The Board on Physics and Astronomy (BPA) serves as the focal point in the National Research Council (NRC) for activities related to physics and astronomy and their interactions with engineering, medicine, chemistry, biology, and other sciences. The BPA's principal objectives are to maintain an awareness of the status of research in physics and astronomy, to identify emerging needs, and to initiate studies that address these problems and that foster continued progress. The BPA fulfills these objectives by working closely with the physics and astronomy communities in academia, federal agencies and their advisory committees, government laboratories, industry, relevant scientific and technical societies, and other boards and committees of the NRC.
This grant provided partial support for the National Academiesâ€™ Board on Physics and Astronomy (BPA). The BPA is the National Academiesâ€™ principal forum for issues connected with the fields of physics and astronomy. Its overall objectives are to identify important new developments at the scientific forefronts in these fields, to foster interactions with other fields, to strengthen connections to industry, and to facilitate effective service to the nation by the physics and astronomy scientific community. Much of the Board's efforts are carried out through the activities of ad hoc study committees formed under the Board's supervision that produce reports providing guidance to the federal government. Members of these committees are selected from the nationâ€™s most eminent scholars and their selection is made in such a manner to assure the highest degree of independence and objectivity. Among the reports issued under the auspices of the BPA during the life of this award are (1) a report that describes the current status of inertial fusion energy (IFE) research in the United States and identifies the challenges associated with developing IFE as an energy source; (2) a study that assesses the current status of high magnetic field research in the United States and provides recommendations to guide the future of research and technology development for this area given the needs of user communities and in the context of other programs worldwide; and (3) a short report that uses 5 examples to illustrate how condensed matter and materials research directly contribute to meeting the nationâ€™s needs in a number of way. Pdf versions of these reports are available for download, for free, at www.nap.edu/catalog/18289/, www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=18355 and www.nap.edu/catalog/18734. Additional information about the BPA, and other activities that it has undertaken, can be found at http://sites.nationalacademies.org/BPA/index.htm.