May 1, 2009

(In the following text, "Society" shall signify the American Physical Society, "Council" and "Executive Board" shall signify the Council and the Executive Board of the Society, respectively; "Executive Officer" shall signify that Officer of the Society.)


This Topical Group of the American Physical Society shall be called the Topical Group on Energy Research and Applications, hereafter referred to as GERA.


The objective of GERA shall be to promote communication relevant to the physics involved in humankind's safe generation, transmission, storage, and efficient use of energy with as small an impact on the Earth's environment and resources as feasible. The GERA fosters the education and networking of scientists and engineers active in these fields and the next generations of researchers and educators.


The GERA is established by the authority vested in the Council by Article VIII of the Constitution of the Society.  Said Article as it may be subsequently revised or amended, is hereby incorporated into these Bylaws by reference.


The members of GERA shall consist of members of the Society who have indicated, in accordance with procedures established by Council, their desire to join GERA and who retain membership from year to year by the payment of designated dues or by other method established by Council.


  1. Governance. GERA shall be governed by an Executive Committee, which shall have general charge of the affairs of the Topical Group.
  1. Composition. The Executive Committee shall consist of the Officers of GERA, the most recent Past Chair, and six Members-at-Large elected to staggered three-year terms.  In addition, the Editor of the newsletter will serve as a non-voting member, and the Forum on Graduate Student Affairs will be asked to appoint a person each year to serve a one-year term.  The Chair may, with the consent of the other members of the Executive Committee, appoint up to two additional members in order to achieve needed balance across areas of energy research.
  1. Executive Committee Meetings. The Executive Committee shall meet at least once each year. Any member of the Executive Committee unable to attend a meeting may name a nonvoting alternate to represent him or her, subject to the approval of the Chair. The Chair of GERA shall preside over the Executive Committee meetings. A majority of the voting members, including at least two Officers, shall constitute a quorum.


  1. Officers. The Officers of GERA shall be a Chair, a Chair-Elect, a Vice-Chair, and a Secretary-Treasurer.
  1. Duties of the Chair. The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the Executive Committee and Business Sessions of GERA at which his or her attendance is possible.
  1. Duties of the Chair-Elect. The Chair-Elect shall act in place of the Chair if the latter is unable to perform his or her duties. The Chair-Elect shall serve as the chair of the Program Committee and perform such other functions as provided explicitly below in these Bylaws.
  1. Duties of the Vice-Chair. The Vice-Chair shall act in place of the Chair-Elect if the latter is unable to perform his or her duties. The Vice-Chair shall serve as the chair of the Fellowship Committee and perform such other functions as provided explicitly below in these Bylaws.
  1. Duties of the Secretary-Treasurer. The Secretary-Treasurer shall maintain the records of GERA, including minutes of Executive Committee meetings and Business Sessions, and GERA activities. The Secretary-Treasurer shall notify the Executive Committee of matters requiring the decision of said Committee and together with the Chair, shall prepare the agenda of Executive Committee meetings and Business Sessions. The Secretary-Treasurer shall submit the meeting minutes to each member of the Executive Committee within four weeks after each meeting.

    The Secretary-Treasurer shall be responsible for organizing the regular scheduled elections and special elections of GERA.

    The Secretary-Treasurer shall keep the Council and Executive Officer of the Society informed of the activities and needs of GERA.

    The Secretary-Treasurer shall have responsibility for all funds in the custody of or placed at the disposal of GERA and shall authorize disbursements from such funds for expenses in a manner that is consistent with the general policies of the Society and GERA. Financial records shall be kept on an annual basis consistent with the fiscal policies of the Society.

    The Secretary-Treasurer shall present a financial report at each meeting of the Executive Committee and at the annual Business Session of GERA.


  1. Qualifications. Officers and Members-at-Large of the Executive Committee must be members of GERA at the time of the nomination and during the period of office.
  1. Ballot. The Vice-Chair, Secretary-Treasurer, and Members-at-Large of the Executive Committee shall be elected by mail or electronic ballot as hereinafter provided.
  1. Nomination and Election of the Vice-Chair, Secretary-Treasurer, and Executive Committee Members. Each year the Nominating Committee shall nominate at least two candidates for the office of Vice-Chair, for Secretary-Treasurer during the final year of the term of the current Secretary-Treasurer, and for open Member-at-Large positions of the Executive Committee. The slate of candidates will be balanced as much as possible to ensure wide representation among the various fields of physics included in the membership of GERA.  The Nominating Committee shall notify the Secretary-Treasurer of the nominations not later than October 1, except under extraordinary circumstances.  The election ballot shall contain those names and also those of other candidates nominated by petition of at least five percent of the membership of GERA (as determined on the previous January 1st) and received by the Secretary-Treasurer by October 1.  Nomination by petition shall not preclude nomination of the same person by the Nominating Committee.  Each year the Secretary-Treasurer shall remind the membership of GERA of the procedure for nominating by petition.

    The Secretary-Treasurer shall poll GERA membership by mail or electronic ballot, stating a closing date not later than December 1. Ballots shall be returned to and counted by the Secretary-Treasurer or his or her designate. Election shall be decided by a plurality of those voting. If there is a tie, the Executive Committee shall decide the election, with the Chair voting only in the case of a tie among the other Executive Committee members. The Secretary-Treasurer shall communicate the results of the election to the Chair and the Executive Officer by December 15 to the end of the calendar year and shall publish the results in a manner designated for official announcements.
  1. Official Year. The official year shall be the calendar year.
  1. Vice-Chair, Chair-Elect, and Chair. The member elected as Vice-Chair shall serve in that office for one year, then for one year as Chair-Elect, and then for one year as Chair. The Chair shall not be eligible for the office of Vice-Chair in the year following his or her term of office.
  1. Terms of Office. The terms of office of the Officers and Members-at-Large of the Executive Committee shall coincide with the calendar year, beginning January 1 and ending December 31. The Secretary-Treasurer shall serve for a term of three years. The tenure of a Member-at-Large of the Executive Committee shall be three years.
  1. Vacancies in Offices. If a vacancy occurs in the office of Chair, the Chair-Elect shall succeed and complete the term and shall serve as Chair also in the following year. The Vice-Chair shall serve simultaneously as Chair-Elect during the remainder of the term and shall continue to serve as Chair-Elect in the following term.

    If a vacancy occurs in the office of Chair-Elect otherwise than through advancement to Chair, the Vice-Chair shall become Chair-Elect. In this case, and also if the office of Vice-Chair becomes vacant for other reasons, the office of Vice-Chair shall remain vacant for the remainder of the term. In the next scheduled election, candidates for both Chair-Elect and Vice-Chair shall be nominated.

    If vacancies occur in the offices of both the Chair and the Chair-Elect, the Vice-Chair shall become Chair and shall complete the term. In this case a special election shall be held to fill the offices of Chair-Elect and Vice-Chair. The members so elected shall continue to serve as officers in the normal succession order.

    Vacancies in any other elected office shall be filled (or left unfilled) by the Executive Committee until such time as the vacancy can be filled by regular election procedures.


  1. Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee shall be chaired by the immediate past Chair and shall include three members appointed by the Chair and one member appointed by the Council for one-year terms. The Chair shall ascertain through the Executive Officer the identity of this member. If the immediate past Chair is unable to serve, the Chair may nominate a member of the Executive Committee as a replacement. The Nominating Committee shall prepare a slate of candidates according to Article VII.3 of these Bylaws. The Nominating Committee shall also respond with appropriate names to the Society’s call for nominations for senior Society positions.

  2. Program Committee. The Program Committee shall be chaired by the Chair-Elect and have other members appointed as necessary by the Chair.  The Program Committee shall be responsible for arranging sessions sponsored by GERA at APS meetings.  From time to time the Program Committee may organize special GERA meetings and workshops.

  3. Communications Committee. The Communications Committee shall have oversight of the Newsletter and be responsible for keeping the physics community informed about energy issues.  The GERA Chair, with approval of the Executive Committee, shall appoint both the members of the Communications Committee, and the Editor of the Newsletter.  The Editor will have a renewable three year term of appointment.  The Communications Committee will have four members appointed for two year terms plus the Editor as an ex officio member.

  4. Fellowship Committee. The Fellowship Committee shall be chaired by the Vice-Chair or his/her replacement as selected by the Chair, if the Vice-Chair is vacant, and shall include three members appointed by the Chair, to one-year terms. The Fellowship Committee shall solicit nominations and propose candidates for APS Fellowship, shall review the qualifications of such candidates, and shall submit its recommendations to the Executive Officer of the Society.

  5. Terms of Office of Appointed Committee Members. The terms of committee members appointed or recommended by an incoming Officer shall commence at the beginning of the year in which he or she assumes office.

  6. Other Committees. The Chair shall appoint other committees as necessary, which shall serve only during his or her term as Chair.


  1. Annual Business Session. Each year GERA shall hold a Business Session during one of the regular meetings of the Society.
  1. Other Meetings. Special scientific meetings of GERA may be initiated by the Executive Committee and arranged by the Program Committee, subject to the rules and regulations specified in the Society Constitution and Bylaws. The rules of the Society shall apply to scientific sessions of invited or contributed papers held in conjunction with a meeting of the Society. The Program Committee shall have the responsibility for all arrangements concerning such sessions.


Dues for maintenance of membership in GERA shall be established by Council.


The newsletter of GERA shall be managed and edited by the Newsletter Editor, who shall oversee its preparation, distribution, and posting on the Group website. The frequency and timing of the Newsletter shall be determined by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may direct the Secretary-Treasurer to distribute complimentary copies of the newsletter to specified nonmembers of GERA.  The Chair after consultation with the Executive Committee will appoint an editorial review board for the Newsletter.


Official announcements shall be made in the APS News, in special mailings or electronic communications to the membership, or in such other publications as the Executive Committee may direct.


Proposal of an Amendment to these Bylaws may be made by the Council, by the Executive Committee, or by a petition to the Chair signed by not fewer than ten percent of the members of GERA. If the proposed amendment originates within GERA, it must be approved by Council before further action can be taken. Following Council approval, the Secretary-Treasurer shall distribute copies of the proposed Amendment to all members of GERA not less than twelve weeks prior to the next Business Session, and opportunity shall be given for discussion during that Business Session. If a special election is not held for membership ratification of the bylaws amendments, the Secretary-Treasurer shall again distribute copies of the proposed Amendment in conjunction with the next regularly scheduled election, accompanied by ballot forms. Adoption of the Amendment shall require a two-thirds affirmative vote by those voting.