Editor's Comments

Cameron Reed

As reported in our July edition, Assistant Editor Jonathan Wurtele and myself will be stepping down from our positions with P&S following publication of the April, 2013, edition. As this edition was being prepared for publication, we learned that the search committee under the able direction of Barbara Levi has located a pair of most qualified successors: Andrew Zwicker of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) as Editor, and Laura Hopkins of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) as Assistant Editor. Andy is the Head of the Science Education Program at PPPL. He received a bachelor's degree in physics from Bard College and a Ph.D. in physics from Johns Hopkins University, where he developed spectroscopic diagnostics for fusion energy experiments. In 2008, he served as the Chair of the Forum on Physics and Society, and was Secretary/Treasurer of FPS from 2001-2006.  Currently, he is a member of the APS Committee on Education, though his term ends in 2012.  In 2006, the American Association of Physics Teachers included him in their list of 75 leading contributors to physics education. He and a collaborator won the 2006 Art of Science competition at Princeton University for a photograph entitled "Plasma Table," and he is now the Chair of the organizing committee for the competition. He is also a member of the Education and Workforce Development task group for the Department of Energy's "Energy Efficient Buildings Hub," and teaches a freshman writing seminar at Princeton University, "The Ethics of Human Experimentation." His current research interests are in dusty plasmas, plasma speakers, and plasma education. Laura Hopkins is currently a physicist at LLNL, where her research focuses on inertial confinement fusion. She received her Ph.D. in Plasma Physics from Princeton University in 2010, and in 2010-2011 held an American Physical Society Congressional Science Fellowship. As a Congressional Science Fellow, she served as a scientific advisor for U.S. Senator Kent Conrad and on the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. During her graduate studies, Laura was a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Stewardship Science Graduate Fellow at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. I am pleased to welcome Andy and Laura to the Newsletter, and to know that it will be passed on to good hands.

In this edition –

Under News of The Forum, we congratulate Jeremy Bernstein and Geoffrey West, respectively the winners of the Forum's 2013 Burton and Szilard Awards. We also recognize three new APS Fellows nominated through the Forum: Robert Bari, Mitra Dutta, and Arian Pregenzer. Awardees and new Fellows will formally be recognized at the FPS Awards Session to be held at the April APS meeting; descriptions of Forum-sponsored sessions scheduled for the March and April meetings appear below. Thanks are due the awards and Fellowship committees for their careful work.

With this edition of P&S, we welcome Richard Wiener of Research Corporation as the newest member of P&S's editorial board. Richard is replacing Barbara Levi, who rotated off the board in late 2012.

As a follow-up to the article on the President's Blue-Ribbon Commission on nuclear waste that ran in our July, 2012 edition, we reprint part of a recent AIP FYI bulletin on a bill introduced to the Senate aimed at addressing some of the Commission's findings.

At the Society of Physics Students (SPS) 2012 Quad rennial Physics Congress, which took place in Orlando, Florida, over November 8-10, 2012, FPS sponsored three awards for student poster papers: one first-place and two second-place awards for posters which included the societal impact of physics as part of their studies. The first place winner was Allen Scheie (Grove City College), and the second-place winners were Kofi Christie (Morehouse College) and Matthew Goszewski (Grove City College). We congratulate the winners, and reprint the abstracts from their posters.

We have a plethora of contributed material for this edition. A letter from longtime contributor Dave Hafemeister informs us that his equation-oriented book, Physics of Societal Issues: Calculations on National Security, Environment and Energy, is available at a very attractive price. Two of our feature articles for this edition cover some interesting ground in the area of nuclear physics. Alex DeVolpi writes on how available coolant-monitoring technology could have helped the operators of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant better manage the disaster that unfolded with their reactors following the tsunami of March, 2011, and could still be useful as they work to deal with the remains of those devices. Based on a talk given by Mike Larson at the 2012 APS April meeting in Atlanta, an article prepared by myself describes the history and activities of the Nuclear Emergency Support (formerly Search) Team – NEST. Readers can be assured that NEST stands very ready to respond to any potential nuclear threat. Our third feature article, by Rees Kassen of the University of Ottawa, offers some observations on efforts to bring science and engineering advice to the Parliament of Canada in a non-partisan way. Dr. Kassen's article serves as a reminder that there are many ways to be involved in such activities. On this side of the border, Forum members should consider the AAAS and APS Executive and Congressional Fellowships.

Our book review for this edition, by Michael DuVernois, examines the German experience with supporting solar energy development.    


These contributions have not been peer-refereed. They represent solely the view(s) of the author(s) and not necessarily the view of APS.