Professor Daniel Hastings of the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology has been named chief scientist of the Air Force, the fifth
member of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics to hold that
Professor Hastings has served on the Air Force's Scientific
Advisory Board since 1994. He will receive a leave of absence from MIT
and assume his post at the Pentagon in September.
As chief scientist, Professor Hastings will be the science and
technology advisor to the Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Air
Force. Secretary of the Air Force Sheila E. Widnall, also a professor in
the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, was MIT's associate
provost when President Clinton appointed her in 1993. The chief of staff
is General Ronald Fogleman.
Professor Hastings noted that the Air Force, the most technically
intense branch of service, is "redefining itself" from an air and space
force into a space and air force. "I will help them understand the
nature of this transition," he said. He also must represent the Air
Force in relations with universities, industry and government research
organizations as well as national and international technical societies.
He will serve as chairman of the Chief Scientists Group and choose
the winner of the annual Air Force Basic Research award. In addition, he
is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board Steering Committee,
participating in its management and research.
In his service on the Advisory Board, Professor Hastings headed a
study on the future of space technology. He likes considering issues of
technology and policy. "I don't think they'd ask someone to be the chief
scientist if he did not enjoy that interface," Professor Hastings said.
Professor Hastings, 41, grew up in Widness, a small town outside
Liverpool, and studied mathematics as an undergraduate at Oxford
University. He received the SM in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT
in 1978 and the PhD in plasma physics in 1980. He worked as a research
scientist a the Physical Sciences Laboratory in Andover and at the Oak
Ridge National Laboratory before joining the MIT faculty as an assistant
professor in 1985. He developed a research program in spacecraft-
environmental interaction and was promoted to associate professor in
From 1990 to 1993, he was the first director of the Space Grant
Program at MIT. He was promoted to professor in 1993 and served as
associate department head for research from 1993-96. His current
research interests are in space power and propulsion and the systems
aspects of distributed satellite systems.
Professor Hastings has served on a number of committees and boards
for NASA, the Nuclear Research Council and the National Science
Foundation. He is an associate fellow of the American Institute of
Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Four other members of the MIT faculty have served as chief
scientist to the Air Force. They are Professors Eugene E. Covert and
Winston R. Markey, professor emeritus James W. Mar and former professor
H. Guyford Stever.