We physicists are a diverse group. Some teach, some work in industry, others in national or other private laboratories. Our work ranges from basic to applied, and perhaps more important, many of us have exploited the power of physics to open up new fields of science, which then take on a disciplinary identity of their own. Physics is too useful and too interesting to exist in isolation from the mainstream of modern life. The work of physicists has done much to shape the world around us, and we have a major responsibility to be not only aware of the revolutionary effect of scientific ideas but to participate in the application of those ideas toward constructive purposes. We must do this, however nervous we may be about the corrosive effect of that mainstream on the principles we hold dear, principles that sustain the personal, intellectual and aesthetic rewards inherent in the practice of good physics. Indeed, only by active engagement in the affairs of society can we protect these principles and thus the health of our science and its value to future generations. This interplay will be my theme. But, first let me describe the state of The American Physical Society.

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