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Lasers & Sources

President names new science and technology advisors

SPIE Newsroom
27 April 2010

President Obama has issued an Executive Order to officially establish the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The 21 council members are experts from across the country, and from various fields of science and technology. 

The three co-chairs: John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy; Eric Lander, professor at both Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School; and Harold Varmus, president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The other 18 members of PCAST are as follows:

--Chad Mirkin, professor of chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and director of Northwestern's International Institute of Nanotechnology. Mirkin has given several presentations at SPIE symposia on massively parallel soft pen nanolithography

--Rosina Bierbaum, Dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan

--Christine Cassel, president and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine

--Christopher Chyba, professor of astrophysical sciences and international affairs at Princeton University and a member of the Committee on International Security and Arms Control of the National Academy of Sciences

--S. James Gates Jr., professor of physics and director of the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland, College Park

--Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and former Chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

--Richard Levin, president of Yale University

--Mario Molina, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego and the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and 1995 chemistry Nobel laureate

--Ernest J. Moniz, professor of physics and engineering systems, director of the Energy Initiative, and director of the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment at MIT

--Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer at Microsoft Corp

--Ed Penhoet, a director of Alta Partners, and chairman of the Board for Immune Design and Metabolex

--William Press, professor of computer sciences at the University of Texas at Austin

--Maxine Savitz, retired general manager of Technology Partnerships at Honeywell, Inc

--Barbara Schaal, distinguished professor at Washington University and vice president of the National Academy of Sciences

--Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Google Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of Apple Inc.

--Daniel Schrag, professor of geology at Harvard University and professor of environmental science and engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

--David E. Shaw, chief scientist of D. E. Shaw Research and founder of D. E. Shaw & Co., an investment and technology development firm

--Ahmed Zewail, professor of chemistry and physics at Caltech, director of the Physical Biology Center, and 1999 Nobel laureate in chemistry for his work in femtochemistry.
The new Executive Order (EO) is an administrative action necessitated by the fact that PCASTs are entities created by EOs (most recently in 2001) and not by Congress. That means that any Administration seeking to modify a PCAST to meet its needs must do so by issuing a new EO. The new EO signed by President Obama codifies some small changes compared to the last Administration's PCAST, most of them already implemented. Specifically, the current PCAST has three co-chairs instead of two and 21 members instead of 25.

The next PCAST meeting is scheduled for May 21, 2010. Registration is open now.

PCAST web page