Public Invited to Talk by White House Science Adviser

UPDATED May 15, 2012 — John Holdren, director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, will visit the University of Virginia on Thursday. The public is invited to a talk he will give at 1:30 p.m. in Olsson Auditorium in Rice Hall. (Previous location was OpenGrounds Studio.)

John Simon, executive vice president and provost, will moderate.

Holdren also co-chairs the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. His visit will focus on national research and development and education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called "STEM" disciplines.

Prior to joining the Obama administration, Holdren was Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and Director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, as well as professor in Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and director of the independent, nonprofit Woods Hole Research Center.

Previously he was on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, where he co-founded in 1973 and co-led until 1996 the interdisciplinary graduate-degree program in energy and resources. Holdren served as a member of the president's science advisory council through both Clinton terms, and in that capacity chaired studies requested by President Clinton on preventing theft of nuclear materials, disposition of surplus weapon plutonium, the prospects of fusion energy, U.S. energy R&D strategy and international cooperation on energy-technology innovation.

He holds advanced degrees in aerospace engineering and theoretical plasma physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a foreign member of the Royal Society of London and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Holdren served as a member of the MacArthur Foundation's Board of Trustees from 1991 to 2005; as chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control from 1994 to 2005; and as co-chair of the independent, bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy from 2002 to 2009.

His awards include a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the John Heinz Prize in Public Policy, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement and the Volvo Environment Prize. In December 1995, he gave the acceptance lecture for the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, an international organization of scientists and public figures in which he held leadership positions from 1982 to 1997.