APS News

April 2015 (Volume 24, Number 4)

Sole Physicist in Congress Prepares to Defend Science

Bill Foster photo

Bill Foster

The only physicist in the U.S. Congress is joining the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Representative Bill Foster (D-Ill.), who holds a Ph.D. in physics and formerly worked at Fermilab, announced on Wednesday that he was appointed to serve on the committee.

“As a scientist, I know firsthand how important it is for the United States to sustain our position as the leader in science and technology,” Foster said in a statement. “Serving on this committee will allow me to better advocate for sustained investments in research and development and support Illinois’s national laboratories.”

In Congress since his election in 2008, Foster previously had focused much of his attention on financial reform. In an interview with Science, he said that he wanted to counter some of the “attacks” on science he’s seen coming from the committee in recent months.

Foster’s announcement comes as the chair of the committee, Lamar Smith (R-Texas), pursues inquiries into about sixty grants issued by the National Science Foundation, a number of which he referred to as “questionable.” The chair’s actions sparked controversy and led to accusations of political attacks on research from the scientific community.

Before being elected to Congress, Foster was a high energy physicist at Fermilab for more than twenty years. He helped design particle accelerators and was a part of the team that discovered the top quark in 1995.

Related Information

Gray arrow NSF and Congress Seek Rapprochement - APS News, April 2014
Gray arrow Science Collides with Congress - APS News, December 2014

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Editor: David Voss
Staff Science Writer: Michael Lucibella
Art Director and Special Publications Manager: Kerry G. Johnson
Publication Designer and Production: Nancy Bennett-Karasik

April 2015 (Volume 24, Number 4)

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Articles in this Issue
New Director of ARPA-E on Transformative Technology
Breeding a Better Robot
Manufacturing Revolution May Mean Trouble for National Security
Planning Africa’s First Synchrotron
National Academies Studies Institutional Influences on Ethics
Programmable Materials
Physicists Look at Animal Behavior
What Makes a Physicist?
NSF and Congress Seek Rapprochement
Sole Physicist in Congress Prepares to Defend Science
APS March Meeting: Know When to Fold 'em
Members in the Media
This Month in Physics History
Education Corner
International News
Washington Dispatch
The Back Page