Cas Milner - Candidate for Treasurer

Southern Methodist University

Candidate Statement

Shifting to virtual meetings in response to the pandemic has been challenging. APS staff worked quickly and successfully to adapt operations to the new requirements. Some of the financial impacts and risks have been controlled, in large part because the staff excelled in creatively and prudently managing the situation. This experience has emphasized the importance of closely monitoring finances and scenarios to maintain the fiscal vitality of APS and achieve our goals. If elected, I look forward to working closely with APS staff to carefully map out a financial strategy and plans in an uncertain environment. We need to give continued and special attention to the financial aspects of several core APS activities: meetings, publications, and community support. All of these are of great importance for nurturing physics advancement. The lessons of the last couple of years have shown us this all needs to be accomplished in ways that protect our health, are resilient, facilitate research, and promote diversity and inclusion. Even though the pandemic inhibited our work in many ways, the last year was a period of deep scientific thought for many. In the spirit of Newton's achievements during the Great Plague of 1666, my hope is we all move forward now with renewed purpose.

I have worked in physics and in business. I worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory twice. The first time I was a postdoc and staff scientist conducting experimental particle physics research, and the second time I was a staff scientist developing techniques to detect smuggled nuclear material. In that second appointment, I also led a project applying muon tomography to non-invasively measure the location of melted fuel in the damaged Fukushima Daiichi reactors to enable extraction planning. Between those two appointments, I worked at the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory co-leading a team developing muon detectors for the GEM experiment, which were later deployed at LHC Atlas. In addition, I was an Adjunct Professor at Southern Methodist University for 12 years, teaching core physics curricula and a course I developed on nuclear policy. In business, I have primarily worked in investment management as a “quant”, managing several funds and portfolios. This work led me to volunteer as a member of the APS Investment Committee—I'm presently in my third 3-year term on the committee—where we advise on policy for managing APS funds. That committee work has in turn led me to stand for election as Treasurer, a position in which I hope to apply my experience in financial management, with special sensitivity to physics community challenges and opportunities. I'm now retired, spending significant effort mentoring startup companies at Capital Factory, the largest startup accelerator organization in Texas.

Educational History

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory (1985-1987)
  • PhD, The University of Texas at Austin (1985)
  • BS, The University of Texas at Austin (1980)

URL for Full Bio or CV

Top 5 Honors, Awards, or Recognition

  • IBM Leadership Award (1999)
  • Mentor of the Year, The Capital Factory (2020)

Most Recent APS Volunteer History

  • Investment Committee Member (2005-2007, 2012-2014, 2021-Present)
  • Committee Member, APS Strategic Plan (2018)

Other Relevant Experience

  • Judge, American-Made Solar Prize, a startup grant competition sponsored by US DOE (2017-2020)
  • Judge, Lone Star Prize, a $10M grant program to improve the lives of Texans (2020)
  • Member of the Physics Department Advisory Council, The University of Texas at Austin (2018-present)

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Cas Milner