The American Physical Society (APS) recently recognized SPP professor and associate provost and dean of the Graduate School, Steve Fetter, with the 2021 Leo Szilard Lectureship Award. The award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in such areas as the environment, arms control, and science policy for society's benefit.
"I am honored to receive an award named for Leo Szilard, who first conceived of a fission chain reaction and drafted a letter from Albert Einstein to President Roosevelt to warn that Germany may develop nuclear weapons, and led post-war efforts to prevent the use of nuclear weapons," said Fetter. "I hope to respect his legacy by using the lectureship to alert physicists and other citizens to the threats posed by nuclear weapons, and opportunities to reduce those threats."
Fetter is being recognized for his contributions to two US administrations' efforts to minimize nuclear war threats. Additionally, he helped establish nuclear archeology as a method for supporting arms control and counter-proliferation and contributing to the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
The award includes a certificate citing Fetter's contributions to the subject and the opportunity to attend an APS meeting and other educational centers to give lectures aimed towards physicists early in their careers.
Forum on Physics and Society established the award in 1974 as a memorial to Leo Szilard to highlight his concern for science's social consequences. It was later expanded to promote awareness of the field of physics's application to social problems and how to increase the visibility of those engaged in this research area.