Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Good news, bad news at NSF

Margaret Leinen is leaving NSF. That’s the bad news. Margaret’s been Assistant Director for Geosciences (“GEO”), which includes the Earth Sciences, Atmospheres, and Oceans divisions, for the past seven years. She’s viewed by community insiders as an effective advocate for the geosciences within NSF, and one of the most articulate spokespersons for science up on Capitol Hill. Margaret was also constantly working to build better synergy and cooperation among the geosciences. We’re losing a friend and ally and a visionary in the profession. Interestingly, according to Science, she’s going to work for Climos, a start-up company dealing with climate change, run by her son, who sold his online reservation business for $750 million.

The good news is that before she leaves, Margaret appointed Art Goldstein as head of the Earth Sciences Division ("EAR"). Art came to NSF a year ago from geo department head at Colgate University, to serve as a section chief in EAR. With the retirement of Herm Zimmerman shortly after he arrived, Art moved in the Acting Director slot.

With the formal appointment, I think we can look forward to a dynamic approach from Art in working to advance the nation’s earth sciences community.

I’ve known Art since we were both PhD students under Don Wise at UMass, Amherst a quarter century ago. I joke with him that after a couple decades in academia, the DC politics should be child’s play. Seriously, though, Art listens, is as fair-minded as you’d want, and not afraid to take on the toughest issues. He’s already a force in jumpstarting the earth sciences community in lots of areas. Exciting times lie ahead.

Thank you, Margaret and good luck, Art!

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