Confirmation of Renowned Scientists Holdren and Lubchenco to Top Administrative Posts Heartens APS

By Tawanda W. Johnson

John P. Holdren

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia


John P. Holdren


Jane Lubchenco

Photo Courtesy of NOAA


Jane Lubchenco

The American Physical Society (APS) is elated that APS Fellow John P. Holdren, an international expert on energy and climate change, has finally been confirmed as President Obama’s director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The Society also applauds the confirmation of Jane Lubchenco, a renowned marine ecologist, who will lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“The confirmation of John Holdren as science adviser and director of OSTP, and Jane Lubchenco as NOAA administrator, sends a powerful message to the nation that science will play an integral role in the Administration’s energy, environment and economic policies,” said APS President Cherry A. Murray.

Holdren, who served as a top adviser to the Obama presidential campaign, is the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and director of the Program on Science, Technology and Public Policy at the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He is also professor of environmental science and policy in Harvard’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

From 2005-2008, he served as president-elect, president and chair of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1995, Holdren received the APS Burton Forum Award, “for his many insightful contributions to the analysis of global energy issues, for his unstinting leadership in arms control and for the clear and lucid presentation of these ideas to scientists and to the general public.”

Trained in fluid dynamics and plasma physics, Holdren has devoted much of his career to energy and climate change research.  He is the second physicist to join President Obama’s Administration. His selection follows that of U.S. Energy Secretary Steve Chu, Nobel Laureate, APS Fellow and lifetime member of APS.

Lubchenco, a lauded marine ecologist, is a graduate of Colorado College. She received her master’s degree from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in marine ecology. She previously taught at Harvard and has been on the faculty of Oregon State University since 1977. Additionally, Lubchenco has been the recipient of numerous accolades, including a MacArthur Fellowship, nine honorary degrees and the 2002 Heinz Award in the Environment. She was also a presidential appointee for two terms on the National Science Board, which advises the President and Congress and oversees the National Science Foundation.

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