John H. Marburger will be nominated by President Bush to
become the new Director of the Office of Science and
Technology Policy. Marburger is currently the Director of
the Brookhaven National Laboratory and President of Brookhaven
Science Associates. The nomination has drawn praise,
including positive words from the previous OSTP Director, Neal

President Bush’s lack of a science adviser has been a growing
source of concern within the S&T community. There is
speculation that the Administration’s FY 2002 budget request
for R&D might have been higher had there been a science
advisor. There is also concern that policies with a large
science component, such as global warming, stem cell research,
and national missile defense are being formulated without the
input of a science advisor. Senior level S&T appointments
also await the guidance of this advisor.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy is based in an
office building that is part of the White House complex. The
staff is not large, and the degree of influence it has within
an administration depends greatly on how the president decides
to integrate OSTP into the decision-making process.

Marburger has a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford
University, and a B.A. in Physics from Princeton University.
Before coming to Brookhaven he was President of the State
University of New York at Stony Brook. Marburger also served
as the chairman of Universities Research Association, which
runs Fermi Lab, from 1988-1994.

Brookhaven National Laboratory was much in the news when
Marburger became its director in 1998. A tritium leak in its
High Flux Beam Reactor attracted considerable media attention,
resulting in a call to close the reactor by local groups, a
senator and a representative. At a late 1997 press
conference, as incoming director, Marburger remarked that the
laboratory failed to communicate adequately with the local
community. The Secretary of Energy closed HFBR in 1999.
Marburger has been praised for the way in which he
reestablished communication with the lab’s neighbors. His
“Personal Statement” on BNL’s web site reflects his approach:
“As society holds us to ever higher standards of
accountability for the impact of our work on health and
environment, we need to learn new ways of working. And we
need to learn new ways of describing our increasingly complex
mission to the public that is skeptical and concerned about
the undesirable side effects of technology.”

In a statement to BNL employees after the White House
announcement, Marburger said “I would be delighted to be
nominated for this position.” He does not expect the Senate
nomination hearing before September. In discussing the
announcement, Floyd Kvamme, the co-chair of the President’s
Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST), said
that Bush was “looking for somebody with broad experience and
an appreciation of practical science issues.” Marburger
describes himself as a lifelong Democrat. In an interview
with the New York Times, Marburger declared, “If there’s any
subject that should be bipartisan, it’s science.”


Richard M .Jones

Public Information Division

The American Institute of Physics

(301) 209-3095