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Holdren to Head White House Science

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Science magazine’s Eli Kintisch announced on a blog this afternoon that Barack Obama has picked physicist John Holdren to become the next White House science adviser. Holdren is a recent past-president and board chairman of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes the journal and website for which Kintisch reports.

Director of the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, Holdren currently holds an additional appointment as the director of science, technology and public policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and teaches environmental science and public policy in Harvard’s department of Earth and planetary sciences.

Although trained in aerospace engineering and theoretical plasma physics (at MIT and Stanford), Holdren has over the years become involved in a number of social issues with strong scientific underpinnings, including: global environmental change, energy and resource options for industrial and developing countries, and nuclear arms control and nonproliferation.

Along the way, Holdren has garnered many awards, including the 2001 Heinz Award in Public Policy, 2000 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, 1999 Kaul Foundation Award in Science and Environmental Policy, 1993 Volvo Environment Prize and 1981 MacArthur Foundation fellowship. For a decade in the late ‘80s to ‘90s, Holdren chaired the executive committee of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. When Pugwash won the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize, Holdren gave its acceptance lecture.

And no stranger to presidential counsel, this busy man spent six years working for Bill Clinton on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, also known as PCAST.

According to the Science blog, Holdren “flew today to Chicago to meet with the transition team and prepare for the announcement; initial plans are to release the official news of the appointment on a weekly radio program that Obama records and will be broadcast on Saturday.”

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