The Biden administration has awarded Andrea Goldsmith, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University, and Stephen Pacala, Frederick D. Petrie Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton and Associate Faculty of the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI) at Princeton appointed the President of the President Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Other winners include alumni John Dabiri, who received his bachelor’s degree in engineering in 2001, and Terence Tao, who received his Ph.D. in math in 1996.
The council, made up of leading academics and engineers outside of government, has a broad mandate to advise the president on science, technology and innovation policy issues, as well as public policy issues related to the economy, worker empowerment and education, energy , The environment, public health, national and homeland security, racial justice and other issues.
The panel is chaired by geneticist and Princeton alumnus Eric Lander and jointly chaired by Nobel Prize winner and Princeton Engineering alumna Frances Arnold and astronomer Maria Zuber.
“As a nation and global community, we have an opportunity like never before to use science, technology and innovation for the benefit of humankind, including improved health and welfare, and the resilience and sustainability of our planet,” said Goldsmith, who also works at Princeton Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical and Computer Technology. “I am honored to be part of this panel with great colleagues who are all focused on realizing this potential.”
“Science and technology must play a pivotal role in solving most of the critical problems the country is facing, from climate change and the energy transition to pandemics and economic competitiveness,” said Pacala, director of the HMEI Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI ). , a major Princeton initiative founded to address the carbon and climate problem.
“Princeton is amazingly well connected to this PCAST,” said Pacala. “I’m honored to be named and I really want to roll up my sleeves.”
Announcing the Lander, Arnold and Zuber appointments in January, Biden said the members of the council, which is part of the cabinet-level science and technology policy office, “represent tremendous opportunities.”
“They are the ones who ask the most American question, ‘What’s next?'” Said Biden. âYou don’t ask questions for the sake of questions; They ask these questions as a call to action, as inspiration, to help us envision a future and how we can achieve it to improve the lives of the American people and people around the world. “
Goldsmith, who joined Princeton as the Dean of Engineering in September 2020, previously served on the faculties of Stanford University and the California Institute of Technology. A pioneer in wireless technology, she was the founder and chief technology officer of two companies, Plume WiFi and Quantenna Inc. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts of Sciences, and was the first woman to graduate from Marconi Prize, the highest honor in telecommunications research. She held managerial positions at the electrical engineering specialist IEEE, with a particular focus on increasing diversity and inclusion.
Pacala, who was director of HMEI (then Princeton Environmental Institute) from 2006 to 2014, focuses his research on developing and testing mathematical models that capture the processes that govern ecological communities and the interactions between the global biosphere and climate, including of all aspects. of the global carbon cycle. In 2000, Pacala co-founded CMI – Princeton’s longest-running industrial partnership – together with Robert Socolow, professor of mechanical engineering and aerospace technology, retired.
Pacala has chaired three expert committees in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on renewable energy, carbon emissions and reduction, and the transition to a net-zero carbon economy. He chaired the committee that published the National Academies’ February 2 report, which included a technical draft and policy manual for the first decade of a major transformation of the American economy to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
That Report cited in detail the groundbreaking Princeton study “,Net-Zero America: Potential Paths, Infrastructure, and ImpactâWhich provided a very detailed and achievable blueprint for achieving a carbon neutral economy by 2050. Initiated by Pacala and conducted by faculties and researchers associated with HMEI and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, the Net-Zero America project has been a focus of CMI for almost two years and is ongoing. The study has been viewed as a comprehensive guide to realizing President Biden’s commitment to eliminating the country’s net greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years in order to prevent the worst effects of climate change.
Dabiri is the Centennial Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering at Caltech, and Tao is Professor of Mathematics and The James and Carol Collins Chair at UCLA’s College of Letters and Sciences.
In January 2021, Biden also named Alondra Nelson, the Harold F. Linder Chair in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study and a visiting professor of sociology at Princeton, as his top science experts. It serves as a Assistant Director of Science and Society, White House Science and Technology Policy Bureau.
Nelson is President of the Social Science Research Council.
Contributors to this report are Steve Schultz, Office of Engineering Communications, Morgan Kelly, High Meadows Environmental Institute, and Denise Valenti, Office of Communications.