"In this era of interdisciplinary science, of biological physics, network science and econophysics, defining physics as the science of the properties of matter and energy is increasingly outdated and inaccurate. We are therefore prompted to ask anew: what is physics?" *
Building on in-house research on energy, complexity, and stochastic phenomena, the Department of Physics at the American University of Beirut, in collaboration with the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, and the Lebanese CNRS, is launching the “Physics and Public Policy” initiative with the aim of exploring the productive interface between physics and policy, for the benefit of our students, our colleagues and the broader community.
The initiative will work to strengthen the exchange between its parties, integrating public policy thinking in the teaching and research of the Department where appropriate, contributing Physics modeling and insights to public policy, and sustaining Physics research in fusion, materials science, non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, and computational physics.
The initiative kicks-off with a lecture series highlighting journeys of physicists who engage in the complex landscape of public policy and contribute to the effort of solving societal problems. The lecture series, which is part of the initiative, will feature prominent physicists, thinkers, and policy practitioners to discuss their work, career path, and inflection points in their fields.
The series starts with Professor and nuclear physicist Zia Mian of Princeton University on the global effort for nuclear disarmament and the role of physics in moving towards a more peaceful world.
The second lecture, by Dr. Adonai Herrera-Martinez, associate director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, examines the challenge of accelerating climate action while achieving development goals. Adonai will also share how a physics education can spur a successful career in international development.
In the third lecture, Dr. Laura Grego, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, will discuss the interactions between physics and public policy and her work on space security.
Professor Victor Yakovenko of the University of Maryland concludes the series by examining the global challenge of economic inequality through the lens of statistical physics.
*Sinatra, R., Deville, P., Szell, M., Wang, D., and Barabasi, A. L. (2015). A century of physics. Nature Physics, 11(10), 791
|Speaker & Affiliation||Title||Date & Time|
|The Struggle Against the Bomb: The Responsibility of Scientists as Intellectuals||April 22nd, 2021|
at 4:00 pm
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
|Physics and International Development: Energy and Climate Change||May 27th, 2021|
at 4:00 pm
Union of Concerned Scientists
|Physics and the Security and Sustainability of Outer Space||June 10th, 2021|
at 4:00 pm
University of Maryland
|Economic Inequality from a Statistical Physics Point of View||June 24th, 2021|
at 4:00 pm