Co-Chairmen of the Study Group
Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 59, No. 3, Part II, pp. S1-S202 (1987)
This was the first major independent study of the feasibility of lasers or particle beams as a defense against ballistic missiles. The Study Group concluded that at least ten years of research would be required to provide the technical information required to make an informed decision about the effectiveness and survivability of such weapons. The study has had a major impact on strategic defense policy. Financial support was received from Carnegie Corporation of New York and the MacArthur Foundation. The study received full cooperation from the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization and from the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Radionuclide Release from Severe Accidents at Nuclear Power Plants
R. Wilson, Chairman of the Study Group
Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 57, No. 3, Part II, pp. S1-S154 (1985)
In the wake of the Three Mile Island accident, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission asked The American Physical Society to undertake a reassessment of radionuclide release from severe nuclear reactor accidents. This report used recent physical data and computational techniques to predict the consequences of a hypothetical severe nuclear reactor accident and included a discussion of the scientific basis for making the predictions.
Research Planning for Coal Utilization and Synthetic Fuel Production
B. R. Cooper, Chairman of the Study Group
Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 53, No. 4, Part II, pp. S1-S168 (1981)
This was the last of a series of studies undertaken during the energy crisis. It identified areas of research that would have to be developed if the nation decides in the future to expand its reliance on coal, including coal-derived synthetic fuel. Financial support for the study was provided by the Department of Energy.
Solar Photovoltaic Energy Conversion
H. Ehrenreich, Chairman of the Study Group
Physics Today Abstract.
Physics Today vol. 32, Sept. 1979, p. 25-32 Full Text
This detailed examination for the technical community of silicon-based and thin-film-based solar cell technology, concentrators, systems considerations, and perspectives on long-term research programs was prepared for the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of Energy.
Nuclear Fuel Cycles and Waste Management
L. C. Hebel, Chairman of the Study Group
Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 50, No. 1, Part II, pp. S1-S186 (1978)
An independent evaluation was made of technical issues in the use of fissionable materials in nuclear fuel cycles, together with their principal economic, environmental, health and safety implications. The study was supported by the National Science Foundation.
Light-Water Reactor Safety
H. W. Lewis, Chairman of the Study Group
Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 47, Suppl. No. 1, pp. S-1-S123 (1975) [Erratum: 47, 979 (1975)]
A technical assessment of the safety of large light-water nuclear power reactors typical of present commercial practice in the United States, this study was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Federal Energy Administration and the Electric Power Research Institute.
Radiation Effects on Materials
F. L. Vook, Chairman of the Study Group
Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 47, Suppl. No. 3, pp. S1-S44 (1975)
The state of research and development in radiation effects on materials for the purpose of identifying basic scientific problems which limit progress in energy applications, with special emphasis on fission and fusion reactor technology. The study was supported by the Energy Research and Development Agency.
Technical Aspects of the More Efficient Utilization of Energy
eds. W. Carnahan, K. W. Ford, A. Prosperetti, G. I. Rochlin, A. Rosenfeld, M. Ross, J. Rothberg, G. Seidel, R. H. Socolow
American Institute of Physics Conference Series, Vol. 25 Excerpts (1975)
This was the first APS technical study, undertaken at the outset of the energy crisis of the '70s. It is an introduction for scientists and engineers to problems of energy efficiency, pointing out areas where they may contribute to invention or improvement in the technical structure of the energy economy. The support for this study was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Federal Energy Administration and the Electric Power Research Institute.