WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2021 – Today, President Biden announced 30 of America’s most distinguished leaders in science and technology as members of his President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). A direct descendant of the scientific advisory committee established by President Eisenhower in 1957 in the weeks after the launch of Sputnik, PCAST is the sole body of external advisors charged with making science, technology, and innovation policy recommendations to the President and the White House.
Drawing from the nation’s most talented and accomplished individuals, President Biden’s PCAST includes 20 elected members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, five MacArthur “Genius” Fellows, two former Cabinet secretaries, and two Nobel laureates. Its members include experts in astrophysics and agriculture, biochemistry and computer engineering, ecology and entrepreneurship, immunology and nanotechnology, neuroscience and national security, social science and cybersecurity, and more.
The members represent the most diverse PCAST in U.S. history. PCAST is traditionally co-chaired by the President’s Science Advisor and 1-2 external co-chairs; since its inception in 1957, no women have ever served as co-chairs. President Biden’s PCAST has two women co-chairs. And, this PCAST reflects the President’s commitment to build an Administration that truly looks like America: for the first time ever, women make up half of PCAST, and people of color and immigrants make up more than one-third of PCAST. Its diversity will help the council bring to bear a wide range of perspectives to address the nation’s most pressing opportunities and challenges, so that science, technology, and engineering benefits all Americans.
“The future of America depends on science and technology like never before,” said PCAST Co-Chair and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Dr. Eric Lander. “President Biden understands that addressing the opportunities and challenges we face – to our health, our planet, our economic prosperity, and our national security – will require harnessing the full power of science and technology. Scientific progress depends on people seeing things in new ways, because they bring different lenses, different experiences, different passions, different questions. This PCAST is uniquely prepared because of its extraordinary scientific breadth, wide range of work experiences, and unprecedented diversity.”
“We are thrilled that some of our most accomplished Americans are willing to step up and serve the nation by being members of PCAST,” said PCAST Co-Chair Dr. Frances Arnold. “Their vast expertise will help the nation build back better through science and technology.”
“Science and technology permeate so many elements of government decision making,” said PCAST Co-Chair Dr. Maria Zuber. “I am excited to bring this historic and brilliant group’s knowledge, experience, and innovative thinking to bear on the nation’s toughest challenges in science and technology and navigate an equitable and inclusive path forward for the nation.”
As directed in the President’s executive order establishing PCAST, the council includes advisors from outside the federal government who are responsible for advising the President “on matters involving policy affecting science, technology, and innovation, as well as on matters involving scientific and technological information that is needed to inform public policy relating to the economy, worker empowerment, education, energy, the environment, public health, national and homeland security, racial equity, and other topics.”
Recognizable names within the HPC community include: William “Bill” Dally (Nvidia), Saul Perlmutter (Berkeley Lab) and Lisa Su (AMD).
William Dally, Ph.D., is a computer scientist who invented hardware architectures that power parallel computing, modern supercomputers, and artificial intelligence as we know it today; he holds 120 patents and has authored more than 250 papers and 4 textbooks in these fields. The former chair of Stanford University’s computer science department and a frequent consultant to many government defense and intelligence agencies on high-performance computing and artificial intelligence, he is the Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President for Research at NVIDIA, a leading computer chip and technology company.
Saul Perlmutter, Ph.D., is an astrophysicist and cosmologist who received the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering that the expansion of our universe is accelerating. He leads one of NASA’s science teams for the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, and also develops and teaches courses on scientific-style critical thinking for scientists and nonscientists alike. Further honors for his groundbreaking research include the Shaw Prize in Astronomy, the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, and the Albert Einstein Medal. He is the Franklin W. and Karen Weber Dabby Professor of Physics and Director of the Berkeley Institute for Data Science at University of California, Berkeley and Senior Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Lisa T. Su, Ph.D., is an electrical engineer who is an expert in semiconductor devices and high-performance processors. She pioneered new ways to connect computer chips using copper instead of aluminum, resulting in 20% faster chip speeds. An American immigrant from Taiwan, she is President and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), a leading semiconductor and microprocessor company. She is a recipient of the IEEE Robert N. Noyce Medal (the first woman to receive the award), and has been named Fortune Magazine’s #2 “Business Person of the Year” for 2020 and one of Barron’s “World’s Best CEOs” of 2019.
Read more about the rest of the PCAST members here.
Additional information about PCAST and the PCAST members can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/PCAST.
Source: the White House