Recently we noted that Steven Chu, a real scientist and experienced administrator, has been selected to run the Department of Energy. This week, we got a chance to talk with American Ceramic Society president John Kaniuk, who offered his opinion:
“Steven Chu is an admirable choice to lead DOE. As the former director of the Lawrence Berkeley Lab and the recipient of a Nobel Prize in physics, he is a highly regarded research scientist and much respected by academic researchers and scientists alike. “Just as importantly, Chu has also shown an ability to find a common ground with industry, working with companies like BP to develop alternative energy sources and public-private research and funding opportunities. His ability to navigate and produce results in both worlds – the world of science-academic research and the commercial-industrial world – make him a public official that ACerS membership – comprised of individuals from the same worlds – can very much relate to.”
The incoming administration in the past few days has made several other announcements related to science. Physicist John Holdren has been selected to serve as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Holdren is a professor and director of the program on Science, Technology and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and is the director and president of the Woods Hole Research Center
Holdren, along with Harold Varmus and Eric Lander will serve as co-chairs of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Varmus won a Noble Prize for his cancer research and was director of the National Institutes of Health during the Clinton administration. Lander is the founding director of the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard, and has played an important role in mapping the human genome.
Finally, Obama recruited Jane Lubchenco to be the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Lubchenco is an environmental scientist and ecologist and a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.