President Clinton has announced his intention to nominate Professor Ernest J. Moniz, head of the Department of Physics since 1991, as associate director for science at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
Professor Moniz, who is already on the job in Washington as he awaits Senate confirmation, plans to take a leave from MIT.
Institute Professor Jerome I. Friedman will serve as interim department head for the 1995-96 academic year, Dean of Science Robert J. Birgeneau said.
Dean Birgeneau said Professor Moniz is exceptionally well qualified for this position. "I am certain that Ernie will serve the country extremely well," he said, adding that Professor Moniz is an outstanding scientist "with remarkable political acuity and excellent administrative skills."
Professor Moniz, a theoretical nuclear physicist, is working with Dr. Jack Gibbons, the OSTP director, providing scientific and technological advice and assistance to the President. The OSTP also makes recommendations on improving the federal effort in scientific research and information handling.
Before being named to head the Department of Physics in 1991, Professor Moniz had been director of the Bates Linear Accelerator Center since 1983. He gained wide recognition for his frontier work on the interaction of pions with nuclei. Pions are short-lived particles primarily responsible for the nuclear force. Professor Moniz has been instrumental in developing what is widely considered to be the fundamental description of pion-nuclei interactions.
Professor Moniz is also currently serving as the chair of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committees of the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. He also chairs the External Advisory Committee for Physics for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Professor Moniz received the BS degree in physics from Boston College (1966) and the PhD in theoretical physics from Stanford University (1971). He joined the MIT faculty in 1973.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on August 16, 1995.