When I was offered the editorship of P&S I felt deeply honored and humbled. P&S reaches a significant audience: the Forum on Physics and Society boasts some 5,900 members, the second-most of any Division, Topical Group, Forum or Section of the APS. Over 12% of APS members are members of FPS; since 2005, membership in the forum has grown by just over 20%, more than twice the growth rate of the Society as a whole. Fully one-quarter of the Forum’s members are students. This level of engagement in the Forum reflects the seriousness with which physicists take the relationship between their science and the broader human society of which we are all members, and we can be rightfully proud of this. To be entrusted with the editorship of P&S is a significant level of professional recognition. Under the guidance of the Editorial Committee (currently Ruth Howes, Barbara Levi, and Lee Schroeder) and the superb work of my predecessors Martin Perl, John Dowling, Art Hobson, Al Saperstein, and Jeffrey Marque, P&S has evolved into a timely and engaging publication greatly respected for its scientifically objective coverage of a wide variety of issues. I have my work cut out for me in building upon the high standards they established over the course of nearly four decades. It is more than a little daunting to think of the shoes I have to fill, but I look forward to this task for the very selfish reason that I have been given a tremendous opportunity to make contact with a wide spectrum of interesting people and ideas. Also, as this issue was being prepared for publication, I am very pleased that Dr. Jonathan Wurtele of UC-Berkeley will join P&S as Assistant Editor. His experience and contacts within the community should be a powerful asset as we work to identify writers to prepare contributions on issues of interest to our readers, and I look forward to working with him.
Be active in the Forum; it can be no more than what its members make of it. The quality of P&S depends critically on that of the contributions we receive. In addition to soliciting contributions on topics of broad interest to the community, we are always on the lookout for interesting letters, articles, news, commentary, reviews and exchanges of ideas. There is practically no current societal issue that does not in some way directly involve the findings of physics or cannot benefit from application of the skills of physicists and allied researchers. If you have an idea for a contribution, feel free to contact Dr. Wurtele or myself at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
I am especially pleased at the wide variety of contributions we have for this issue of P&S. Kevin Trenberth’s article on changes in the flow of energy through the Earth’s climate system is based on an invited talk he presented at the March APS meeting and nicely complements the discussions on climate change that appeared in our July 2008 edition. David Hafemeister gives an extensive review of the recent APS energy efficiency report. An AIP FYI news article on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and an interesting article concerning a historic plutonium find at Hanford are complemented by an article on the Yucca issue by David Bodansky. We are pleased to be able to run testimony on the future of US nuclear weapons presented to the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States by longtime nuclear weapons expert Dick Garwin. Erin Owens, a FPS Student Fellowship Award recipient, describes her 2008 summer research on light pipes at Eastern Michigan University. In addition, we have two letters to the Editor, two book reviews, and statements from the outgoing and incoming chairs of the Forum. I would especially draw your attention to incoming chair Don Prosnitz’s call for ideas on how to establish more of an outreach presence for the Forum. We welcome feedback on all of these items. Enjoy.
This contribution has not been peer refereed. It represents solely the view(s) of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of APS.