Statement from the Outgoing Forum Chair

Andrew P. Zwicker, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory,

When I became Chair of FPS last April, I expected a fascinating and challenging year – I just had no idea of how fascinating and challenging it would be! We are the second largest group within APS, with more than 12% of the total membership. It seems to me, however, that our actual membership should be 100%. The administration in Washington may have changed, but nearly every day the headlines include a topic that is of relevance to FPS members. As physicists, regardless of our individual fields of interest, each and every one of us has an obligation to be an active participant in topics that are at the intersection of physics and society.

It’s not just the headlines that show the breath of these issues. Just take a look at the remarkable range of topics FPS is sponsoring or co-sponsoring at the March and April meetings. Green technology, managing nuclear fuels, physics contributions to the intelligence community, and communicating science to the public are just a few of the sessions on the agenda. I thank the Program Committee, chaired by Don Prosnitz, for the tremendous amount of work they put into organizing these sessions. Having a large range of potential topics is a far cry from finding the speakers and handling all of the details that goes in to putting together a successful session.

The other area of fascination and challenges I encountered this year centered on our newsletter, Physics & Society. As you already know, our Editors produce an outstanding combination of articles, news items, and book reviews four times a year. This year we welcomed a new Editor, Cameron Reed, and this is the first under his guidance. We also reinvigorated our Editorial Board, consisting of Barbara Levi (Chair), Ruth Howes, and Lee Schroeder. The quality of this newsletter is a testament to the hard work of each of them and I am grateful to all. This issue also contains an article by a student, Erin Owens, the current FPS-sponsored fellow. I’m pleased to read her work here and look forward to watching this program expand as we move forward. Finally, I would also like to personally reconfirm what the entire Executive Committee already expressed and offer my sincere gratitude to our outgoing Editors, Al Saperstein and Jeff Marque. For more than a decade, they worked tirelessly and produced the highest quality newsletter each and every time. As noted elsewhere, they often heard the complaints, but rarely heard the compliments they always deserved.

In closing, I would like to thank the members of the Executive Committee and all the others that have made FPS a productive and vibrant organization. It was truly a pleasure to work with each of you.

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