April 1, 2001

Washington, DC

Present: J. Ahearne, H. Birnbaum, R. Cahn, C. Davis, J. Doyle, W. Edelstein, W. Evenson, W. Frazer, M. Goldman, L. Gronlund, A. Herzog, F. Lamb, M. Riordan, M. Sharachik, R. Saxon, L. Schwartz, G. Trilling, J. Tsang

Absent: S. Berry, L. Krauss, I. Schuller

APS Staff: J. Franz, M. Lubell, R. Park, F. Slakey, D. Victoria


  • 14 October 2001, Washington

Announcements, Minutes: The minutes of The minutes of January 28, 2001 were approved.

Report on Executive Board meeting: J. Tsang reported that the statement on National Security and Science at the Weapons Laboratories was well received by the E. Board, and pre?approved with only minor changes. Once the Council gives a final approval, the statement will be posted on the web, used by the Washington Office to lobby, and possibly sent to Congress with a letter from the APS president.

Update on NMD study: External funding for the study is being sought. Great progress has been made in asembling the study group; the first meeting should take place in a few weeks, and completion of the report is expected by the end of the year. The national labs will cooperate with the study. The final version of the study will be submitted to an APS panel that will review it and recommend changes, if necessary. The APS presidential line will monitor the review process.

Energy and environment: L. Schwartz's presentation was followed by a discussion about what energy issues APS should work on. Members decided not to address primary sources of energy or global warming. Instead, APS should focus on long term secondary sources, nuclear energy in particular. The possibility of having a POPA report addressing long term solutions to energy problems was dismissed. The motion of having a POPA white paper on nuclear energy was approved unanimously; more will be issued as needed.

Action: Ahearne and Doyle will prepare an outline of a white paper on nuclear energy. Edelstein and Herzog will prepare an outline for a white paper on conservation and efficiency. After comments from E&E committee, Tsang will take these papers to the E. Board for comments and encouragement to proceed.

POPA website: Members discussed what kind of information would be useful to have on the POPA website and how it should be presented. The website should have: complete information on all members, a full list of subcommittees, the minutes of each meeting, links to relevant bills, AAAS information on the budget, and the AIP newsletter FYI. The idea of having links to other societies was rejected. There was general concern about the fact that the PUBAF website tracks down information on grassroots letter?writing activities without notifying members.

ACTION: The POPA website committee was empowered to change the POPA website as they see fit, and to recommend to APS modifications in the Public Affairs website. PUBAF will contact Vocus software to examine ways of letting grassroots activists know that their letters are being tracked.

Washington Report: Science is not currently a high priority for the Administration. The civilian research budget is getting a cut, with the exception of NIH. DOE budget won't be cut, but there are major cuts proposed for the energy and technology R&D. Defense will receive an increase of 10 percent, mostly on technology rather than research. The White House has been made aware of science budget issues as a result of Bromley's New York Times' Op?Ed. Still no science advisor at OSTP.

Committee Report on Health of the Profession: Two essays on the health of the profession were presented for discussion; the first one will go on the APS News back page. It should be made clear that the essays are the opinion of the author and not of the APS.

ACTION: Tsang and Davis were encouraged to continue writing a series of issue papers suitable for APS News or for POPA website.

Physics and the Public: The committee discussed the possibility of composing a list of possible speakers to promote physics to the public. M. Goldman proposed to develop a syllabus to put on the web for a course to be taught to undergraduate, non?science majors, on physics and public policy or physics and the public.

ACTION: Cahn and Goldman were encouraged to prepare materials for website — reference materials for courses on physics and society. Edelstein and Franz will get together to discuss ideas for a speakers' list. Joint Statement on Education: Christina Hood, from the APS Public Affairs office, has been lobbying on the issue of science education and she is working with a coalition group to respond to the numerous bills that are being drafted.

New Business: The possibility of developing a statement on the issue of foreign students in this country was discussed. Tsang referenced two articles: a New York Times' article on global competition for talent, and a National Security study on the consequences of foreign students returning to their countries.

ACTION: Anybody interested in continuing this discussion will email Tsang.

The meeting adjourned at 3:30 pm.