Candidates for Forum Executive Committee Positions
[Editor's note: Voting for positions on the Forum's Executive Committee will be complete by the time this edition of P&S goes to press. We record here for the record candidates' backgrounds and statements.]Vice Chair (Vote for no more than one candidate)
Member At Large (Vote for no more than two candidates)
Councilor (Vote for no more than one candidate)
Representative to POPA (Vote for no more than one candidate)
Background: Dr. Rowberg is currently Deputy Executive Director for the Division of Engineering and Physical Sciences (DEPS) of the National Academy of Sciences. He has served at NAS since 2002. In 2001 he retired from the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress after serving there for 16 years. From 1994 to his retirement, Dr. Rowberg was a Senior Specialist in Science and Technology with the Resources, Science, and Industry Division, and from 1985 to 1994, he was Chief of the Science Policy Research Division of CRS. From 1975 to 1985 Dr. Rowberg worked for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment where he was manager of the Energy and Materials Program from 1979 to 1985. From 1975 to 1979 he served as an analyst in and deputy manager of the OTA Energy Program. Before coming to Washington, Dr. Rowberg was a research engineer and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering of the University of Texas at Austin from 1969 to 1974. He received a BA in physics from UCLA in 1961, and a Ph.D. in plasma physics from UCLA in 1968. In 2010, Dr. Rowberg was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
Statement: I joined FPS early in its life when I was at the Office of Technology Assessment. It was a natural association given my work in science policy and my physics Ph.D. For the remainder of my career at OTA, the Congressional Research Service, and now at the National Academy of Sciences, I have been a member of the FPS. I have been closely involved with many of the issues that have been the subject of FPS efforts and that have been addressed in Physics and Society. lf elected vice-chair, a major responsibility will be to maintain the strengths of the FPS. The engagement of the FPS through its various activities in critical science-driven public policy issues needs to continue as intensely as ever. The reputation of the FPS as an honest forum for debate about science in society is critical; many people have spent many years developing that reputation. Tension between the public and science-and even among scientists-appears to be growing in some areas. The increased politicization of important issues such as climate change, energy development, and environmental protection, and increasing austerity facing the Candidates for Forum Executive Committee Positions Federal government are among the key reasons. I believe that FPS can play an important role in addressing that tension by engaging all sides of the debate about the role and behavior of science in these policy issues just as it has in addressing the substance of the issues. If elected, I would want the FPS to address the contribution of physics research to the cultural advancement of human kind. The direct contributions of physics to the well-being, health, and security of society are naturally very important and the focus of much of the FPS activities. The contribution to the understanding of the world and how it works for its own sake are also critical to all of us. Indeed it is likely that those contributions will be the things most remembered about our time. When much of our basic physics research focuses on those areas, engaging with the public about the cultural value of that research-especially in these periods of growing budget constraints-will be important for both science and the public. This engagement should be part of the FPS mission.
Background: Micah Lowenthal is the director of Committee on International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). He has worked at the NAS since 2001, serving as study director and supporting staff on over a dozen studies ranging from nuclear forensics and screening cargo for nuclear and radiological material to internationalization of the nuclear fuel cycle and U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation. He received the National Academies Distinguished Service Award in 2008. Previously Dr. Lowenthal was a lecturer and researcher in nuclear engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, working on design of both fusion and fission energy systems, as well as radioactive waste. In 1996, he was an Environmental Science and Engineering Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Lowenthal holds an A.B. degree in physics and a Ph.D. degree in engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.
Statement: Physicists have for many decades helped leaders and society to understand a variety of issues with underlying technical components, ranging from national defense to energy and environmental damage. Nuclear technology has been the focus of my own work and has been the impetus for much of the engagement of physicists in societal issues, both to reap the enormous potential benefits and to prevent or mitigate the similarly enormous potential harm that can be wrought with nuclear technology. Physicists have made pivotal contributions to understanding stratospheric ozone depletion and acid rain and are central to efforts to understand global climate change. Energy benefits, consequences and options have also been examined closely using the intellectual tools of physics. Not only does physics helps us understand the underlying physical phenomena, but as a discipline, physics provides a structured way of thinking about problems. The Forum on Physics and Society, its newsletter, and its sessions at the APS meetings show the value physics and physicists bring to societal issues, and it is important for both physicists and society that the Forum keeps up this work, both to inspire and inform. There are many more options today for scientists to contribute to policy discussions than were available when the Forum began. For example, the AAAS Science and Policy fellowships have enjoyed enormous success and whole academic programs focused on the interface of science and policy have arisen. The need for well-grounded scientific analysis in support of policy has grown, too, and continues to outpace the supply, so the Forum may have a more important role than ever before. We want to inspire physicists at every career stage to explore the societal implications of their work and to engage in helping society to grapple with our rapidly evolving natural and technological environments. The Forum should also continue to gather experts to discuss and, starting from a scientific foundation, debate a wide range of important issues that face society today and in the future. There is much more work ahead and I would like to see the Forum taking on the challenge.
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Background: Lawrence M. Krauss is Foundation Professor and Director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University. He moved to ASU in 2008 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 300 scientific articles, as well as numerous popular articles on physics and astronomy. In addition, he is the author of nine popular books, including the international bestsellers, The Physics of Star Trek, and A Universe from Nothing. In addition to his newspaper commentaries, he appears frequently on radio and television around the world and is a commentator for various magazines. 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 2012 and was Chair of the Forum on Physics and Society for the APS, and Chair of the Physics Division of the AAAS, and is Chair of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Federation of American Scientists.
Statement: The interface of Physics and Society is of profound interest to me, and I have devoted a substantial fraction of my time as a physicist to promoting public welfare, and public education. I have had extensive experience with the Forum and with the APS. I served as Chair of the Forum and twice served on the Panel of Public Affairs of the APS. Thus I believe I am in particularly good position to serve on the FPS executive committee as I am fully aware of the ongoing issues that have governed activities in the Forum over the past few years. In addition, my longstanding interest and activities associated with physics and society should help me provide valuable perspectives for the Forum, as well as useful connections to other organizations. I am excited about the possibility of being able to continuing to contribute to the Forum and its activities.
Background: David Kulp is an AAAS Science and Technology Fellow in the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Defense Programs. He earned his PhD in physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, leading experimental teams at national laboratories to elucidate the internal degrees of freedom realized in the atomic nucleus through gamma-ray and particle spectroscopy. His MS in physics is from Emory University, where he studied fractal surface growth. A Trident Scholar and graduate with distinction from the United States Naval Academy, David’s undergraduate research employed ion beam analysis in the characterization of archaeological artifacts. A former Chair of the User Executive Committee at TRIUMF, Canada’s Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics, David served on multiple committees at the laboratory, including the Subatomic Experimental Evaluation Committee and the Writing Committee for TRIUMF’s Five-Year Plan. As an advisor to the IAEA International Network of Nuclear Structure and Decay Data Evaluators and the U.S. Nuclear Data Project, he has firsthand experience with the direct benefits to society from basic research in nuclear science, applied research in nuclear technology, and from cooperative international exchange of nuclear data. A past Fellow in the Sam Nunn Security Program at the Georgia Tech, David’s recent work has focused on the detection of special nuclear materials, the development of nuclear forensics, reducing the availability of nuclear and other radioactive source materials for use in weapons, and reducing the threat of radiological and nuclear terrorism.
Statement: Physicists have critical roles to play in society, including performing basic and applied research, educating the public, and informing policymakers about science and technology. Through its newsletter, meeting sessions, and short courses, the Forum on Physics and Society explores topics in national security, energy, education, space, the environment, and other areas where science can inform public policy. These topics are sensitive enough that political leaders have so far avoided participating in a Science Debate based on fourteen questions posed by the American science and innovation community. Yet the issues are of widespread interest to the public and significantly important that informed debate needs to take place, and the Forum provides such a venue for physicists to engage in discussion across disciplinary lines. If I am elected, I will work to stimulate further informed discussion by encouraging academic outreach beyond teaching and publishing, such as participation at the community level through local school science nights and science fairs. I will work within the APS to draw more active members into the Forum for discussion, and work with other scientific societies to raise awareness of the need for open discussion of science policy and issues where science informs policy. I will also work to stimulate action beyond the Forum, working with the Executive Committee to convey the interests of the Forum to the public and engage policymakers to look to our membership for scientific opinion on critical issues.
Background: Douglas Wright is an experimental high energy physicist who has, over the past twenty years, combined a conventional career in basic science with applications of radiation detection for national security. He leads the LLNL collider physics efforts at the LHC (CMS) as well as an experimental program to demonstrate the capability of bremsstrahlung gamma-ray beams to detect terrorist nuclear weapons. He received a B.A. in physics and mathematics from the U. of Pennsylvania in 1983 and Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University in 1993. He lived at CERN for two years while completing his Ph.D. and then joined LLNL to work on an SSC experiment. He went on to lead physics and detector efforts at SLAC (BABAR), Fermilab (MINOS and MIPP), and CERN (CMS), was group leader for HEP at LLNL for eight years, and is now Program Development Leader of Nuclear/ Particle Physics at LLNL. Over this same time period, he worked on a novel technology for using proton accelerators to dynamically image implosions and helped develop advanced gamma-ray imaging detectors for nuclear non-proliferation applications. He created and distributes open-source physics simulation software used by the broader radiation detection community. Currently he leads the experimental test program for the first practical active interrogation system for detecting terrorist nuclear weapons at significant stand-off distances.
Statement: I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work closely with scientists and technical leaders in radically different arenas: from the purely academic community and international accelerator laboratories, to multiple government entities in DOE, DHS, and DOD, and private industry both large and small. From this broad exposure I have learned two extremely important lessons. First, the necessity of establishing trust with decision makers, since they are constantly bombarded by opinions from many sources with varying agendas. Second, that understanding and addressing the practical implementation and political realities are just as important as the scientific details. While we often focus on outreach, to educate the public or high-level policy-makers about scientific truths, I believe that we also need to build bridges of trust at multiple levels between decision makers and the scientific community via continual and consistent contact. This is also a two-way street. We the scientific community need to learn about the practical realities facing those whom we counsel and craft solutions that address both the technical and non-technical aspects of the issues. As a candidate for the executive committee, I would like to apply these lessons and foster more bi-directional interaction of our physics community with the outside world. As chair of an upcoming FPS session, I helped bring decision makers to discuss their needs in the area of countering nuclear terrorism. As members of this forum, we are all acutely aware of other major challenges facing our global society in energy, climate, healthcare, financial systems, and more. In the future, I would like to explore new ways of increasing direct communication between scientists and policy makers in all these areas, perhaps using panel discussions, live online chat events, or focus group meetings. I ask for your support, your ideas, and your increased involvement in this Forum.
Background: Andrew Zentner is an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh, where he has been a member of the faculty since 2007. Andrew is also a member of the executive committee of the Pittsburgh Particle physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh, Andrew earned a B. S in electrical engineering from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City in 1998 and a Ph.D. in physics from The Ohio State University in 2003. Andrew conducted postdoctoral research in theoretical cosmology at the University of Chicago where he was a fellow of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (2003-2006) and a National Science Foundation Fellow (2006-2007). His primary research interests are theoretical cosmology, interpreted broadly to include early universe physics, the evolution of structure and the formation of galaxies, and the quests to identify the dark matter and dark energy that dominate the energy budget of the Universe. He has published over 50 refereed journal articles on these subjects. Andrew maintains an active interest in education and outreach and organizes an Education and Outreach partnership between the University of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Science Center. One of his current education projects is to develop a general education program for non-science majors at the University of Pittsburgh aimed at improving upon the appreciation of physics as a field of discovery and the importance of physics as a basis for understanding energy, climate, and technological issues that affect society.
Statement: To FPS members, it is evident that physics bears ever more directly on societal issues. This pertinence stems from the specific knowledge and expertise of physicists as well as the general methods of quantitative science. An active community of physicists enriches our culture and lays the foundation for technological and economic progress. As a highly-trained component of society, it is the obligation of physicists to communicate scientific perspectives on societal issues. The FPS can help physicists better meet their obligation in a number of ways. The FPS can expand upon its already successful programs, including the popular APS sessions and in particular by providing for further Forum Studies. Renewed effort must be placed in “grassroots” efforts to invigorate physicists to participate in societal debates and public education. The Forum should reach out to professional colleagues to encourage physicists to participate in service, education, and outreach. Young physicists often feel that such activity is impossible because service is not valued highly as a consideration for promotion and career advancement (or is thought not to be valued highly). Successful, high-profile, education and outreach programs can change this perception. It is also incumbent upon the FPS to emphasize the value of service to society and change these perceptions in order to broaden participation by active physicists. Society decides the effective value of input from physicists and if physicists do not actively engage in societal decision making, this input will be undervalued. The FPS must strive to encourage and empower its membership to be active in their communities. Local activity of this nature will exhibit the power of the scientific approach, better equip the general public with the tools to address issues some of which are fundamentally quantitative, and exemplify part of the value of supporting an active community of physicists as an important piece of modern society. I hope to serve the FPS in order to help cultivate stronger relationships among physicists as well as between physicists and the general public for the benefit of both society and our profession.
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Background: A.B. in Physics, University of California, Berkeley, 1956. Ph.D. in Physics, Harvard University, 1961. National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellow, 1956-1961. National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Istituto di Fisica Dell Universita, Rome, 1961-1962, and Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, 1962-1963. Research Associate, Yale University, 1963-1964. Assistant Professor, Yale University, 1964-1966. Associate Professor, Yale University, 1966-1968. Associate Professor, University of Washington, 1968-1971. Professor, University of Washington, 1971-2001. Staff Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2001-. National Science Foundation Senior Postdoctoral Fellow, Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, 1971-1972. Fellow, American Physical Society; Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Laboratory Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Member, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi. American Physical Society: Member, Editorial Board of Physical Review D, 1978-80; Member, Publication Committee, 1983-86; Editor, Physical Review D, 1987-95; Member, Panel on Public Affairs, 1979; Member, Executive Committee, Division of Particles and Fields, 1982-83, 1988-91; Member, Nominating Committee, 1994-96. Consultant, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1974-2001; Member, Theory Division External Advisory Committee, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1990-1993; Chairman, Theoretical Physics Panel, U.S. D.O.E. Technical Assessment Committee on University Programs, 1982-83; Member, Elementary Particle Physics Panel, Physics Survey of National Research Council, 1983-85; Member, Board of Trustees, Aspen Center for Physics, 1982-88; Member, Advisory Board, Aspen Center for Physics, 1988-90; General Member, Aspen Center for Physics, 1990-; Member, Scientiﬁc Advisory Board, Theoretical Advanced Study Institute in Elementary Particle Physics, 1984-89; Correspondent, Comments on Nuclear and Particle Physics, 1984-92.
Statement: I will work to convey the views of the FPS members as stated by their Executive Committee to the APS Council in a fair and objective fashion — including not only the consensus opinion of the majority of the members, but also the differing range of opinions that the rest of the members may hold. I generally agree with the candidates for FPS positions statements made over the years about the many serious issues that we face. However, I am also very much concerned by the present irrational, anti-scientific climate that is present in too large a segment of our schools and universities and which has spread throughout our society. An example is the prevalence of Postmodernism thought which, as stated in the Wikipedia, “ ... claims that there is no absolute truth and that the way people perceive the world is subjective.” We must emphasize the importance of empirical facts, and the rational basis that science has made in understanding the world around us. As a corollary, we must use science to understand problems that we face and then take actions based on this understanding, rather than demeaning science by cherry picking selected results to justify preconceived policies or ideologies.
Background: Don Prosnitz received his B.S. from Yale University and his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then spent two years as an Assistant Professor in the Engineering and Applied Science Department at Yale University before joining Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as an experimental laser physicist. Over the next three decades, he conducted research on lasers, particle accelerators, high power microwaves, free electron lasers, and remote sensing and managed the design, construction, and operation of numerous research facilities. In 1999, Dr. Prosnitz was named the first Chief Science and Technology Advisor for the Department of Justice (DOJ) by Attorney General Janet Reno. In this newly created position, he was responsible for coordinating technology policy among the DOJ’s component agencies and with state and local law enforcement entities on science and technology projects and programs including forensics, information systems and wireless communication. He returned to Livermore in 2003 and assumed the role of Deputy Associate Director (Programs) for Non-Proliferation, Homeland and International Security and was responsible for overseeing all of the directorate’s technical programs. He is presently a Sr. Principal Researcher (adjunct) at RAND Corporation, a visiting scholar at the physics department of the University of California, Berkeley, and an independent technical consultant. His current activities include research on free-electron lasers and a range of studies, from examining the impact of new technologies on privacy to climate and immigration policy. In 1990, he was awarded the U.S. Particle Accelerator Award for Achievement in Accelerator Physics and Technology. In 2002, he was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He is a former chair of the American Physical Society Forum on Physics and Society, was an ex-officio member of the APS bylaws committee and served for five years as a member of the National Academies of Science Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology. He has been a member of multiple National Academies panels.
Statement: I am seeking to represent the Forum on Physics and Society on the Council of the American Physical Society because I believe our Forum’s members are particularly well suited to help guide the APS in the coming years. The present combination of increased public concern with advanced technologies and, in some cases distrust of scientists and scientific research combined with difficult economic times makes it even more critical that the APS operate as an institution cognizant of the interaction between physics research and the public. We must reach out and educate while operating as a transparent organization, never losing sight of the fact that fundamentally we represent physicists and the research they conduct. I am an APS fellow and a former chair of the Forum on Physics and Society. I helped the Committee on Constitution & Bylaws draft a new bylaw concerning APS Public Policy Statements. Professionally, I am a former Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory employee and was, for a number of years, the Chief Science and Technology Advisor for the U.S. Department of Justice. I am currently an adjunct researcher at RAND, a consultant at several national labs working on national security issues, a member of two National Academies of Science panels, and a visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley working on free electron lasers. I am also an active member of my hometown Community Emergency Response Team (CERT.) I strongly believe that as a council member I must represent the membership of the Forum. If elected, I will actively seek the opinions of Forum members on issues of importance that come before the Council, and provide updates on Council issues to members either through e-mail or the Forum newsletter.
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Background: 1/11-9/11 Editor in Chief, Journal of Low Temperature Physics 4/08-6/09 Co-chair, Intercollege Minor in Civic and Community Engagement 5/07-6/07 Visiting Professor, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris 1/02 -6/09 Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering 1/00 -Distinguished Professor of Physics 11/97-3/99 Codirector, Penn State Center for Materials Physics 9/91-2/98 Director, NSF-sponsored Materials Research Group (Physical Adsorption) 1/90-5/90 Fulbright Scholar, Physical Chemistry Laboratory, Oxford University 6/85-7/85 Visiting Professor, Universities of Marseille and Padua 6/83-8/83 Visiting Research Physicist, University of California, Santa Barbara 9/82-6/83 Visiting Professor of Physics, California Institute of Technology 3/82-8/82 Visiting Professor of Physics and Chemistry, Brown University 9/81-3/82 Visiting Associate, California Institute of Technology 9/75-8/76 Associate Professor of Physics, Brooklyn College of CUNY 9/74-9/81 Assistant → Full Professor of Physics, Penn State University American Physical Society Committee on International Freedom of Scientists (1/12-12/14) Advisory Board to the Editor in Chief, Journal of Low Temperature Physics, 2005-2011 Advisory Board, Committee of Concerned Scientists, 2009 Co-organizer, workshop ‘Adsorption at the Nanoscale’, U. Missouri, September, 2011 Co-editor, J. Phys. Cond. Matt., special Peter Eklund issue, ‘Physics of Fullerenes’, 2010 Co-editor of special issue ‘Wetting, spreading and filling’, J. Low Temp. Phys., November, 2009 Co-creator and director of Penn State Science-U summer camp for 2nd and 3rd grade students, June, 2009: Catch the Wave: Adventures in Sound and Light. Fellow of the American Physical Society (1979) Fulbright Scholarship to Oxford University (1989) Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Physical Sciences and Engineering (1993) National Academy of Sciences Award for Scientific Reviewing (2001) Women in Science and Engineering Faculty Mentoring Recognition Award (2008)
Statement: I am honored to be considered for the position of Forum representative on the APS Panel on Public Affairs. My longstanding membership in the Forum reflects, among other things, an ongoing interest in the role physics plays in understanding and advancing technologies. As a researcher in theoretical surface physics, I have investigated both energy and environmental issues (e.g., hydrogen storage, lubrication and CO2 sequestration,) but my most meaningful role is that of a teacher, in both the university classroom and summer camps for K-12 students (e.g., one we are launching this summer, “Engineering a Sustainable World”). POPA’s activities and reports have served a significant function in our national “conversation” about the impacts of science and it would be a privilege to witness and participate in them.
Background: Philip Taylor is Distinguished University Professor and the Perkins Professor of Physics at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of over 200 publications on theoretical condensed-matter physics and on more general topics ranging from earthquakes to epidemiology. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has been on the editorial boards of several journals, including Physical Review B. He obtained his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge and came to the US for a postdoctoral position at Case Western Reserve University in 1962. He has remained at Case ever since, except for visiting appointments at the universities of Washington, Oregon, Cambridge, Utrecht, Manchester, and Bonn. In 1987 he initiated and directed a year-long celebration of the centenary of the Michelson-Morley experiment. This included organizing symposia on physics and the history of science, and raising funds to commission artists and composers to produce works interpreting the themes of light, space, and time. His interests include the study of the role that energy plays in modern society, and he is a frequent lecturer on the topics of climate change and alternative energy sources. Since 1978 he has formed and led an interdisciplinary team in teaching the course Energy & Society, in which faculty from Political Science, History, Economics, Geology and Engineering join with those from Physics in leading students through the complexities of world energy utilization. He has been active in Forum affairs, organizing sessions at APS meetings and chairing the FPS Nominating Committee from 2007 to 2009.
Statement: The quality of the advice that a government receives on scientific issues is becoming more and more vital to its ability to make sound policy decisions. It is alarming, even horrifying, to see how far certain elements of our own government have moved in attempting to bypass almost every mechanism by which impartial advice on scientific and technical matters can be delivered to our decision makers. Committee after committee has held one-sided hearings in which testimony has been limited to individuals whose political orthodoxy far exceeds their competence to judge matters having any science component. Against this backdrop, the Panel on Public Affairs of the APS stands as a beacon of reason and a respected voice of scientific authority. Its reports on scarce energy-critical elements, on integrating renewable electricity into the grid, and on technical steps to support downsizing our nuclear arsenal have provided sound guidance, and have pointed out the best feasible pathways to the solution of some serious societal problems. There remain, however a myriad of issues yet to be addressed, and the members of the Forum on Physics and Society are well positioned to offer suggestions as to how these should be prioritized. I would hope to be a channel for conducting the views of Forum members to the POPA leadership. The world’s headlong race to nuclear proliferation, our inadequate response to the growing threat of climate change, and the frequent inappropriate insertion of religious doctrine into the scientific education of our youth are but three of a multitude of issues that threaten our very existence as a civilized society. As a community of physicists we must speak, loudly but not stridently, rationally but not dispassionately, and direct our scientific knowledge and our public spirit into strengthened efforts to steer our society away from the potential disasters toward which we are headed.
These contributions have not been peer-refereed. They represent solely the view(s) of the author(s) and not necessarily the view of APS.