Candidates for Forum Executive Committee Positions

[Editor’s note: Voting for positions on the Forum’s Executive Committee will be complete by the time this edition of P&S goes to press. We record here candidates’ biographies and statements under each open position. Thanks are due the Nominating Committee [Tony Fainberg, Lea Santos, Pierce Corden, Neil Gershenfeld, and Pushpa Bhat (ex-officio)] for developing a strong list of candidates.]

VICE CHAIR (Vote for no more than one candidate)

Arian L. Pregenzer

Background: Arian L. Pregenzer is internationally recognized for her work to enable international technical collaboration to enhance security. She retired from Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico in December 2011. At Sandia, she was Senior Scientist in the Global Security Program, where her responsibilities included initiating new programs in arms control and non-proliferation and developing strategies for nuclear security that cut across laboratory missions in nuclear arms control, non-proliferation, and nuclear weapons. Since her retirement, Dr. Pregenzer has continued to be active in these areas. She is a member of National Academies of Science Study Panel on “Improving the Assessment of Proliferation Risk of Nuclear Fuel Cycles,” and consults with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on opportunities for engagement in the Asia Pacific and for international technical cooperation on nuclear arms reductions. In 2012 Dr. Pregenzer was awarded the Joseph A. Burton Forum Award by the Forum on Physics and Society of the American Physical Society. “For her intellectual and managerial leadership in creating centers that allow international technical and policy experts to explore confidence building measures and other arms control regimes.” In 2009 – 2010 she was a visiting scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, where she initiated new research in applying the concepts of systems resilience to nuclear non-proliferation. In 1994 she led the establishment of Sandia’s Cooperative Monitoring Center (CMC), which promotes dialogue between policy and technology experts. In 2003 she worked with the National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA) and the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF) to establish the Iraqi S&T Engagement Program. Arian Pregenzer is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. She has Bachelor’s degrees in Physics, Mathematics, and Philosophy from the University of New Mexico and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from the University of California at San Diego.

Statement: Physics and other natural sciences play a critical role in addressing society’s most pressing problems, such as clean energy, health care, climate change, and nuclear arms control. However, scientists need an understanding of both technical and political aspects of these problems to develop effective solutions. In addition, as public attitudes toward science decline, it is more important than ever that scientists communicate the excitement, nature and value of science to ordinary citizens. The Forum on Physics and Society (FPS) has a long history of facilitating understanding, interaction and communication among scientists, policy experts, and the public and continues to do so today. I have dedicated most of my career to the intersection of science and international security policy: as a technical advisor to negotiators of the Chemical Weapons Convention, as founder of Sandia National Laboratories’ Cooperative Monitoring Center, and as initiator of technical cooperation to address common security problems from the Middle East to China.  If elected Vice Chair of the Forum on Physics and Society I would be honored to bring my leadership and management experience to the executive committee. It would be a pleasure to work with the other members to assure that FPS continues to have a strong voice into the future.

Richard Wiener

Background: Richard Wiener is a Program Director at Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA), a private foundation that has been funding research by academic scientists for 100 years. He directs RCSA’s Scialog: Solar Energy Conversion program, which funds highly innovative high risk research and convenes and networks researchers with the goal of accelerating breakthrough science. Wiener completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Oregon under the direction of London Prize recipient Russell Donnelly. His research previously focused on nonlinear pattern formation, with an emphasis on controlling chaotic patterns in fluid flows. Recently, he has been working on the application of nonlinear dynamical models to the production of energy resources, social group competition, and conference-mediated growth of collaboration networks. From 1995-2006 Wiener was a physics professor at Pacific University in Oregon and Chair of the Division of Natural Sciences from 2004-2006. At Pacific University, he implemented a variety of empirically based active learning curricula, and he has a deep commitment to science education reform. He has been a National Corporation for Atmospheric Research Postdoctoral Fellow in Ocean Modeling at Oregon State University, a Visiting Professor at Lewis & Clark College, and a Visiting Scientist and Visiting Professor in Eberhard Bodenschatz’s research group at Cornell University. Wiener currently holds an appointment as an adjunct Professor of Physics at the University of Arizona and he is a Member-at-Large of the FPS Executive Committee.

Statement: I would be honored to serve as Vice-Chair of the FPS. I am deeply committed to the Forum’s mission to address issues related to the interface of physics and society. Physicists are in a unique position to contribute expertise to many challenges facing humankind. The world is facing tremendous challenges with the trajectory of human population heading toward ten billion at midcentury. How will humankind create a peaceful and just global society that allows such a large population to attain a humane standard of living?  Physicists are needed to help overcome the challenge of providing the world peaceful security, sustainable energy, and a livable environment, as well as many other challenges. Physicists not only need to contribute to solving these challenges, but we also need to participate in the debate as to how these challenges can and should be overcome. Physicists are not typically policy makers, but policy makers, and the general public, need our input, if there is to be hope of a better future for humankind. FPS provides one means to this end. My goal if elected as Vice-Chair of FPS is to involve more members of APS in physics-related issues that affect society. I will continue promoting a strong newsletter with high quality articles that ignite discussions. I will work hard to continue providing outstanding FPS sponsored sessions at APS meetings. I will encourage and support constructive debate amongst the APS membership on important societal issues.

SECRETARY-TREASURER (Vote for no more than  one candidate)

W. David Kulp

Background: David Kulp is a nuclear security advisor in the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Defense Programs. As a 2011-2013 AAAS Science and Technology Fellow, he has focused on issues relating to countering nuclear threats, including cooperative threat reduction, nuclear detection, nuclear forensics, and consequence management. Dr. Kulp has been Chair of the User Executive Committee at TRIUMF, Canada's Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics, an advisor to the IAEA International Network of Nuclear Structure and Decay Data Evaluators and the U. S. Nuclear Data Project, and a Fellow in the Sam Nunn Security Program at Georgia Tech. He earned his PhD in physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology and became research faculty there, where he led experimental teams at universities and national laboratories to elucidate the internal degrees of freedom realized in the atomic nucleus through gamma-ray and particle spectroscopy. His MS in physics is from Emory University, where he studied fractal surface growth. A Trident Scholar and graduate with distinction from the United States Naval Academy, David's undergraduate research employed ion beam analysis in the characterization of archaeological artifacts.

Statement: Physicists tend to develop a sense of social responsibility as their awareness of the impact the field has had on society grows. The APS Forum on Physics and Society is thus the natural meeting place for APS members to explore the impact our field has on society and to discuss how to approach issues that are critical to society. Yet, the Forum could do more: it can act as a conduit to reach out and inform the public about critical issues, and it can help APS members to develop the skills necessary to engage the public and work directly on public policy. Outreach could provide a critical input into public discourse. A 2010 poll conducted by Scientific American and Nature indicated that scientists were the most trusted group of people for important issues in society, edging out friends and family and enjoying a significant lead over journalists and elected officials. Yet there is reason for concern: the same poll showed that 40% of respondents in the U.S. believed that scientists should talk only about the science and avoid advocacy. Moreover, 26% thought that scientists should pay attention to the wishes of the public, even if they think citizens are mistaken or do not understand the work. Worse yet, a different 2011 poll showed that a majority believes that it is “likely scientists have falsified global warming research.” As a Forum officer, I would support not only focused topical sessions at APS meetings on important issues facing society, but also advocate for sessions or workshops to educate members about how to work with the media, to frame issues for policy makers, and to directly engage the public. I would help to expand Forum participation and include more of the APS membership, and support the Chair’s initiatives and keep the Forum members informed.

Tina Kaarsberg

Background: Tina Kaarsberg currently leads the Small Business Innovation Research Team and is Interim Chief Operating Officer for ‘Tech to Market’ within the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Prior to this, Dr. Kaarsberg served in a number of technology--specific positions within EERE including Team Leader for lighting standards, Team Leader/SBIR Lead for Recovery Act-ground source heat pumps and building retrofits, and Geothermal (non-EGS) from Fall 2009 to February 2012. From 2005 to 2009, she work in the DOE Policy Office serving as the only non-economist expert on Office of Science and EERE related matters. Dr. Kaarsberg has also held positions with Sandia National Laboratories, Vista Technologies Inc., the American Physical Society and the Northeast-Midwest Institute. She also served on Capitol Hill on the Senate side during the Energy Policy Act of 1992 for Senator Domenici and on the House side for Epact 2005 for Chairman Boehlert. She was awarded a PhD from Stony Brook University in 1988 after conducting her doctoral research at Cornell University from 1984-1988 and a B.A. in Physics with Distinction from Yale University in 1982. After 2 years on the UCLA Physics Department faculty Dr. Kaarsberg began her switch to a policy career beginning in 1990 by working for the American Physical Society’s Washington Office and staffing the new PPC and the Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) to which she was later elected. She is active in and has served as an officer in both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the APS. She was elected a Fellow of the APS in 2005. Dr. Kaarsberg recovers from the Washington scene in a zero-energy home with an organic garden and plays fiddle and sings with the “Bluegrass Bureaucrats.”

Statement: I ask for your vote so I may serve as Secretary Treasurer of the Forum on Physics and Society. I do so because the Forum needs an energetic, experienced Secretary/Treasurer to serve it and I believe I have the energy and experience to do so. I had been interested in physics and society—especially energy and the environment-- and a member of the forum for many decades. This avocation and my vocation appeared to blend well when I was elected Chair-Elect of the Forum in 2003. Then, as now, I believed that the events of recent years have strengthened my longtime belief that physicists could be key players in addressing many of the security, economic and environmental problems now facing society. “The Forum on Physics and Society has a long and distinguished record of catalyzing physicist involvement in issues ranging from nuclear weapons policy to global climate change.”…… starting as a graduate student, going to November 11th committee meetings at Cornell, and especially since 1990, I have worked in many of these areas. I believe I have the experience (or can recruit others who have the experience) to guide FPS efforts on a wide range of societal challenges.” Specifically, as Sec Treasurer I would (a) fund or better fund our Awards and Prizes through outreach to Foundations and others. (b) recruit our distinguished past and current prize winners and awardees for these and other activities, (c) expand the readership of the Forum newsletter and other publications; and (d) increase the number of Forum-sponsored or co-sponsored sessions at APS meetings.

MEMBER-AT-LARGE (Vote for no more than two candidates)

Beverly Karplus Hartline

Background: Beverly Karplus Hartline is Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at Montana Tech (Butte, MT). Previously, she has served as Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies at the University of the District of Columbia; as Dean of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology at Delaware State University (Dover, DE), as Special Assistant to the President at Heritage University (Toppenish, WA), and in numerous research and management positions at several Department of Energy National Labs, including Lawrence Berkeley, Jefferson Lab (Newport News, VA), Los Alamos, and Argonne (IL). From 1996 through 1998, she was Assistant Director for Physical Sciences and Engineering at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Earlier, she has been a research news reporter for Science and a research scientist at NASA-Goddard. Her bachelor’s degree is in physics & chemistry from Reed College (Portland, OR) and her Ph.D. is in Geophysics from University of Washington (Seattle). She is a Fellow of the APS and of AWIS, and she also holds memberships in AAAS, Sigma Xi, AAPT, and AGU, among others. She served from 2000 to 2011 on IUPAP’s Working Group on Women in Physics and as the lead fundraiser for the Women in Physics International Conferences, and the lead editor for the Proceedings of the first three conferences, published by AIP and pioneered free on-line access to these Proceedings. For APS, she has served previously on the Physics Policy Committee, Committee on the Status of Women in Physics, and Committee on Minorities; as Vice Chair, Chair Elect, Chair, and Past Chair of the Forum on Education; and as a member of the Task Force on Ethics Education. She has also been a member and chair of the NSF’s Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) and the Office of Polar Programs Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Science Education and Technology, and has served on numerous review or advisory committees for NSF, DOE, NIH, USGS, various national laboratories, and university-based programs.

Statement: I have been affiliated with the FPS for many years and engaged independently with various initiatives at the interface between physics and society. Special interests include getting students, parents, the public, and policy makers interested in, excited about, and supportive of physics; clear and effective two-way communication between physicists and policy makers and the public; including and advancing more women and underrepresented minorities in physics to be able to tap into their ideas and energy to advance the field; ethical behavior; and promoting international collaborations, exchanges, and experiences. To date, my direct service to the forum has been limited, and I feel honored to have the opportunity to remedy that deficiency through service as one of the Members-at-Large on the FPS Executive Committee. If elected, I would champion clear and effective communications between and among physicists, policy makers, and the public; work hard on forum initiatives; and seek to engage more of the forum membership in FPS activities.

Gregory Harry

Background: Gregory Harry is currently an assistant professor of physics at American University in Washington DC. He received a BS from the California Institute of Technology (1990) and a PhD from the University of Maryland in 1999 in experimental gravitational physics. Since then he has worked with the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) collaboration on gravitational wave detection as a postdoc at Syracuse University and a postdoc and research scientist at MIT. As a member of LIGO, he has been involved with the working group on education and outreach, taking responsibility for political outreach activities, in addition to serving as the optics working group chair and cognizant scientist for optical coatings. While at MIT, he also taught a class on Energy, the Environment, and Society at Northeastern University in Boston. He is currently building on that experience to develop a class at American University on physics and society, drawing on the many resources at American in political science and public policy. His research interests involve thermal noise from optical coatings and other materials in precision experiments including gravitational wave detection, detection of stochastic gravitational waves with interferometric gravitational wave detectors. His previous APS service activities include the Nominating Committee for Executive Board of American Physics Society Mid-Atlantic Section (2012), Session Organizer at Joint Spring Meeting of the New England APS and AAPT (2009), and being nominated for Delegate to the Executive Committee of the APS Topical Group in Gravity (2007).

Statement: As member of the Forum and a member of the American University community, I am very interested in how physics discoveries and principles can impact public policy. I am developing a class at American University on the importance of physics to policy. I will use contacts I develop during this experience, both on campus at American and off campus in the wider Washington DC science policy community, to bring to the Executive Committee what physics issues are important to the policy community. I will also use these connections to bring important thoughts, concerns, and decisions from the Forum Executive Committee and the wider physics community to the attention of the outside world. American University students are known for political activism and I am helping to create a student group on physics and public policy. This will be a valuable conduit for new ideas and concerns from student members of the Forum. In addition, I am working on plans for how physicists can better engage with political opinion leaders as part of my role in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration Education and Public Outreach Working Group. I will use my experiences from this project to help inform and advance the mission of the Forum.

Michael Tuts

Background: Michael Tuts is an experimental particle physicist and Professor of Physics at Columbia University. He received his B.S. in Physics and in Mathematics from M.I.T in 1974, and his Ph.D. in Physics from SUNY Stony Brook in 1979. After a postdoc at Stony Brook, he joined the faculty of Columbia in 1983. His research career has taken him to numerous accelerators: starting with E-321 at the internal target area at Fermilab and the Nevis Cyclotron as a student; then as a postdoc and junior faculty member he helped build the CUSB experiment at the Cornell Electron Storage Ring (CESR) and the D0 experiment at the Fermilab Tevatron; currently he is a member of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. Besides his particle physics research, he has also been the co-spokesperson of CUSB, the Run IIa Upgrade Manager for D0, and currently the US ATLAS Operations Program Manager. During his tenure at Columbia, he has also served as the Director of Nevis Laboratories.

Tuts is a Fellow of the APS, and has served as Secretary/Treasurer of the APS Division of Particles and Fields (DPF). He has also served on the Fermilab Users Executive Committee, and he is currently on the US LHC Users Executive Committee. Most recently he was asked to blog (occasionally) on the Huffington Post, although he has not yet learned how to tweet.

Statement: There has never been a more important time to engage the public and policy makers in a discussion of the role of science in society. The challenges are enormous, but this past year in particle physics has also shown us that so are the opportunities. The fiscal pressures on our field are daunting, but as the turn on of the LHC and the discovery of what is likely the Higgs Boson have demonstrated, the thirst of the public to better understand science is unquenchable. One of the roles of FPS is to exploit that thirst in various forms. On the public front, the opportunities for outreach need to be further developed and supported. The FPS can play a role in that area, together with the Forum on Outreach and Engaging the Public (FOEP). Public lectures are an excellent way to acquaint the public with the ideas and results from cutting edge research and offer an opportunity to engage the public, from young to old, in the excitement of physics research and its importance to society. It offers an opportunity to remind the public that the fruits of basic research are that they drive the technology of tomorrow. Perhaps the FPS can facilitate or sponsor such activities. In addition it might be able to facilitate placing physicists before the media (press, television, etc). One advantage of the FPS is that its membership cuts across all APS fields offering a unique opportunity to build a strong and broadly scoped plan.

In dealing with policy makers, the FPS has had a role in showcasing the benefits of physics to society. This is a very important activity. I would be interested in understanding how these activities could be coordinated with other divisions and organizations, such as users groups, that visit Congress to educate policy makers. A coordinated effort could leverage precious resources. My personal view of congressional visits (having participated as a member of user group visits) is that they are very effective – so again the FPS has an important role to play in this area. It would be useful to brainstorm on ways that this communication could be made even more effective – for example perhaps a FPS newsletter that would be of interest to policy makers could be distributed to them, and let them know that physicists occupy many essential roles in society. Once again the broad membership in the FPS would be important in developing such a newsletter. If elected, I would be interested in pursuing some of the above ideas.

Andrew Zentner

Background: Andrew Zentner is an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh, where he has been a member of the faculty since 2007. Andrew is also a member of the executive committee of the Pittsburgh Particle physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh, Andrew earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City in 1998 and a Ph. D. in physics from The Ohio State University in 2003. Andrew conducted postdoctoral research in theoretical cosmology at the University of Chicago where he was a fellow of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (2003-2006) and a National Science Foundation Fellow (2006-2007). His primary research interests are theoretical cosmology, interpreted broadly to include early universe physics, the evolution of structure and the formation of galaxies, and the quests to identify the dark matter and dark energy that dominate the energy budget of the Universe. He has published over 50 refereed journal articles on these subjects. Andrew maintains an active interest in education and outreach and organizes an Education and Outreach partnership between the University of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Science Center. One of his current education projects is to develop a general education program for non-science majors at the University of Pittsburgh aimed at improving upon the appreciation of physics as a field of discovery and the importance of physics as a basis for understanding energy, climate, and technological issues that affect society.

Statement: To FPS members, it is evident that physics bears ever more directly on societal issues. This pertinence stems from the specific knowledge and expertise of physicists as well as the general methods of quantitative science. An active community of physicists enriches our culture and lays the foundation for technological and economic progress. As a highly-trained component of society, it is the obligation of physicists to communicate scientific perspectives on societal issues. The FPS can help physicists better meet their obligation in a number of ways. The FPS can expand upon its already successful programs, including the popular APS sessions and in particular by providing for further Forum Studies. Expansion may require growing membership and seeking novel sources to support such activities. Renewed effort must be placed in “grassroots” efforts to invigorate physicists to participate in societal debates and public education. The FPS has the second highest membership among APS Fora, yet roughly 88% of APS members are not FPS members. The Forum should reach out to professional colleagues to encourage physicists to participate in service, education, and outreach. Young physicists often feel that such activity is impossible because service is not valued highly as a consideration for promotion and career advancement (or is thought not to be valued highly). Successful, high-profile education and outreach programs can change this perception.Meanwhile, it is also incumbent upon the FPS to emphasize the value of service to society and change these perceptions in order to broaden participation by active physicists. This revaluation should be an FPS priority. As a practical matter, society decides the effective value of input from physicists and if physicists do not actively engage in societal decision making, this input will be undervalued. The FPS must strive to encourage and empower, with specific advice and tools, its membership to be active in their communities, participating in local debates and education activities. Local activity of this nature will exhibit the power of the scientific approach, better equip the general public with the tools to address issues, some of which are fundamentally quantitative and exemplify part of the value of supporting an active community of physicists as an important piece of modern society. I hope to serve the FPS in order to help cultivate stronger relationships among physicists as well as between physicists and the general public for the benefit of both societies and our profession.

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