03/28/2011 23:00:00

President Obama's Science Advisor to Speak on "Science, Technology and Innovation Policy"

PASADENA, Calif.—Dr. John P. Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and co-chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), will be the speaker at the 2011 DuBridge Distinguished Lecture Series at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 8 p.m., April 19, in Beckman Auditorium, 332 S. Michigan Ave., on the Caltech campus in Pasadena.

The title of Dr. Holdren's talk is "Science, Technology and Innovation Policy in the Obama Administration." In a question-and-answer session after his speech, Dr. Holdren will be accompanied by Nobel Laureate Dr. Ahmed Zewail, Linus Pauling Professor of Chemistry and professor of physics at Caltech. Dr. Zewail is a member of PCAST and is the U.S. Science Envoy to the Middle East. Since the January 25 revolution in Egypt, he has played a critical role in aiding the transition to a democratic state and to development in his mother country.

Prior to joining the Obama administration, Dr. 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 a professor in Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and director of the independent, nonprofit Woods Hole Research Center.

In the early 1970s, Dr. Holdren was a member of the Caltech community as a senior research fellow in the Environmental Quality Laboratory. He later joined the faculty of UC Berkeley, where he co-led until 1996 the interdisciplinary graduate-degree program in energy and resources. Dr. Holdren holds advanced degrees in aerospace engineering and theoretical plasma physics from MIT and Stanford and 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. Dr. 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.

A former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Holdren's 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.

The Lee A. DuBridge Distinguished Lecture series brings prominent speakers of national and international importance to the Caltech campus. The series was inaugurated in 1996 in honor of Lee A. DuBridge, president of Caltech from 1946 to 1969. DuBridge, who died in 1994, was once called America's "senior statesman of science" by Time magazine, and was considered an exemplary research-university president in an era of vast scientific, societal, and educational change. He guided the growth of the modern Caltech while maintaining an understanding and interest in national affairs that was rare among university presidents. Previous DuBridge speakers include Charles "Charlie" Munger, Warren Buffett, Walter Cronkite, John Hume, Jack Valenti, and Judy Woodruff.

No tickets are necessary for the event; at least 700 seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. For more information on the lecture, call (626) 395-4652 or, outside the greater Pasadena area, call toll free, (888) 222-5832.

Written by Kathy Svitil