Volume 23, Number 3 July 1994
Forum Election Results and New Officers
In our Forum's recent elections, 981 ballots were received, about 20% of the Forum's membership. The newly-elected officers are Edward Gerjuoy as Vice Chair, and two new Executive Committee members: Gerald Epstein and Marc Sher. The complete list of Forum Officers for 1994-95 is as follows:
Chair: Anthony V. Nero Chair-Elect: Alvin M. Saperstein Vice Chair: Edward Gerjuoy Past Chair: Marc Ross Secretary-Treasurer: Caroline L. Herzenberg Forum Councilor: Barbara G. Levi Executive Committee: Gerald L. Epstein, Lisbeth Gronlund, Tina Kaarsberg, Robert Lempert, Marc Sher, Jill Wittels
The winner of the 1994 Forum Award is Gary Taubes. The award citation reads "For outstanding achievement in promoting public awareness of the scientific method as revealed in his book Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion, and his numerous contributions to Science magazine and other general interest science journals.
The winner of the 1994 Leo Szilard Award is Herbert F. York. The award citation reads "For his outstanding leadership in efforts to control nuclear weapons and to create a rational science policy, exemplified by his contributions to the President's Science Advisory Committee, to the arms control movement, and to the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, and his service as U.S. Ambassador to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty negotiations."
Frederick Michael Bernthal: For his contributions to the advancement of science by his distinguished career of science administration in the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government.
Anthony Fainberg: For fundamental analysis of national security issues of nuclear safeguards and nonproliferation, technology and counter-terrorism, and ballistic missile defenses, and contributions to the field of national energy policy.
Daniel M. Kammen: For his efforts to foster development with culturally appropriate renewable energy projects and to link local sustainable development with programs to mitigate global environmental degradation.
Joseph V. Martinez: For his national leadership in minority education, his active encouragement of young minority scientists, and his development of the atomic physics program at the Department of Energy.
Thomas L. Neff: For contributions to nuclear-weapons nonproliferation policy and especially for conceptualizing the U.S. purchase for nuclear-power-reactor fuel of uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet warheads.
In addition to its usual invited paper sessions at the April 1994 APS meeting, our Forum sponsored a contributed 10-minute-paper session that covered a range of topics unusually diverse for a single APS session. Attendance was small. Following the papers, we discussed whether or not such a Forum contributed session, in the standard format, should be held at future APS meetings. I write this to extend that discussion to other Forum members; we need your opinions on this matter.
The usual contributed paper session of an APS division is a group of experts gathered to discuss a very specific topic. When we wish to include non-experts in the play, and to give some background, we go to the extended time of an invited talk. A single 10 minute contribution usually represents a small advance or criticism of the subject and is based on a great body of expert knowledge and technique shared between speaker and audience. Listeners who aren't up-to-date in that shared knowledge usually find it hopeless to get anything from a talk. And yet our Forum contributed session ranged over diverse aspects of energy, environment, and arms control, from viewpoints that were phenomenological, theoretical, legal, political, and social.
Although speaker and listeners initially shared very little common information, yet in a mere ten minutes the speakers needed to bring the audience up to the topical front-line of the speaker. Speakers may have been able to share the "flavor" of their work, but certainly not enough insight was provided to provoke listeners' comment and criticism--the "payment" usually wanted for the effort involved in presenting the paper.
What to do? Cancel the sessions? But then we will not even be broadcasting the flavors, be less visible in the APS, and be of no service to those Forum members who seek recognition from their national organization in the face of the denial of professional validity by their home institutions. Keep the session as is? But then we are easily accused of dilettantism by our unsympathetic colleagues--a shelf of "flavors" is not physics! Change the format? Extend the contributions beyond ten minutes each? Make it possible for both background and forefront to be presented? Perhaps the session chair could negotiate a time with each speaker--10 minutes to 30 minutes. I am told that such changes in procedure are up to us--the APS meetings management will allow us considerable leeway. Shall we make use of it?
I invite your responses, either as communications to me or, better yet, as letters or comments to Physics and Society.
Alvin M. Saperstein, Forum Chair Elect
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