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As I write this, spring has finally made an appearance after a long and cold winter here on the east coast. While a new season may be upon us, the debate over climate change is ever present. Whether it is a discussion related to a changing climate and public health, regulatory oversight of the coal industry, or a politician bringing a snowball onto the floor of the Senate, I would argue that as physicists we must be an active part of this conversation. With that in mind and, as I hope you already know, the APS is currently asking for our comments on the draft statement on “Earth’s Changing Climate.” The deadline to do so is May 6, 2015. Continuing the theme, we have in this issue a book review written by Joe Levinger of Climate Change: What it Means for Us, Our Children, and Our Grandchildren.
Also in the newspapers almost daily is the proposed accord with Iran and the ongoing threat of nuclear weapons. Our feature article in this issue is the first of a two part series by Alexander DeVolpi on “Demilitarizing Weapons Grade Plutonium.” Our second book review continues that theme with a review written by Cameron Reed of Unmaking the Bomb: A Fissile Material Approach to Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation.
In the News from the Forum section, there is a summary written by our Past-Chair, Micah Lowenthal, of some of the FPS-sponsored sessions at the March meeting. First we have one on “additive manufacturing,” the other on “artificial intelligence.” As a reminder, we are always looking for suggestions for session topics to sponsor so if you have an idea, information on who to contact can be found below. You will also find announcements on Fellowship nominations and for the Joseph A. Burton Forum Award and the Leo Szilard Lectureship Award.
Finally, one of the keys to the long-term health of the Forum is to have a constant influx of our younger colleagues - early-career scientists, graduate students and undergraduate students join in the activities of the Forum. Our presence online continues to grow thanks to our Social Media Editor Matthew Parsons. In this issue, Hannah Davinroy, a sophomore physics major at Princeton University interested in public policy has written an article on recent research results using a zero-knowledge protocol to detect nuclear weapons. If you know of a student or early-career scientist interested in our activities or you are one and would like to write for the newsletter, please contact me. I hope that we can have regular contributions from the next generation of physicists interested in the societal implications of our research.
Andrew Zwicker, firstname.lastname@example.org