Editor's Comments

Cameron Reed

Sixty-five years ago this summer, the fruits of the Manhattan Project burst upon the world, helping to bring a swift end to the most brutal war in history. As evidenced by the New START arms control agreement recently signed by the United States and Russia, we continue to deal, decades later, with the legacy of that time. In this issue of P&S, Pavel Podvig expertly summarizes the key provisions of the treaty in one of our three feature articles.  A related Commentary by Irving Lerch, former APS Director of International Affairs, offers a perspective, based on personal experience, regarding the issue of what the Treaty does not address: the thousands of tactical nuclear weapons still in existence and distributed around the world. Yet another issue in the nuclear spectrum is that of the spread of enrichment technology that could engender proliferation, and Francis Slakey and Linda Cohen describe what they see as the dangers of the emerging technology of isotope separation by laser excitation. The pros and cons of these pressing and complex issues are part of what our national leadership must deal with. By happy circumstance our third feature article, by Richard Muller, describes his experience at teaching a course at Berkeley titled “Physics for Future Presidents,” from which he has developed two successful books; one of these was reviewed in our October 2009 edition. Our News of the Forum summarizes many interesting papers that were presented at the Society’s March meeting held in Portland, OR. Eugenie Mielczarek’s Commentary in our April edition on the purported healing effects of magnetic field and other alternative medical practices generated two letters. New NSF guidelines for ethics components of grant applications is the subject of a Commentary by Marshall Thomsen. We reprint an AIP FYI article on Congressional hearings on shortages of helium-3, and we also have four very worthy book reviews, two of which deal with the effects of global climate change.

I am pleased to report that a great many back editions of P&S have been scanned and are now available on the P&S website. These go back to the second year of publication, 1973. As far as I am aware, we lack only a few editions: all from 1972, July 1973, and part of April, 1980. If any readers have these on hand and would be willing to send them to me, I will see that they get scanned and posted, and will return the original to you promptly. An Index of all articles in all editions available on the website has also been posted.

With this edition, we welcome aboard a new member of the P&S editorial board: David Harris of SLAC. David is replacing Lee Schroeder, who is rotating off the board and with whom it was a real pleasure to work. As Editor of the Fermilab/SLAC “Symmetry” particle-physics magazine, David brings a wealth of relevant experience to us; I and the other members of the board look forward to working with him.

As ever, enjoy this edition of P&S. We look forward to your contributions and feedback.

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