Volume 24, Number 3 July 1995
Remember to Declare Your FPS Membership!
This year, the annual APS renewal notices require present members of any of the five Forums to explicitly renew the Forum memberships they wish to continue. Further, the notice does not state present Forum memberships. We fear that the confusing nature of the APS form and the lack of current membership information may cause a lapse in FPS membership. Don't inadvertently allow your FPS membership to lapse! Remember to declare your FPS membership on the APS renewal notice!
To those of you are members of an APS division as well as members of FPS: Please consider organizing a joint symposium, of your division and FPS, at some future meeting of your division'. It is easy, fun and interesting, to organize a symposium, and it can enlighten your colleagues about some significant physics-related societal issue. If you think you might be interested in organizing such a symposium, FPS will help you put your suggested symposium across to your division. Please contact the FPS Program Chair or Chair with your suggestion: Edward Gerjuoy, FPS Program Chair, Dept of Physics, 100 Allen Hall, Univ of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, firstname.lastname@example.org . Alvin Saperstein, FPS Chair, Dept of Physics, Wayne State Univ, Detroit, MI 48202, email@example.com .
Al Saperstein, the Forum's new Chair, has a message for all of us:
I am responsible for making appointments to various FPS committees as well as recommending other appointments by the APS Council. Both FPS and APS would benefit by attracting "new blood" into its activities and committees--members who have not recently given it much time. I would appreciate hearing from you if you might serve on one of our regular or ad-hoc committees, or if you have suggestions about other ways you might serve. The continuing FPS committees are: Nominating, Program, Fellowship, Editorial, and Awards. In addition there is a "temporary" Membership Committee, which I believe should continue, as well as possible new committees to address new FPS activities and concerns which have recently come to the fore, such as: employment for physicists, electronic communication, public attitudes towards physics and the converse, etc.
Please contact me by the end of July at the following address (regular mail or email): Al Saperstein, 2130 P Street NW, Apt 510, Washington, D.C. 20037; phone 202-822- 8151; firstname.lastname@example.org .
Our Forum's members cast 359 ballots in our recent FPS elections, a considerably lower vote than during the preceding two years. FPS membership now stands at 5336 members. The newly-elected officers are John Ahearne as Vice Chair, Michael I. Sobel as Secretary/Treasurer, Dietrich Schroeer as Forum Councillor, and two new Executive Committee members: Laurie Fathe and Daniel M. Kammen. The complete list of Forum Officers for 1995-96 is as follows:
-- Chair, Alvin M. Saperstein -- Chair-Elect, Edward Gerjuoy -- Vice Chair, John Ahearne -- Past Chair, Anthony V. Nero -- Secretary/Treasurer, Michael I. Sobel -- Forum Councilor, Dietrich Schroeer -- Executive Committee, Laurie Fathe, Daniel M. Kammen, Gerald Epstein, Marc Sher, Tina Kaarsberg, Robert Lempert
The winners of the 1995 Leo Szilard Award are Roald Z. Sagdeev and Evgeny P. Velikhov. The Leo Szilard Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments by physicists in promoting the use of physics for the benefit of society in such areas as the environment, arms control, and science policy. It honors those who have made remarkable and constructive application of science in the public interest. The award citation to Roald Z. Sagdeev and Evgeny P. Velikhov reads "For unique contributions to Soviet Glasnost which was a major factor in reversing the nuclear arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States."
The winner of the 1995 Forum Award is John P. Holdren. The Forum Award recognizes outstanding accomplishment in promoting public understanding of issues at the interface of physics and society. It honors those scientists and others who have effectively promoted and strengthened public understanding of the results and methods of science, the relation of physics to society, and important science and society issues. The award citation to John P. Holdren reads "For his many insightful contributions to the analysis of global energy issues, for his unstinting leadership in arms control, and for the clear and lucid presentation of these ideas to scientists and to the general public."
The APS elected in 1995 the following five new Fellows who were recommended by the Forum on Physics and Society:
John F. Ahearne, for wise counsel and leadership on matters of nuclear reactor safety, waste management, and risk management.
Harold Brown, for employing quantitative physics results to solve thorny diplomatic and arms control problems, particularly during the negotiations of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
Gerald Lewis Epstein, for technical analysis on international security and energy matters in which he directed the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment studies on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Steven Alan Fetter, for scientific analysis on international security issues, especially his treatment of the Comprehensive Test Ban issues, and for service to policy makers in the departments of State and Defense.
David Goldstein, for playing a leading role in enactment of energy efficiency laws and regulations in the United States.
About 20 officers representing the five APS forums met during the April APS meeting in Washington, to discuss more effective cooperation in areas of common interest and in the APS interest. For more on the incentives for cooperation, see the "Comment" article in this issue by the meeting's organizer, Anthony Nero.
Following is a summary of the main topics discussed.
Means to foster cooperation. These included agreement about the value of having an annual officers' meeting, having an internet discussion list including all officers (one has been set up tentatively for the winter and spring of 1995-96), and having an up-to-date list of all of the five forums' officers and committee members with communication addresses. For assistance of the officers, it was agreed to develop a sequential listing of duties for Vice-Chair, Chair-Elect, and Chair, an effort that the FPS has been undertaking in any case.
Organizing symposia. We discussed how to more effectively organize joint symposia and having symposia at divisional and topical meetings. It was agreed that the forum program chairs would act together as a joint program committee, sharing information to identify common interests and opportunities for cooperation, and to identify members in the divisions who can help to organize symposia at other than the March and April meetings.
Developing a joint forums program for the membership. Before the March and April meeting, a summary joint program of all forum sessions for these two meeting was emailed to all forum members for which the APS had email addresses. This was very useful, and we agreed it should be repeated in the future.
The future of the April meeting. We discussed the importance of the April meeting, given the occasion it presents for the forums to overlap with the AAPT and many divisions having common interests. The question was raised whether the forums could act in concert to make this more a forums meeting on issues of interest to the general society membership, thereby attracting a component of the Society's membership that doesn't usually attend meetings, but this notion was not given much support. The importance of the huge March meeting was emphasized, since it offers a much greater potential for involving the APS membership in forum issues, and it was agreed that the forums should try to develop a greater presence at that meeting. However, this is not easy, given the competition for session program "slots". There will be a September meeting of the program committee April meeting in Indianapolis, affording an opportunity for joint planning for that meeting.
New kinds of sessions. New types of sessions are being tried or considered. As part of an FPS/Forum on Education effort to mount sessions that actively involve members on issues of broad importance, three open forums were organized for the March and April meetings, in each case opened by a brief panel discussion. This format was very successful, and the attendance higher than the average invited symposium. FPS and FED obtained an evening session for the Sunday at the beginning of the 1996 March meeting to have another large session on employment and education, possibly in the open forum format, whose organization is also open to other forums. Another type of session being considered by the divisions is to have a session predominantly of contributed papers that is initiated by an invited paper or two. There was mention of contributed papers at the officers meeting, but little discussion
. Use of the internet for open forums. This year's March/April open forums will be continued via internet discussion lists. The "jobs and education" list already has 200 subscribers, with smaller numbers signed up for the "site visits for women" list and the "value of science" list. Forums have also begun to use www "pages," accessible through the APS home page, to poll their members and provide information by email via the APS. An example was the distribution of the joint forums program for the March and April meeting.
Measuring the success of the forums. We discussed how to judge forum effectiveness, given that there are few opportunities for member input and few take the initiative to call or write forum officers. Attendance at sessions and signing up for membership are indicators, to some extent. Use of the internet may make interaction easier. One possibility is an email poll of members. Another possibility is an internet discussion by members of general forum or APS issues.
Newsletters and APS News. The forum newsletters use most of the budgets of each forum, even with the new APS formula for forum support. The forums can learn from each other about new approaches to organizing the newsletters and minimizing costs. Another opportunity is to communicate, to the entire APS membership, interesting and provocative topics via the monthly APS News. Barrett Ripin, editor, encouraged this possibility, which the forum committees or newsletter editors should take advantage of.
Funding and staff support. The forums work on modest budgets and are not afforded the staff support of APS committees, but neither are the divisions and other APS units. Still, it was agreed that more consistent use should be made of available APS staff. Forum Councilors should encourage the APS to designate a staff person to support forum activities.
Renewal of forum membership. Barrett Ripin noted that the annual APS renewal notices require that present members of the forums must explicitly renew the memberships they wish to continue. Further, the notice does not state present forum memberships. In spite of the notice enclosed that people have to in effect rejoin the forums, the confusing nature of the form and the lack of current membership information may cause a lapse in forum membership. The APS has promised to try to rectify any such lapse, first with an email message sent to present forum members emphasizing the need to rejoin.
This meeting was followed by a smaller meeting focusing on possible initiatives on jobs and education. The results will be available via the internet list on jobs and education, and will be summarized in a subsequent issue.