James Adams


James Adams is Chief of the Radiation Physics Division at NIST—the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In this capacity, Dr. Adams leads a staff of approximately 70 physicists, chemists and engineers engaged in aspects of radiation physics related to the study and application of nuclear decay processes, dosimetry of ionizing radiation, fundamental neutron physics, and neutron imaging and optics. Previously, Dr. Adams was intelligence professional and equity partner with Corvus Integration, Inc., where he served as the company's Chief Scientist. Dr. Adams specialized in applied scientific research in analytical chemistry, molecular biology, and microbiology that supported the national security objectives of the United States in the areas of counter-biological warfare, Weapons of Mass Destruction counter-proliferation, and identity intelligence and management. Prior to joining Corvus, Dr. Adams was a supervisory physicist at NIST where he conducted basic and applied research with NIST’s Neutron Physics section. Dr. Adams' research activities included experimental investigations in fundamental neutron physics, investigation of space-time symmetries of the electroweak interaction, investigation of neutron interactions with matter, precision neutron metrology, measurement of the neutron lifetime, and gamma-ray spectroscopy. Dr. Adams has also served as a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of State, Office of Space and Advanced Technology, where he led multi-agency International Dialogues on Civilian Space Cooperation regarding the use of earth-observing satellites, and re-negotiated international Diplomatic Agreements between the U.S. Government and the Government of the Russian Federation that govern cooperation in space exploration and the peaceful uses of outer space. Dr. Adams has served as commissioned officer in the U.S. Naval Submarine Service and was a Senior Engineer in the Nuclear Safety Department of Westinghouse Electric Company.

Dr. Adams received his M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees from Penn State University where he studied nuclear reactor thermal-hydraulics and hyperfine interactions, and his A.B. Degree from Holy Cross College. Following graduate school, Dr. Adams was a Research Fellow at the University of Michigan. Dr. Adams has served as the Chairman of ISO Technical Committee 85, Subcommittee 6 on Nuclear Energy, as well as Chairman of ASTM International Subcommittee on Nuclear Metrology. Dr. Adams is an active mentor with Future Link, an organization that provides guidance and career advice to students and young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds.


As a member of the APS Council of Representatives, I seek to represent the needs of the industrial and applied physics community within the governance of APS in all matters brought before APS leadership, including matters of science and science policy, and elements of Society membership and engagement. As the community of industrial and applied physicists constitutes the largest sector of physicists employed in the United States, as well as the largest component of the APS membership, I view this critical responsibility as especially important.

I believe that advances in applied and industrial physics have engendered important discoveries in virtually every area of science, enabled directly the evolution of new technologies, and led to the development of new and improved consumer products and services. With their profound understanding of the subtle and often counter-intuitive aspects of basic physics, coupled to their pragmatic and deep-rooted desire to create, industrial and applied physicists possess the unique combination of knowledge and skill required to move discovery from theory to practice. It is within this realm—the nexus from basic research to mature technology and finished products—that applied and industrial physicists reign.

I have worked at the intersection of physics, engineering and applied sciences for the entirety of my professional career, and have developed a deep understanding of the talents, skills, and insight that professionals who possess an educational and professional background in physics can bring to projects within an industrial setting. In this same regard, I appreciate fully the personal and professional satisfaction that industrial and applied physicists experience at the realization that their efforts have advanced our society in essential and important ways. As an APS Counselor I will bring to bear my extensive experience as an engineer and applied physicist, in concert with my wide-ranging knowledge of science and technology to advance the state of industrial and applied physics. Presently, I am a member of FIAP, serving as the FIAP representative to the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) and a member of the FIAP Executive Committee. In addition, I was a member of the APS working group that created the recently released APS Strategic Plan.