Brookhaven National Laboratory
Candidate for Vice President
Sam Aronson has been Director of Brookhaven National Laboratory and President of Brookhaven Science Associates since 2006. He has worked at BNL since 1978 and is a Senior Physicist. He received his AB degree in physics from Columbia College in 1964. He did his graduate work under an NSF Graduate Fellowship at Princeton University, receiving his M.S. degree in 1966 and his Ph.D. degree in 1968. His research has focused on experimental particle and nuclear physics, with some forays into novel methods of particle acceleration and the search for new fundamental forces. From 1968 to 1977 Aronson held postdoctoral research and faculty positions at the University of Chicago’s Enrico Fermi Institute and the University of Wisconsin Physics Department. He is a fellow of the APS and of the AAAS. He was a member of the group of particle physicists that produced the “Quantum Universe” report in 2004. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of the National Laboratory Directors’ Council (NLDC) and chaired the NLDC in 2009-2010. Aronson currently serves on a number of state and regional councils and boards devoted to innovation, the commercialization of new technologies and economic development. The Federal Laboratory Consortium recently named Aronson Lab Director of the Year for work on improved mechanisms for technology transfer between national laboratories and industry.
Physics and the physical sciences are at a crossroads in the U.S. This is in part due to current economic conditions, but this is not unique to the physical sciences or to the U.S. Of greater, and longer-term concern is the lack of understanding, on the part of both the public and policy makers, of the importance of the physical sciences to the intellectual, technological and economic well being of the nation. As a result, we see the U.S. ceding world leadership in some areas of physics and also a declining (though still dominant) U.S. role in innovation. These and other indicators of decline, such as U.S. student interest and achievement in STEM subjects compared to their peers in other countries, are well documented and reported on. The APS has been a strong voice in support of science literacy, the excitement and importance of scientific discovery and science-based policy making. I believe this advocacy is among the most important tasks of the APS and I would like to work to extend and expand the APS’ reach outside the scientific community to communicate this to the next generation of physical scientists, policy makers and informed citizens.