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To open this edition, if you turn to the next page you will see that Assistant Editor Jonathan Wurtele and myself will be stepping down from our positions with P&S following publication of the April 2013 edition. Jonathan is involved in a number of research projects, and I am looking forward to a sabbatical during which I will be consumed with a lengthy book project; we feel that it is only appropriate to turn over our keyboards to successors. Barbara Levi is ably chairing a committee to search for successors, and we encourage nominations and expressions of interest. Speaking for myself, taking on the editorship of P&S has proven to be one of the best things I ever decided to do: it has given me the opportunity to learn a lot of interesting physics, and it has brought me into contact with a number of fascinating people in our community. If you enjoy reading and writing about a broad range of physics topics, please consider this opportunity – you would not regret it. You will have the help of a very capable editorial board and reviews editor, and a superbly professional production staff at APS headquarters. The Forum Executive Committee is committed, as funding permits, to covering to a reasonable degree the cost of attendance at one APS meeting per year for each of the Assistant Editor and Editor. These will normally be for the March and April meetings, respectively.
We extend congratulations to the winners of elections to positions on the FPS Executive Committee: Micah Lowenthal has been elected Vice-Chair; Lowell Brown has been elected Councilor; both Lawrence Krauss and Douglas Wright have been elected as Members-At-Large (replacing Jessica Clark and David Harris), and Phil Taylor has been elected as the Forum's representative to the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA). Thanks are extended to all candidates, and also to the Nominating Committee for their good work in developing a strong slate of candidates.
In this edition we report on the many very interesting invited papers given at FPS-hosted sessions at the March and April APS meetings. The Program Committee put together truly excellent and informative sessions; the Forum remains vibrant and relevant.
Wally Manheimer's article in the April edition on energy supply stimulated feedback from Arthur Smith and Philip Taylor; their comments and Manheimer's reply appear in our Letters section. Our feature articles for this edition have their origins in issues that we have previously reported on. In our April 2010 edition we ran an AIP FYI announcing that Secretary of Energy Steven Chu had appointed a Blue Ribbon Commission to provide advice on dealing with nuclear waste. A follow-up FYI in October 2011 examined the Commission's draft report. The Commission has now completed its final report, which Susanne and Robert Vandenbosch expertly summarize.
In the Reviews section of our April 2012 edition, Paul Craig described papers given at a conference on sustainable energy held at Berkeley in March, 2011. We are pleased to be able to publish an abbreviated version of Christopher Yang and Sonia Yeh's paper, which examines the future of low-carbon transportation fuels. We hope to run more of the conference papers in future editions.
Our book reviews for this edition deal with two very disparate topics. Frank Lock reviews Maggie Jackson's book Distracted, which examines the seemingly epidemic erosion of attention and growth of inefficient multi-tasking in our society. William Ingham reviews James Powell's The Inquisition of Climate Science, which looks at the battles between climate scientists and their detractors.
At the Forum's Executive Committee meeting in Atlanta, outgoing chair Peter Zimmerman read a letter from President Barack Obama congratulating the Forum on its 40th anniversary. The President praised the Forum for its work in promoting societal awareness of physicalscience issues, and wished the Forum well in its future endeavors. White House protocols do not permit us to print the text of the letter, but your Editor was present for the reading and can attest that the President's letter is a tremendous recognition that all Forum members can rightfully take great pride in.