Forum on Physics and Society Leadership Focus: From the New FPS Chair

I am delighted to be serving as chair of FPS during the coming year. There has been much discussion among your elected FPS officers about the role of the Forum and what can be done to increase its visibility, its relevance to the membership and its attractiveness to younger physicists. I request that you provide your ideas on this, or any other topics that you think the Forum should be working on, or things that we should be doing. I would like to suggest some possibilities.

1. Initiate small working groups that study key topics that would produce "white papers" that would be published in the appropriate APS newsletter. We could enhance the attractiveness to younger physicists by offering modest stipends to defray potential costs for their participation, (for example, a trip to meeting to organize the work, and one to present the findings), with the certainty of getting some form of publication that would enhance their resumes. These topics could include:

  1. Specific ideas on improving diversity in physics;
  2. The impact of new technologies on the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. strategic planning;
  3. The societal impact of basic scientific research;
  4. The emergence of new energy technologies and their potential impacts on the energy generation mix in the U.S.;
  5. The potential impact of artificial intelligence on society;
  6. What we know about sea level rise and possible mitigating actions;
  7. Physics and Health - the role of physics in the mitigation of pandemics.

2. Workshops, or "summer schools" on specific topics, such as arms control, energy efficiency, climate change, science and technology policy, and science and diplomacy.

3. Enhanced programming at the APS annual meetings.

It seems like a lot, but there is already some of this going on in the FPS. My idea is to capture the interests of our membership and to build much greater collaboration with other units in the APS. Many of the suggested topics are cross-cutting, as they should be, and would benefit from active participation beyond FPS.

As mentioned above, your ideas are most welcome. With your support, I anticipate a very productive, and active, year for the Forum.

Allen L. Sessoms,

Allen Sessoms

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