Forum Elections

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Candidates for Vice-Chair 2009 (one vacancy) Candidates for Executive Committee 2009-2011 (two vacancies) Candidates for Representative to POPA: 2009-2011 (one vacancy)

Candidates for Vice-Chair 2009 (one vacancy)

Katepalli R. Sreenivasan
International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste

Educated in India, Australia and the Johns Hopkins University, Katepalli R. Sreenivasan taught at Yale for twenty-two years from 1979, holding joint appointments in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Applied Physics and Mathematics. In 2002 he moved to the University of Maryland as Distinguished University Professor, Professor of Physics and Professor of Engineering, and served as the Director of the Institute for Physical Science and Technology for a year and a half. He is now concluding his term as Director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, where he holds the Abdus Salam Research Professorship. He has held visiting positions at Caltech, Rockefeller, Cambridge, and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.

Sreenivasan’s research expertise is statistical and nonlinear physics, with strong focus on fluid dynamics and turbulence; it has also touched a few other areas of physics and applied physics (such as plasma physics and cosmology). He has authored some 240 research papers and supervised about 30 Ph.D. theses and mentored numerous students. He has served the scientific community in various capacities -- the APS community as the Chairman of the Division of Fluid Dynamics (1990), the founding Chairman of the Topical Group on Statistical and Nonlinear Physics (1996-97), Associate Editor of Phys. Rev. E (1994-97) and Divisional Editor of Phys. Rev. Lett. (1991-95).

Sreenivasan is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the US National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Indian Academy of Sciences, the Indian National Science Academy, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), and the African Academy of Sciences. His honors include Guggenheim Fellowship, Otto Laporte Memorial Award of the APS, International Prize and Modesto Panetti and Carlo Ferrari Gold Medal of the Academia delle Scienze di Torino, Italy, National Order of Scientific Merit (the highest scientific honor) by the Brazilian Government and the Academy of Sciences, UNESCO Medal for Promoting International Scientific Cooperation and World Peace from the World Heritage Centre, Florence, Italy.

Statement: I grew up admiring great physicists who also had a strong social conscience. I have in mind especially those who mastered the enormous challenges of the Manhattan Project, yet devoted their time later, with equal zest, to nuclear non-proliferation. They understood physics very well, and its societal consequences at least as well.
Today’s world has come to face a number of challenges such as global change, terrorism, energy crisis and environment, spread of infectious diseases, debilitating war machines, diminishing privacy, increasing imbalances between the rich and the poor, and an increasing litany of ills. Physics has much to offer in alleviating these complex challenges. It is the duty of physicists, and of the APS, to devote part of our energies to the task. The Forum is the instrument of APS that links physics and society.

Having spent many years in different parts of the world, I have a good sense of the uniting umbrella that physics can offer; I was involved in the International Freedom of Scientists from the late 70’s; I served as a member of the Committee on Human Rights of the US National Academies. As Director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, whose role is to foster the highest possible level of scientific research and higher education in the needy parts of the world, I have come to understand international issues of science and science policies. Science, like most other human activities, requires leadership, and APS can provide it. Moreover, APS can, and should, be engaged with society far more than now, both within the US and without. Specifically, I would try to: (a) impress upon the APS the need for deeper involvement on societal issues at national and international levels; (b) bring more of the US physicists to work on such issues; (c) connect with the large network of international scientists for purposes of joining forces with APS. I readily recognize the public affairs and international initiatives being carried out by APS, as well as individual efforts of a number of APS Presidents, but these worthy goals must be widened by involving a larger cross-section of the membership through the Forum.

Peter Zimmerman
King’s College London, Professor Emeritus

I recently retired as Chair of Science & Security in the Department of War Studies at King’s College, London and Director of the KCL Centre for Science & Security Studies but I’m still active with research and teaching in the UK as Professor Emeritus and I teach part-time in Washington. My work focuses on nuclear terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and studies of the effects of debris in space caused by the use of space weaponry. In 2004-2005 I was on the National Academies of Science panel on the Safety and Security of Spent Reactor Fuel.

Before moving to London I was chief scientist of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee until 15 January 2003 and Democratic Chief Scientist until 15 March 2004 - the problems with losing an election. I advised the chair of the committee, Senator Biden, on nuclear testing, nuclear arms control, cooperative threat reduction, and terrorism. I organized the Foreign Relations Committee’s hearing on “Dirty Bombs” (radiological dispersion devices) in 2002 and the classified briefings the Committee received on nuclear terrorism.

Before the merger of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency into the Department of State, I was the last chief scientist of ACDA, a nice closing of the circle since my first job in DC was as a visiting scholar at ACDA in 1984. After ACDA was merged into State I moved to the job of science adviser for arms control. I got to work on technical aspects of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, biological arms control, missile defense, and strategic arms control.

In 2001 I was elected to a four year term as a member of the APS Council from the Forum on Education and re-elected in 2004. In 2006 I was elected to the executive board of APS, and in 2007 to POPA. I’m completing a term on the FPS ExCom.

I was honored to be the recipient of the 2004 Burton/Forum Award of the American Physical Society for work in arms control and national security and to be elected an APS fellow by the Forum.

I have B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University and a Filosofie Licentiat degree from the University of Lund, Sweden, all in experimental nuclear and elementary particle physics.

Statement: I have been lucky to have had several opportunities to serve the Forum. When I became chairman in 1999 FPS was flat broke. If an organizer of a session needed money to bring an invited speaker, I had to say “no” because there was no money. When somebody suggested a project, I had to give the same answer: “we’re broke.” Almost all of the money we received from APS went to the same account, printing and mailing Physics & Society. The hardest choice I made was to suggest that we use e-delivery for two issues a year. As a result, nine years later the FPS budget is in surplus. That gives FPS the resources to increase its presence. If elected vice-chair, I will seek to expand the Forum’s reach through establishing projects that involve self-selected volunteers from our membership, through bringing important non-physicist speakers to major APS meetings, and trying to sponsor Forum sessions at regional and section meetings of the APS.

FPS has long been the leading edge, the sensor, if you will for the APS’s activities in societal aspects of physics - from energy studies to arms control, from the ozone hole to missile defense and nuclear nonproliferation, from smart weapons to homeland security. This is a role we are glad to play, for as physicists we have the education to sort through the arguments and the obligation to work to improve our world to make it more peaceful, less vulnerable, and more humane. Because we have the resources, we, The Forum, can plan programs that bring our members’ efforts to bear on the problems of our country and planet. I would like to bring the academic physicists, the industrial physicists, and those physicists in non-traditional employment together on common efforts to identify areas of concern, and to recommend solutions to our national leaders. For the last seven years science advice has been ignored or politicized in the federal government. Either presidential candidate is likely to reverse that trend, and FPS should be on hand to educate its own members and the wider public. If I am fortunate to become your vice chair those are the areas on which I will focus my efforts.

Candidates for Executive Committee 2009-2011 (two vacancies)

Jessica Clark
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Jessica Clark is currently a research fellow in the Radiology and Radiation Therapy departments at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN. Until recently, she served as the first Head of Public Outreach for the American Physical Society, a position she held since 2000. During her tenure at APS Dr. Clark established a vibrant portfolio of programs aimed at communicating the excitement and relevance of physics to people of all ages, from “Pre-K to Grey”. She created, the APS website for the public, and then helped lead the APS component of the World Year of Physics 2005. Dr. Clark received her BS, MS and PhD all from the College of William and Mary. Her graduate work was supported by the Henry Luce Foundation through the Clare Boothe Luce Fellowship program. She has served as an advisor for the television show NOVA and as a member of the Outreach Advisory Board for NOVA’s “Absolute Zero: The Conquest of Cold.”

Statement: It is an honor to be a candidate for Member-at-Large on the FPS executive board. While I can still be considered to be in my early career, the focus of my career thus far has been service to both physics and the society. In my eight years working for APS my objective was to develop activities that offer the public an opportunity to experience the excitement of physics. With our programs for children, my goal was to inspire kids with science, in much the same way that many of us were inspired by physics. In transitioning my career to medical physics, I will now be using physics to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, a definite service to society. For many reasons, scientists are no longer as valued as we once were. However, I believe as physicists we still have an obligation to show our communities how science can improve the lives of all people. I believe that FPS should work to create a more locally active membership, either through encouraging grassroots outreach or service in local politics. Our society is facing huge problems, from climate change to a pending energy crisis (issues that have already produced enormous consequences in my home state of Alaska). As physicists we know that we can contribute to the solutions to these problems; we just need FPS to help the world listen to us. And, as the great bumper sticker says, “Think globally. Act Locally.”

David Harris
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

David Harris is currently Deputy Communications Director for Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and Editor-in-Chief of Symmetry magazine, published jointly by SLAC and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He obtained a first class honours degree and the University Medal from Australian National University, a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication from ANU, and then studied for a theoretical physics PhD at the University of Queensland. While a graduate student, he started his career as a science communicator and journalist, presenting a weekly science program on Australia’s public radio broadcaster. He was the head writer and co-producer for 65 half-hour episodes of a science television program “Y?” for 8-12 year olds, broadcast nationally in Australia and then sold to overseas markets. After some years as a freelance science journalist, university public information officer, and science communication consultant, he moved to the United States to take up a position as APS Head of Media Relations from 2002-2004. At APS he was involved in the planning for the APS World Year of Physics effort. He then moved to Stanford Linear Accelerator Center to establish Symmetry magazine, which has won numerous awards for editorial content and design. He served on the advisory board to the AIP Media and Government Relations from 2004-2007. As a journalist, he has written news and features for a wide range of international science publications from Nature to New Scientist to Wired magazine. He is a Life Member of the American Physical Society and the Forum on Physics and Society.

Statement: Physics plays as significant a role as ever in ensuring a healthy, innovative, wealthy society. However, at times of economic insecurity, basic research is at serious risk of being marginalized in the policy-making process. The physics community has a responsibility to ensure that policy makers and the constituents they represent have sufficient information to engage in the policy process to make decisions for the benefit of society. Through the experience over the past five years of producing Symmetry magazine, which is aimed at non-scientist policy makers and opinion leaders, the value in bridging gaps between physics, the non-science-trained portions of society, and policy makers has become extremely clear to me. Finding ways to bring all three of these communities together is vital in making well-informed decisions that have a chance of influencing the formation of policy, not only for the benefit of the physics community but for society as a whole. As physicists, we must engage with these communities on a sustained basis, forming strong relationships with other stakeholders so that when external pressures become most acute, an already-existing shared understanding can allow us to make strategic decisions in forming plans for the future. Reaping the benefit of the research done by the physics community, and ensuring an adequate funding environment to allow physicists to do their research is critically dependent on the relationships between the physics community and other segments of society. My interest in offering my experience to the Forum on Physics and Society is to promote the building of relationships between the physics community and others (particularly in policy circles) and to use these relationships to better inform strategic planning for a healthy future for physics and the many areas of society to which physics can contribute.

Charles Tahan
Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc.

Charles Tahan is currently lead technical consultant to DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office on programs in quantum information science and technology. Previously he was a National Science Foundation Distinguished International Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge, UK (with research also conducted at the University of Melbourne in Australia and the University of Tokyo, Japan). While working in England, he was invited to be a founding member of both the United Kingdom’s Nanotechnology Task Force chaired by Dr Ian Gibson, MP, and the Nanoethics Network of Aarhus University, Denmark. He also sits on the advisory board of the Nanoethics Group (Santa Barbara, CA). He received a B.Sci. in physics and computer science with highest honors from the College of William and Mary (2000) and a Ph.D. in condensed matter theory from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2005), where his work focused on silicon quantum computing and spin-based devices. At Wisconsin he worked with professors in the sociology, public affairs, history of science, engineering physics, bioethics, and materials science departments to co-develop a new course on nanotechnology and its societal implications dubbed “Nanotechnology and Society,” which he taught to undergraduates in the spring term of 2005. He has authored several guest articles on nanotechnology and its societal interactions and implications. Recently he has become interested in the social implications of quantum information science and technology. In addition to semiconductor nano-devices, his research interests have included quantum optics and the quantum many-body theory of photons and polaritonic “solid light” systems, which he helped introduce, and solid-state architectures for quantum technology such as silicon, diamond, superconducting electronics, and plasmonics.

Statement: A society that brings forth advances in technology will itself be changed by it. We few who are trained in and devoted to science have a responsibility to guide these transformations, both with our technical work and also with our interactions with the greater world. I believe the latter goes beyond calling for “more children interested in science and math.” Science is awesome; we need for it to be a better career option for the brightest students. In the realm of physics and society, there is a greater need for scientists to engage with the science and technology studies and public policy communities earlier in their careers, without fear of stigma. Earmarked funding in the National Nanotechnology Initiative specifically for societal and environmental implications studies has created a unique opportunity where physicists can work directly with sociologists, ethicists, and science historians before speculation becomes accepted fact. Here, expertise in the actual science and the limits of technology can be vital. If I can add anything to the already excellent Forum on Physics and Society, it is the perspective of these new developments of physics in society - in fields, like nanotechnology and quantum information technology, that did not exist 20 years ago.

Oriol Valls
University of Minnesota

Oriol T. Valls is currently a Professor of Physics at the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota. He is also a Fellow of the Minnesota Supercomputer Institute. He is a well-known theoretical Solid State physicist who has done extensive work on exotic forms of superconductivity as well as on nonequilibrium phenomena and glasses. After obtaining his PhD in 1976 at Brown University, he was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Chicago and a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, before joining the University of Minnesota faculty. He has been a visiting Professor or visiting Scientist at NORDITA, the University of Paris, IBM, and Argonne National Laboratory, among other places. He has been a member of the American Physical Society since his student times, a member of the Forum on Physics and Society for over twenty years, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society since 1998, being nominated for his work on exotic Cooper pairing. At the Forum on Physics and Society, he has recently served as member of the nominating committee for several years.

Statement: I joined our forum many years ago, and I have been active in it since, because I think that it is fundamental to the well-being of both the Physics profession and of Society at large that societal issues on which the physical sciences have something to say be discussed within the proper scientific context. Society’s decision makers must be given the scientific input they need, while physicists must come down from their ivory tower, or out of their labs, and see what are the needs of society where they can help. If elected, I would endeavor to get the Forum to increase its outreach efforts. I would advocate to increase the size of our newsletter so that, while we continue our healthy debate on many issues amongst ourselves, more space can be devoted to articles directed not to other members, but to the educated public at large. We have to remember that most decision-makers in society at large did not take calculus in college. I would also attempt to increase the space devoted in Physics Today to Forum-related issues. The Forum should also continue to be active in its outreach efforts towards high school and undergraduate students, and the teachers the mentor them.

Candidates for Representative to POPA: 2009-2011 (one vacancy)

Anthony Fainberg
Institute for Defense Analyses

Dr. Fainberg is a staff member at the Institute for Defense Analyses, having transitioned there following his retirement from federal service. He received his A.B. from New York University in 1964 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1969 in experimental particle physics. He worked in basic and applied research for a decade at CERN, Syracuse University, and Brookhaven National Laboratory. Dr. Fainberg came to Washington, DC, in 1983 as an APS Congressional Science Fellow, working in the Office of Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). He then spent a decade at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, before it was closed by the 104th Congress. While there, Dr. Fainberg participated in an analysis of the Strategic Defense Initiative, which had a major impact on congressional perceptions of this program. He also helped initiate and then directed studies on the role of technology in countering terrorism in 1990-1992, well before this topic had developed its high profile. Later, he spent a decade in various federal agencies within the Executive Branch, dealing primarily with scientific issues related to national security affairs. He oversaw research and development programs for the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. He also directed policy studies in the Advanced Systems and Concepts Office of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Most recently, he has focused on countering the threat of nuclear terrorism. Dr. Fainberg has been active in the Forum on Physics and Society in the past, having served as its Chair in 1993-4. He was also Vice-Chair of the APS Panel on Public Affairs in 1996. He has participated in several Forum sessions at APS meetings and co-edited (with Ruth Howes as editor) The Energy Sourcebook, published by the American Institute of Physics in 1991. He is a Fellow of the APS.

Statement: The current bad relations between the federal government and the scientific community are nearly without precedent. This situation has hurt the U.S. science community but has damaged the Nation even more. The disconnect is not uniquely a Republican-creationist-climate change-denial matter, either: last December’s disaster in science funding was caused by an infantile game of chicken between the administration and a Democratic Congress, in which science was a severely injured bystander. Fortunately, there is an opportunity to reverse this trend in January. The APS can and should play a leading role in opening new and innovative channels of communication between the scientific community and the incoming leadership of both the Executive and Legislative Branches. The APS also should expand its past, highly successful efforts to perform serious scientific studies on matters with public policy relevance. The Forum, given its history of sessions, studies, and publications, plus its corporate knowledge, is well-positioned to suggest strategies and paths forward to the Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) in these endeavors. As well as addressing usual topics of concern -climate change, energy policy, national security, etc.--a couple of meta-topics could also be put forth, such as how to improve a) prospects that major political decisions with technical content not be made in a data-free environment and b) general scientific literacy--which would help with a). My career path has allowed me to spend many years both in the research world and in the government. Further, I have experience at both the Forum and POPA, dropping participation only when my oversight over some federal research funding would have led to perceptions of a conflict of interest. Given my background, I think I could be useful in presenting Forum-developed initiatives to POPA. I would aim for major improvements in government-scientific community relations, as part of a long-term effort to increase the ability of the nation’s scientists and engineers to affect policy issues in which they have expertise and interest.

Lawrence Krauss
Arizona State University

Lawrence M. Krauss is Foundation Professor and Director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University. He moved to ASU from Case Western Reserve University, where he was Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, Professor of Astronomy, and Director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from MIT in 1982 then joined the Harvard Society of Fellows. In 1985 he joined the faculty of Physics at Yale University, and moved to CWRU in 1993. From 1993 to 2005 he also served as Chairman of the Physics Department.

He is a Fellow of the APS and of the AAAS and the author of over 250 scientific articles, as well as numerous popular articles on physics and astronomy. In addition, he is the author of six popular books, including the international bestseller, The Physics of Star Trek., and the award winning Atom: An Odyssey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth and Beyond. In addition to his newspaper commentaries, he appears frequently on radio and television around the world and is a commentator for Marketplace and Morning Exchange on NPR and writes a regular column for New Scientist Magazine. He has testified before Congress on issues ranging from Space Exploration to support of science research in general. Prof. Krauss is the recipient of numerous awards including the AAAS 1999-2000 Award for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology, the 2001 Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the APS, the 2002 Andrew Gemant Award from the AIP, the 2002 AIP Science Writing Award, the Oersted Medal of the AAPT, and in 2005, the APS’s Joseph P. Burton Forum Award for his work on Science and Society.

He has been particularly active in issues of science and society. He serves on the steering committee of Science Debate 2008 and is outgoing Chair of the Forum on Physics and Society for the APS, and outgoing Chair of the Physics Division of the AAAS.

Krauss has also performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, narrating Gustav Holst’s The Planets, and he was nominated for a Grammy award for his liner notes for a CD of music from Star Trek. In 2005 he also served as a jury member at the Sundance Film Festival.

Statement: Having served on both POPA in the past, and as Chair of the Forum on Physics and Society I believe I am in particularly good position to serve as the FPS representative on POPA. I am fully aware of not only the ongoing issues that have governed activities in the Forum over the past few years, and my longstanding interest and activities associated with physics and society should help me provide valuable perspective as POPA determines its agenda for the coming year. As the main body that helps determine public policy statements for the APS, POPA is an extremely important body, and I am excited about the possibility of being able to contribute to its activities.

This contribution has not been peer refereed. It represents solely the view(s) of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of APS.