Candidates for Office in the Forum on Physics and Society

Candidates for Vice Chair: William Barletta and Joel Primack

William Barletta

Biography: William Barletta is Director of the US Particle Accelerator School, Fermilab and Adjunct Professor of Physics at MIT, UCLA and Old Dominion, Director Emeritus of the Accelerator Division and Homeland Security Program at LBNL. He served on DOE’s Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee contributing to studies of Science for Sustainable Energy and on Mesoscale Science. He co-chaired BES studies of Accelerators for Future Light Sources, Opportunities for Compact Light Sources, and the BES facility prioritization sub-panel. He chaired Visiting Committees for the BES Division of Scientific User Facilities (2013) and for Research Engineering at LANL (2012 —). He is Coordinating Editor-in-Chief of NIM — A, senior advisor to the President of Sincrotrone Trieste and Visiting Professor, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana. He co-chairs the Permanent Monitoring Panel on Energy of the World Federation of Scientists and is a member of its Panel on Information Security. He was founding director of the Korean Accelerator School and is co-convener of the USPAS, CERN, KEK and Budker Joint Accelerator School

He was Chair of the APS Forum on International Physics and the Division of Physics of Beams. He was Convener for Accelerator Capabilities for the DPF “Snowmass 2013” study. He was an active member of the APS Committee on Minorities (2004 - 2006), APS Panel on Public Affairs (2009 - 2011 and 2013 - 2016) and is now POPA past chair. He has served on the APS Committee on International Scientific Affairs (2011 - 2015), the APS Physics Policy Committee (2015) and the ABA Privacy & Computer Crime Committee (2006 - 2012). He recently served on the POPA study on license extension of reactors. His present research includes neutrino sources, high intensity cyclotrons, high luminosity proton colliders, ultra-short pulse X-ray sources, free electron laser physics, applications of ion beams to nanotechnology, and international legal aspects of cyber-security.

He has organized international schools in accelerator technologies and was founding director of the International School of Innovative Technology for Cleaning the Environment. He edited four books about accelerator science, co-authored four books concerning cybersecurity, privacy and international cyber-law, including, “Averting Disaster: Science for Peace in a Perilous Age” and “The Quest for Cyber Peace,” published by the International Telecommunications Union. He holds four patents and published 180 scientific papers plus 30 reports on strategic technologies. He holds a Ph.D. (Physics) from the University of Chicago and is a fellow of the APS and a member of the European Physical Society.

Statement: FPS has the crucial mission in the APS of exploring and articulating the many ways in which the physical sciences influence society in the broadest sense. The FPS sessions at APS meetings and the FPS newsletter provide a platform for even-handed, grassroots debate on issues of great concern and impact on physicists and on society as a whole. FPS activities also provide a highly visible means for APS members to educate themselves on issues of national and international importance. This vital program must continue and ideally expand.

FPS looks inward at the APS to identify how public issues affect the community of physicists. It looks outward to articulate how the insights of physics influence the public debate on issues as diverse and as charged as downsizing the nuclear arsenal, energy policy, the future of nuclear power, proliferation of nuclear weapons, and ballistic missile defense, just to name a few. For this reason FPS has a standing representative on the APS Panel on Public Affairs giving it an important voice formulating APS statements and in conducting studies for the APS.

During the next several years the U.S. government must continue its investments in energy efficiency and low carbon emission technologies. Controlling nuclear proliferation and counterterrorism while balancing the privacy concerns and human rights will remain vital public issues with deep technological roots. Every policy choice has both risks and benefits. Being independent of commercial and partisan interests, the APS is the vehicle by which American physicists can and should inform the public debate with the same intellectual discipline, rigor, and open-minded skepticism that we value in our physics research. That goal of broader public education has frequently begun with the FPS process of inquiry and debate.

At this stage of my career, I am deeply committed to the education both of the public and of those seeking or engaged in careers in the physical sciences and engineering. Given my extensive activities within the APS and my broad experience ranging from strategic studies and energy technologies to accelerator physics and technology for scientific research facilities, I an enthusiastic to participate as a member of the chair line in the FPS mission of influencing the connections between physics and the broader society.

Joel R. Primack

Biography: I am now Distinguished Professor of Physics Emeritus, University of California Santa Cruz. My early research helped create the Standard Model of particle physics, but since the late 1970s I have worked mainly on the physics of the universe. I am a main author and developer of Cold Dark Matter, the basis of the modern theory of structure formation in the universe from the cosmic background radiation to galaxies. I was made a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) in 1988 “for pioneering contributions to gauge theory and cosmology.” I am an author of more than 200 refereed articles; my h-index is 70. I am coauthor of the book Advice and Dissent: Scientists in the Political Arena (1974); two books on modern cosmology and its implications: The View from the Center of the Universe: Discovering Our Extraordinary Place in the Cosmos (2006), and The New Universe and the Human Future: How a Shared Cosmology Could Transform the World (2011); and also many articles in magazines.

In 1995 I was made a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) “for pioneering efforts in the establishment of the AAAS Congressional Science Fellows Program [the beginning of the AAAS fellowships that now help to place 250 scientists and engineers in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches annually] and for dedication to expanding the use of science in policymaking throughout government.” In 1973 I helped to create the APS Forum on Physics and Society. In 1973 - 74 I led the effort to organize the first APS studies on public policy issues. I worked with Senator Ted Kennedy in 1976 - 78 to create the NSF Science for Citizens Program. I initiated the AAAS Science and Human Rights program, which has rescued many scientists and non-scientists. In 1987-89 I led the Federation of American Scientists Space Nuclear Power Arms Control project, which helped to end the USSR’s orbiting nuclear reactor program. As a member of the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA), I led the APS study on the destructive effects on science of President George W. Bush’s 2004 Vision for Space Exploration. I served as FPS chair in 2005 - 06. I was chair of the AAAS committee on Science, Ethics, and Religion 2000 - 2002, and of the APS Sakharov Prize committee 2009. In 2016 I received the APS Leo Szilard Lectureship Award for outstanding accomplishments in promoting the use of physics for the benefit of society.

Statement: As people everywhere grapple with increasingly challenging global issues, science is both essential to guide us toward optimal solutions, and increasingly under attack. My highest priority as chairman of the Forum on Physics and Society would be to promote better understanding of science by the general public and better decisions regarding science and technology policy. One important way FPS can do this would be to create programs to improve physicists’ communication skills, including through social media. Excellent science reporting can help, but physicists themselves — particularly diverse and articulate ones — are needed to explain science to the public. The APS could encourage this by recognizing exemplary efforts by physicists at all stages of their careers with annual awards. FPS can also develop new ways for physicists to interact with government at all levels, including local and state, such as the California Science & Technology Policy Fellows program. It is important that the public understand better the different levels of scientific certainty in different areas, so that they do not mistrust conclusions that are supported by strong evidence, such as human-caused global climate change, because of frequently changing advice in uncertain areas like dietary guidelines — or because of efforts by a small number of scientists to raise unwarranted doubt on issues like cigarette smoking, sugar, acid rain, ozone, and climate. (Please see also my July 2016 APS News Back Page piece based on my Leo Szilard Award lecture “How Can Physicists Help the Public Make Better Decisions About Science and Technology? and my article in the July 2016 issue of Physics and Society)

Candidates for Position 1 on the Executive Committee: Kelly Chipps and Chris Spitzer

Kelly Chipps

Biography: After a semester in astronomy, Kelly Chipps completed a PhD in experimental nuclear astrophysics from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. During this time, she served on the Graduate Student Association, helping to create a new child-care grant for fellow students. Work as a postdoc for Rutgers University, the University of York in the UK, and the Colorado School of Mines, was followed by a research staff position at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Her focus as a scientist has been on studying, in the laboratory, the nuclear reactions that power stars and stellar explosions. Currently, she continues this line of research as a Liane B. Russell Fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. As a nuclear physicist, she has a keen interest in the public perception of nuclear energy and the history of the national laboratories. She participates in outreach programs with ORNL, the American Museum of Science and Energy, and on social media, to encourage public participation and interest in science.

Statement: Society currently has a love-hate relationship with science. Everywhere we look, people deny convenient pieces of science while benefiting from other portions; climate change and evolution are disbelieved while quantum mechanics and general relativity quietly provide the satellites and cell phones those same individuals use every day. Importantly, the general public opinion can negatively impact policy decisions on science. I believe it is important to emphasize scientific literacy, not only to fill the STEM "leaky pipeline" and produce more good scientists, but also to provide the general public the means to gain a better understanding of the basis behind the science and tech all around them. With the right knowledge, people can filter out the noise around science and technology and help lead the country toward making more informed policy decisions. This is where I feel that the Forum on Physics & Society can play an important role - by proactively engaging our fellow scientists to engage the public, in particular by encouraging (and supporting, where possible) science cafes, social media programs, public lectures and debates, open houses, and involvement with local schools. Science should be a language that is accessible to everyone, and the more people have a basic fluency in it, the more public policy will reflect that understanding.

Chris Spitzer

Biography: Chris Spitzer is an early-career physicist with significant experience in science policy and the creation of programs that expand the field’s reach. He currently serves as Program Officer in UC Research Initiatives, a grant-making office of the University of California. As the lead on the Lab Fees Research Program, he has enhanced the University’s inclusion of graduate students, mentorship of young faculty and scientists, and engagement with the social sciences in multi-institution research collaborations. He was the lead Program Officer on the UC President’s Research Catalyst Awards and covers the physical sciences and engineering in the UC Multi-campus Research Programs and Initiatives.

Dr. Spitzer spent a number of years as a policy practitioner in DC, starting as the American Institute of Physics Congressional Fellow in the office of Senator Jeanne Shaheen in 2010 - 2011. His portfolio included budgetary oversight of the Department of Energy, energy efficiency legislation, responses to the Fukushima accident, and promotion of research in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. From 2011 - 2013, he was a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the State Department. Primarily focused on Afghanistan, he worked to incorporate science and data-driven approaches into State’s actions on economic development, energy, water security, and environmental protection. The Department recognized this work with two Superior Honor Awards. Dr. Spitzer remained at State through 2014 in the Energy Bureau, where he developed programs that improve the efficient use of energy in south Asia and north Africa.

He has also held a AAAS Mass Media Fellowship, sponsored by APS, and continues to be engaged in science communication. In addition to describing the benefits of UC’s research programs to the public, he writes for AAAS MemberCentral, covering federal science policy and a recurring feature that highlights AAAS members who are teachers.

Dr. Spitzer holds a Ph.D. in particle theory from the University of Washington (2009), where he was an officer in the Forum on Science, Ethics, and Policy. He holds a B.A. in Physics and a B.S. in Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering from Berkeley (2001). He was a postdoc at Washington University in St. Louis, and was previously in George Smoot’s group at Lawrence Berkeley Lab.

Statement: As a physicist who has worked in the U.S. Senate and the State Department, I’ve seen first-hand the importance of effective communication of science with policy makers and the public. FPS plays a crucial role in fostering discussion of societally important issues within in the physics community, and in preparing physicists to effectively engage outside of the field.

As Member-at- Large, in addition to supporting existing activities, I would vigorously work to expand FPS’s reach. Specifically, I am interested in increasing the number of members who are knowledgeable in issues at the intersection of science, technology, and policy, and who have the skills needed to interact productively with the public. I believe an important component of this effort would be additional outreach to graduate students and early-career faculty and researchers, who will become the backbone of FPS’s mission in the years to come.

Outreach, including educational events and training opportunities, could focus on either key societal issues such as energy, the environment, and emerging technological challenges like privacy, or on the importance of basic research to society. As a theorist, the latter topic is one which I’ve often found is overlooked in policy discussions but is vital to positioning ourselves to address future challenges.

My background has positioned me well to conceptualize and execute these types of activities, and if elected as Member-at-Large I look forward to working hard to advance FPS’s goals. Thank you for your consideration.

Candidates for Position 2 on the Executive Committee: Warren Buck and Lisbeth Gronlund

Warren W. Buck

Biography: Ph.D. in theoretical intermediate energy physics from William and Mary with Franz Gross, Post doc at Stony Brook with Gerry Brown, Research Associate at the University of Paris ORSAY lab with Robert Vinh Mau, extensive three year sailing and watercolor painting voyage ending in 1983. Buck joined the faculty of Hampton University in 1984 and did all the ground work to establish a Hall C experimental program at the Jefferson Lab prior to making any hires at Hampton. He created and was founding Director of the NSF funded NuHEP Research Center of Excellence that was the mechanism through which Hall C detector equipment was built or refurbished for the Jefferson Lab; and this NSF funded Center was critical in establishing a new Ph.D. degree offering in Physics at Hampton University. When the national average of African American Ph.D.’s graduated was 0.5 per year, we Hampton was graduating 2-4 Ph.D.’s per year. The experimentalists Buck recruited and hired through the NuHEP Center not only became the first to have approved experiments at a national lab from an HBCU; but also, there were many experiments. Today former members from the NuHEP Center have university professorships, industry leadership, and prominent leadership positions at the Jefferson Lab as well as having a continual set of experiments approved. Buck also created and was founding Director the HUGS at CEBAF (at JLab) summer school now moving into its 32nd consecutive year. Buck served as the Chair of the APS Committee on Education during the time that helped to establish and launch the Forum on Education. His theoretical work on the deuteron was part of the justification for the theory proposal of CEBAF; and additional theoretical work was motivation for experiments to measure elastic and semi-leptonic meson form factors. In 1999, Buck was recruited away from Hampton and JLab to be the first Chancellor of the University of Washington’s newest campus in Bothell (UWB). Buck oversaw the major portion of completing the new UWB campus buildings and moving from the old campus to the new one. In moving to the new campus UWB was and still is co-located with the state’s newest community college and co-locating agreements were established under his watch. His administration additionally took an upper division campus only to a full four year campus. After stepping down as Chancellor, Buck built and was founding Director of the UWB Science and Technology Program that has now transitioned to the School of STEM under the leadership of a dean (a new hire) and the nation’s newest Physics undergraduate degree offerings with SPS student membership. Among other things, Buck has been Visiting Professor of Physics at several universities in the United States and Europe. He was co-chair of the 2008 NRC study on Opening New Frontiers in Space: Choices for the Next New Frontiers Announcement of Opportunity. Buck serves on the NSF’s Advisory Committee for Business and Operations. Buck retired from the University of Washington June 2016 as professor emeritus and chancellor emeritus and now serves on the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary as well as on the Board of Trustees of the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences. He is a Fellow of the APS and a life member. He and his wife, Cate, have four adult children and two grand children.

Statement: My leadership in physics, leadership at the most senior levels of university administration, and my well roundedness with ability to converse with most anyone will help the Executive Committee make decisions that will help the Forum agenda move forward.

Lisbeth Gronlund

Biography: Lisbeth Gronlund is a Senior Scientist and Co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. She has worked professionally on issues of international security for almost 30 years. Before joining the staff of the Union of Concerned Scientists in 1992, she was an SSRC-MacArthur Foundation fellow in international peace and security at the University of Maryland and a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Defense and Arms Control Studies Program.

She holds a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Cornell University. She is a fellow of the APS and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Gronlund served on the Executive Committee of the Forum on Physics and Society from 1992 to 1995, and was a member of the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) from 2000 to 2003.

Her research has focused on technical and policy issues related to nuclear weapons, ballistic missile defenses, and space security. She has authored numerous articles and reports, given talks about nuclear arms control and missile defense policy issues to both lay and expert audiences, and testified before Congress. She is frequently cited in the media and regularly meets with administration officials and members of Congress or their staff to provide information and advocate for policy change.

Since 1990, Dr. Gronlund has been a primary organizer of the International Summer Symposiums on Science and World Affairs, which help train a new generation of scientists from around the world to work on arms control and security issues, and to foster an international community of such scientists. In recognition of this work, she is the co-recipient of the 2001 Joseph A. Burton Forum Award “for creative and sustained leadership in building an international arms-control- physics community and for her excellence in arms control physics.”

Statement: The Forum on Physics and Society performs a valuable function within the professional community of physicists — it provides opportunities for APS members to educate themselves on important societal issues, and to do so easily.

I served on the FPS Executive Committee over 20 years ago, and am eager to again become engaged with the Forum.

I have some ideas about how to increase the reach and impact of the FPS that I will explore if I am elected to the Executive Committee.

First, to complement its sessions at APS meetings, FPS could sponsor a regular series of hour-long webinars on topics of interest to Forum members. There is very low overhead for such webinars — my organization runs them frequently. Webinars would both allow Forum members who do not travel to APS meetings to take part in Forum activities, and facilitate getting speakers who do not have the time to travel to APS meetings.

Second, the Resources section of the FPS website could be updated and expanded to make it more useful to physicists who are interested in these issues but are not experts. For example, the list of journals could be expanded and annotated, as could the science and policy links.

Third, to complement its quarterly newsletter, the Forum could email its membership on a more frequent basis with information about relevant news, articles and reports. The FPS would need to commission physicists working in various fields to identify relevant material. Finally, there may be ways in which the FPS could do a better job of advertising itself to APS members. For example, the landing page of the FPS website could be rewritten to be more engaging. More generally, I would like to understand what the FPS currently does to advertise itself and its APS meeting sessions, and how those efforts could be augmented.

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