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Our feature articles for this edition deal with a variety of interesting topics. Nuclear non-proliferation remains in the headlines as the world continues to monitor developments in Iran and North Korea, and we are pleased to be able to run a very timely article on enhancing the resilience of the nuclear nonproliferation regime by Arian Pregenzer, recipient of the 2012 Joseph A. Burton Forum Award. Dr. Pregenzer's article is based on her presentation on the occasion of the award ceremony held during the APS Atlanta meeting earlier this year. James Williams offers an appreciation of the life of Fang Lizhi, the Chinese astrophysicist and political dissident, who passed away earlier this year. The story of Lizhi's perseverance in an environment of politicization of science is an inspiration – and a reminder that the scientific community needs to remain on guard against such madness. (Indeed, one of our book reviews deal with fighting against the political assault on science in America.) Longtime P&S contributor Dave Hafemeister offers a very readable tutorial on estimating the insulative R-value of Earth's atmosphere based on some fundamental heat-transfer considerations; I will be showing this to my freshman-level physics students when we come to the thermal-physics unit of their course later this year. A group of mechanical engineers offer a commentary and a proposal on the basic versus-applied research funding debate. Our other book review examines a physics-based analysis of the future of sustainability.
AIP State Department Fellowship Program Deadline
The American Institute of Physics is now seeking applicants for its 2013-2014 State Department Science Fellowship. The application deadline is November 1. Through this program, the AIP offers an opportunity for scientists to make a unique and substantial contribution to the foreign policy process by spending a year working at the U.S. State Department. Qualified scientists at any stage of their career are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, have a PhD in physics or a closely related field, be members of one or more of AIP's ten Member Societies, and be eligible to receive an appropriate security clearance prior to starting the Fellowship. Final interviews will take place early in 2013 and the 12-month Fellowship term will begin in September 2013. Details can be found at the AIP website.