Message from the FPS Chair

Valerie Thomas

With physicist Ernest Moniz recently sworn in as U.S. Secretary of Energy, succeeding physicist Steve Chu in that role, and with physicist John Holdren continuing to serve as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, there is no question that physicists are active and influential in policy. The articles in this issue on physicists as science advisors provide more examples of ways physicists are active in policy. Even so, incorporating policy into a physics career can be challenging, particularly for students and early career physicists.

The Forum on Physics and Society (FPS) provides opportunities for APS members to learn about and get involved at the interface of physics and society. Through FPS, physicists can be involved at modest levels, attending policy-related talks at APS meetings, participating in the conferences offered by the Forum, and serving on committees. As an introduction to FPS, or as a refresher, below are some of our activities and some of the ways you can get involved.

Sessions at annual meetings: Every year FPS organizes sessions at the March and April meetings. We welcome suggestions for topics and speakers. This past year’s sessions included Physicists as Science Advisors, Science in the Next Administration, Hydraulic Fracturing, Low Carbon Electricity, and Low Carbon Transportation. In addition, FPS sponsored sessions at both the March and April meetings on American Science, America’s Future; these sessions built on FPS sessions from the previous year, contributing to a national dialogue on the role of science in US competitiveness.

The program committee will start to organize sessions in August. What topics would you like to see covered in this year’s FPS sessions? What speakers do you recommend?

Conferences and Short Courses: In November FPS will be sponsoring a short course on Nuclear Weapons Issues in the 21st Century, which will be held in Washington DC. Details can be found later in this newsletter and registration is through our web site: Short Course on Nuclear Weapon Issues in the 21st Century.

In March FPS will sponsor a conference on the Physics of Sustainable Energy, which will be held in Berkeley California. These short courses, organized by FPS members, provide not only an opportunity to learn about the issues, but also to meet other physicists working on these topics.

Newsletter: The FPS newsletter is published four times each year. Although not a peer-reviewed journal, the newsletter includes substantive articles and provides a publication opportunity for physicists working at the interface of physics and society. Submissions are welcomed!

APS Fellowship: The FPS Fellowship Committee regularly nominates APS members for Fellowship, recognizing contributions to physics and society. Any APS member can nominate another APS member for fellowship; this can be done through the APS web site. Nominations can be submitted at any time and remain active for two years. APS encourages diversity in the nominations, and both US-based and non-US based APS members are eligible.

Forum Awards: The FPS Awards Committee nominates and selects recipients of the Burton Forum Award and the Szilard Lectureship award. FPS has also awarded three prizes at the Sigma Pi Sigma Quadrennial Congress for outstanding student posters involving issues at the interface of physics and society.

FPS Committees: Please feel free to nominate yourself to serve on a committee or to be active in some other way in the Forum. I welcome and encourage your involvement.

Valerie Thomas

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