APS News

Congressional Reception

APS member Congressman Rush Holt was presented with his fellowship certificate.

Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ), APS Fellow
Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ), APS Fellow

Freshman Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ), former assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, was honored as a new APS Fellow at a special Congressional reception in Washington, DC, in April, in which Centennial timeline wall chart was displayed in the Rayburn Building. He was cited "For advancing the health of science in the U.S. through important contributions to plasma physics research, public science education reform, and public service."

On hand to witness the occasion and offer brief comments were such luminaries as Holt's fellow Congressman and APS fellow, Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Martha Krebs, director of the DOE Office of Science, and Joe Dehmer, head of the NSF Physics Division, as well as APS President Jerome Friedman (MIT). Both the DOE and the NSF reprised their Centennial exhibits at the reception, and NSF had several graduate students and young investigators on hand to explain their research projects.

Entitled A Century of Physics, the timeline consists of a series of posters narrating and illustrating the history of physics in the 20th century, presenting an historical and cultural context for may key discoveries and inventions that define the modern era and provide a glimpse of the scientific and technological achievements of the future. Officially unveiled at the APS Centennial meeting in March (see APS News, May 1999), the wall chart was produced with support from the DOE, NSF, IBM, the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, Lucent Technologies, and United Parcel Service. It is being sent with an accompanying teacher's guide to every high school and college in the US, and is also available on the Web: [www.timeline.aps.org/APS/home_HighRes.cfm]. Reception attendees had the opportunity to preview the online version of the timeline firsthand at a special terminal set up for the occasion.

Holt, who has long been active as a volunteer in APS outreach activities, decided to run for Congress because of his growing distaste for what he viewed as political infighting and a growing mean-spiritedness in the 104th and 105th Congress. The result was a surprise upset over the incumbent, Republican Michael Pappas. But he is no neophyte when it comes to Capitol Hill, having worked in the early 1980s in the office of Congressman Bob Edgar as a science, defense and education advisor, as well as advising on arms control issues during the Bush administration. A strong supporter of substantially increased research into alternative energy sources and increased R&D funding, Holt believes it is critical that there be more scientists in Congress. "A scientific background is important for understanding the limitations of some policies," he told the APS Forum on Physics and Society newsletter in January. "Scientists are in a position to define what is possible. There are examples where policy makers promote programs that essentially are prohibited by the laws of science."



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