Professor Daniel Hastings has been named co-director of the Technology and Policy Program (TPP), effective February 1.
Professor Hastings returned to MIT after serving as chief scientist of the US Air Force for the past two years. In that role, he was chief scientific advisor to the Air Force chief of staff and the secretary and provided assessments on a wide range of scientific and technical issues. He led several influential studies on where the Air Force should invest in space, global energy projection, and options for a science and technology work force for the 21st century.
"We are delighted that Professor Hastings will be assuming this new position," said Daniel Roos, associate dean for engineering systems and director of the Engineering Systems Division. "We are all indebted to Professor Richard de Neufville, who has served as the TPP director for the past 24 years. Almost single-handedly, Richard has built TPP, in both scale and quality, to be the premier program of its kind in the country."
Professor Hastings received his undergraduate degree from Oxford and the PhD in 1980 from MIT in aeronautics and astronautics. From 1980-85 he worked for Physical Sciences, Inc., and Oak Ridge National Laboratory on laser-material interactions and fusion plasma physics.
In 1985, he joined MIT's aeronautics and astronautics faculty as an assistant professor and was promoted to full professor in 1993. He has led several national studies on government investment in space technology and is widely recognized for his work on tethers, plasma contactors and high-voltage arcing on solar arrays. His recent research has concentrated on issues of space systems architecture and space policy.
Professor Hastings is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics and the NASA Space Science Advisory Committee, among other professional organizations. He has twice been awarded the Air Force distinguished civilian medal.
The Technology and Policy Program now has about 140 graduate students on campus, of which about 20 are in the interdisciplinary doctoral program in Technology, Management and Policy. Students work closely with MIT projects such as the Lean Air Initiative, the Global Climate Change Project, the International Motor Vehicle Program, the Alliance for Global Sustainability and the Research Program in Communications.
Since its beginning in 1976, TPP and its associated faculty have twice been recognized for Most Significant Contribution to MIT Education.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 2, 2000.