Published in Physics and Society, January 1, 2012.
Copyright © 2012 American Physical Society. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Physical Society. The following article appeared in Physics and Society.
Physics is a major component of many of society's difficult issues: nuclear arms and their proliferation, energy shortages and energy impacts, climate change, and technical innovation. Because physics principles underlie so many of these societal issues and because physics offers a way to quantify some aspects of them, members of the American Physical Society (APS) should be encouraged to understand, analyze and debate them. This is precisely why APS members formed the Forum on Physics and Society (FPS). To those of us who have been involved in FPS affairs for a long time, it seems like only yesterday that we attended the organizing meeting at the 1972 APS San Francisco meeting. Some 40 years later, it’s a good time for FPS to look back at its accomplishments and look ahead at the direction of its future activities.