APS News

in Brief

In June, the leadership of the APS Divisions of Materials Physics (DMP) and Condensed Matter Physics (DCMP), as well as the Materials Physics Society (MPS), met in Washington, DC, to visit a cross section of Congressional and agency leaders who play key roles in federal support for science. The three groups, representing nearly 20,000 materials researchers, joined together to express strong support for all science; to offer their assistance in making the case for science; and to stress the importance of interdisciplinary research in all fields, especially materials research. In total, more than a dozen offices from Capitol Hill to the Pentagon were visited over a two-day period, including members and staff in both houses of Congress, representatives of science-related Congressional committees, and the Office of Management and Budget, the Defense Research and Engineering directorate, and the National Science Foundation.

Participants found the Washington visit to be useful and timely, according to DMP Chair Jim Roberto, Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A return visit is already being planned for next year and contacts are being maintained. "Translating these positive steps into action is a significant challenge which will require an unprecedented effort by all scientists working together, making the case for science to their Congressional representatives and to other key policy makers throughout the administration and Congress," said Roberto.

In July, President Clinton nominated Ernest J. Moniz as Under Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Moniz, formerly the associate director for science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy until January 1997, is currently serving as Head of the Physics Department at MIT. In this new position, he will be responsible for integrating the laboratories into a cohesive national system and for strengthening the links to academia and the private sector, while further enhancing laboratory core competencies. The Under Secretary at DOE is responsible for the issue areas of science and technology, environment, national security, and fundamental research, as well as the promotion of streamlining and management reform of the DOE national laboratories. He will also oversee national security and non-proliferation issues and provide the Secretary with critical advice in carrying out his responsibility of assuring the security of the nation's nuclear stockpile.

Moniz received a B.S. in physics from Boston College and a Ph.D. from Stanford University in theoretical physics. His career spans teaching, research, administration, management of major scientific ventures, and diverse services to the federal government. He served as head of the MIT Department of Physics, from 1991 to 1995 and Director of the Bates Linear Accelerator Center from 1983 to 1991. He served as chair of the Department of Energy's and the NSF's Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, as well as the Physics External Advisory Committee for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In July, Robert A. Eisenstein, who has served as director of the physics division of the National Science Foundation (NSF) since 1992, was appointed Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences at NSF. The appointment became effective September 8. Eisenstein came to NSF with a well recognized background in nuclear and particle physics. As physics division director, he has played significant roles both in the management of large-scale projects such as the Laser Interferometer Gravity Wave Observatory, and in the establishment of physics division initiatives in biological physics and complex phenomena. He also led the division to a greater involvement of undergraduate students in its supported research activities.

"Bob has the leadership and wisdom to help pave a new road for integrative, multidisciplinary, and increasingly interdependent science and engineering," said NSF director Neal Lane. "Since coming to the agency, Bob has enhanced NSF's reputation for innovation in science funding and sound management practices."

Prior to joining NSF, Eisenstein was a professor of physics at the University of Illinois, where he also directed the Nuclear Physics Laboratory. Prior to that, he was a professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon University. Bob was chair of the APS Division of Nuclear Physics and was a Councillor-at-Large on APS Council from 1991 to 1994. Eisenstein received his masters and doctoral degrees in physics from Yale University.


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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin