SPIE member and Provost of Johns Hopkins University, Kristina M. Johnson, will be nominated by President Barack Obama to be Under Secretary of Energy, the White House said on Thursday, March 12. Johnson, 51, has been the chief academic officer at Hopkins since 2007.
Johnson holds 129 U.S. and foreign patents and is the co-founder of several startup companies. If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson would be responsible for leading administration initiatives in energy efficiency, solar and wind power, geothermal energy, clean car technology and other forms of renewable energy.
Johnson is a Fellow of SPIE and served on the Society's Board of Directors from 2006 to 2008. She is a member of the SPIE Symposia Committee and has also served on the SPIE Publications Committee.
SPIE President Maria Yzuel sent congratulations to Johnson on behalf of the Society's board of directors and members, saying "This is an important field where optics and photonics have a prominent role because optics serves many of the technologies that the DOE is going to push: solar energy, renewable energies, energy efficiency etc." Yzuel also emphasized the importance of Johnson's appointment as "great for the representation of scientific women in our institutions."
As dean of Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering from 1999-2007, she helped set up interdisciplinary efforts in photonics, bioengineering and biologically inspired materials, and energy and the environment.
In a statement sent by email to Johns Hopkins students, faculty and staff on March 12, university president Ronald J. Daniels said, "Although we will miss Kristina's energy and imagination, it is a singular source of pride for Johns Hopkins that she has been called upon to serve the country at such a critical juncture."
Full story from Reuters.
Johns Hopkins press release.
2007 SPIE video interview with Kristina Johnson.
October 2003 profile of Kristina Johnson (SPIE Newsroom).