Letter to Founding Members of Group on Energy Research and Applications (GERA)

The APS Council approved the proposed bylaws for our new topical group at its May meeting.  Our bylaws can be found at the APS website.  For your convenience here is our statement of objective:

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.  GERA fosters the education and networking of scientists and engineers active in these fields and the next generations of researchers and educators.

Following approval by the Council, Judy asked me to serve as interim chair of the new group.  My first act was to ask some of the people who had been in on the planning from the beginning to agree serve as interim members of an executive committee and also as interim officers.  The full slate of interim officers is:

  • Robert McGrath (SUNY Stony Brook Emeritus), Chair
  • Alexander King (Ames Lab, Iowa State), Chair-Elect
  • Jill Dahlburg (Naval Research Lab), Vice-Chair
  • Joseph Poon (U. of Virginia), Secretary-Treasurer

Others on the executive committee are:

  • Robert Biefeld (Sandia Lab)
  • George Crabtree (Argonne Lab)
  • Claudio Pellegrini (UCLA)
  • Yi-qiao Song (Schlumberger)
  • Michael Tamor (Ford)

A reading of our bylaws will show that not all committee and staffing assignments have been completed, and we are in the process of so doing.  Obviously since we are in startup mode, none of us have been elected per the bylaws.  I will soon appoint a nominating committee from the GERA membership charged with creating a slate of candidates by October 1st as specified in our bylaws. 

The interim executive committee believes that the interim chair-elect and vice-chair should move on to being chair and "chair-elect" for 2010 in order to have continuity during this start-up period so that this first election should be for vice-chair, secretary-treasurer, and executive committee members. At least some of our executive committee members will be willing to continue to serve in 2010 and beyond in order to have continuity; this is compatible with our bylaws that call for staggered three-year terms for members-at-large elected to the executive committee.

We have been working to have an exciting "launch" and presence of GERA in the March and April 2010 APS meetings.  The important dates for the "April" 2010 meeting happen to come earlier than for the March meeting because the "April" meeting in Washington actually happens on February 13-16.  The March meeting in Portland, Oregon will be on March 15-19.

We have created rather specific sorting categories for these meetings realizing that the categories themselves help to define what our topical group is all about.  These categories are listed below.  I hope there will be many contributed papers and remind you that the deadline for submissions for the "April" meeting is October 23rd.  Jill Dalhburg and Claudio Pellegrini have been working on the invited paper sessions and will make proposals on behalf of our group at the August 28th meeting at APS offices of the "April" 2010 overall programming committee.  GERA will also propose a plenary session with proposed speakers drawn from the group of most distinguished leaders in Washington, in corporations, and in other science societies.

Joseph Poon and Robert Biefeld have been working on programming for the March meeting.  They will propose not only invited paper sessions co-sponsored with other divisions/groups at the October 17th meeting of the March 2010 meeting programming committee, but also several focus sessions.  The GERA sorting categories for this meeting are identical to the ones for "April."  Deadline for submitting abstracts is November 20th. 

For the past two years the APS has overseen very successful workshops on energy research at the March meetings.  These workshops have special attractiveness to graduate students and younger career physicists, attendance has been large, and they should certainly continue.  Now that GERA exists we are taking on the workshop organization.  Julia Hsu (Sandia) is chair of the organizing committee for the workshop at this next March meeting.  Dr. Hsu and her committee are coordinating with Joseph and Robert on overall planning.

We founding members of GERA understand how physics is, and will be, the basis for much of energy innovation for the future.  Because energy spans so much of physics the GERA interim executive committee believes it is important that GERA have a mechanism that makes it easy for members to find out about advances in various specializations.  For this reason our bylaws call for an editor, and communications committee, to oversee (electronic) publication of a GERA newsletter that will have content on important energy advances.  We look forward to inaugurating this newsletter in the very near future.

I invite you to send me suggestions, ideas, etc. for maximizing GERA's usefulness. Please encourage friends and colleagues who may not already be members to join GERA!


Robert McGrath

GERA APS Sorting Categories

The objective of the American Physical Society (APS) Topical Group on Energy Research and Applications (GERA) is 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.

1.0.0 Energy resources
1.1.0 Fossil fuels
1.2.0 Synthetic fuels
1.2.1 Methane hydrates
1.2.2 Biomass
1.2.3 Dilute carbon sources
1.3.0 Solar power
1.4.0 Hydroelectric, hydrothermal, geothermal, wind, tidal, and wave
1.5.0 Nuclear fission
1.5.1 Alternative fuel cycles
1.5.2 Accelerator driven reactors
1.5.3 Fission waste treatment
1.6.0 Nuclear fusion
1.7.0 Stranded renewables
1.8.0 Other energy resources
1.9.0 Sustainability and environmental effects

2.0.0 Energy production
2.1.0 Methods
2.2.0 Systems
2.2.1 Extraction
2.2.2 Manufacturing
2.2.3 Refining
2.2.4 Waste materials evaluation, treatment and storage
2.3.0 Sustainability and environmental effects

3.0.0 Energy conversion
3.1.0 Photoelectric conversion
3.2.0 Electricity-to-light conversion
3.3.0 Magnetohydrodynamic conversion
3.4.0 Thermo-electric conversion
3.5.0 Other energy conversion topics
3.6.0 Sustainability and environmental effects

4.0.0 Energy transmission and distribution
4.1.0 Power grid
4.2.0 Distribution infrastructure
4.3.0 Distributed generation
4.4.0 Sustainability and environmental effects

5.0.0 Energy storage
5.1.0 Grid energy storage
5.2.0 Storage methods
5.2.1 Chemical
5.2.2 Biological
5.2.3 Electrochemical
5.2.4 Electrical
5.2.5 Gravitational
5.2.6 Mechanical
5.2.7 Thermal
5.3.0 Sustainability and environmental effects

6.0.0 Energy use
6.1.0 Availability and conservation
6.2.0 Performance and efficiency
6.3.0 Infrastructure
6.4.0 Waste treatment and storage
6.5.0 Sustainability and environmental effects

7.0.0 Expertise community
7.1.0 Policy
7.2.0 Outreach
7.3.0 Training
7.4.0 K-12 research

8.0.0 Other energy topics

9.0.0 Post deadline