Editor’s Comments

Cameron Reed

We have a wide variety of interesting articles for this edition of P&S. To open, we have a number of items of Forum news: Election results are in; we extend congratulations to those individuals elected to the Executive Committee and thanks to all candidates who ran and to the members of the Nominating Committee for their good work. Congratulations are also extended to the recipients of the Forum's prestigious Burton and Szilard Lectureship awards and to members of the Society who have been elected to APS Fellowship through Forum nominations. We present a summary of FPS-sponsored or co-sponsored sessions that will occur at the upcoming Washington, DC and Portland meetings. As we related in our October edition, APS Council established an ad-hoc committee to examine the Society's climate-change statement. This committee, chaired by Dan Kleppner of MIT, has now submitted its report. The committee recommends that Council reject the petition and that the current statement be allowed to stand, but also requested that the Society's Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) examine the statement for possible improvements in clarity and tone; we reprint an APS web release describing this situation in further detail.

As evidenced by letters received form two foreign correspondents, the issues of climate change and nuclear power continue to engage our readership: a correspondent in Sweden writes to raise issues with Dave Hafemeister and Pete Schwartz's tutorial in climate change that ran in our July 2008 edition, and our articles on the medical isotope issue and the Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Organization generated two contributions from a correspondent in Canada. In a related development that occurred just as our October edition went to press, an AIP FYI reported that the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment of the U. S. House Energy and Commerce Committee was considering legislation to provide federal assistance for the development of molybdenum-99. A later FYI (November 18) reported that the House of Representatives had passed the bill, H. R. 3276, by a vote of 400-17. This bill would authorize, from FY 2011 through FY 2014, expenditure of $163 million for the establishment of a program at the Department of Energy to support industry and universities in the domestic production of this isotope using low enriched uranium (LEU). H.R. 3276 is now pending before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Our feature articles this month continue our coverage of nuclear, global warming, and energy issues. Steven Biegalski writes on the status of the CTBT monitoring system, while Pierre Goldschmidt offers comments on the future of nuclear non-proliferation, remarks he made at the APS meeting held in St. Louis in April 2008 upon receipt of the Forum's Burton Award. The history of these issues goes right back to World War II, and for some historical context along these lines we have an interesting article by Robert Potter on efforts to preserve the Hanford B reactor – the world's first plutonium production reactor – as a public museum. Former P&S editor and longtime contributor Art Hobson writes on how lessons learned from dealing with ozone depletion in the 1980's can help in the development of policies to address global warming, and  Robert Ehrlich describes his efforts at teaching renewable energy; his article includes a link to a website he has developed that offers resources in this area and that is freely available to interested users.

In this edition of P&S we begin a new column, "Opportunities." The purpose of this column is to provide a space for announcements of positions, grants, fellowships, sabbatical opportunities and the like that have a clear "physics and society" orientation. We would be happy to consider such announcements for publication.

This contribution has not been peer refereed. It represents solely the view(s) of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of APS.