Former Stony Brook President John H. Marburger, III has agreed to serve as the University’s Interim Vice President for Research effective January 21, 2010. Marburger was Stony Brook’s third president (1980-1994), Director of Brookhaven National Laboratory (1998-2001), Science Advisor to President George W. Bush, and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (2001-2009). He takes over after Gail S. Habicht announced her decision to step down in October to pursue her interests in research, teaching, and travel.
“Jack Marburger is both a renowned scientist and administrator,” said President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., M.D. “His institutional knowledge of Stony Brook and Brookhaven National Lab, as well as his depth and breadth of knowledge and experience in technology transfer, federally sponsored scientific research, and his interest in education and students at all levels, enables him to transition easily as an interim leader for our research enterprise as we embark on the search for a permanent appointment.”
“I’m glad to help President Stanley as he leads Stony Brook into a new decade of challenges and opportunities,” said Marburger, “The University is well poised to grow in its value to New York State and the nation, especially through its missions of research and regional development that the Research Office supports. My job is to prepare the way for my successor to succeed.”
Marburger came to Long Island in 1980 from the University of Southern California where he had been a professor of physics and electrical engineering, serving consecutively as Physics Department Chair and Dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences in the 1970s. He also contributed as a theoretical physicist to the fields of nonlinear optics and quantum optics, which he continues to teach at Stony Brook. He was a co-founder of the University’s Center for Laser Studies, a consultant at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory on high-power laser phenomena, and a frequent public speaker on science, hosting a series of educational programs called “Frontiers of Electronics” on CBS television.
Marburger’s presidency at Stony Brook coincided with the opening and growth of University Hospital and the development of the biological sciences as a major strength of the University. During the 1980s federally sponsored scientific research at Stony Brook grew to exceed that of any other public university in the northeastern United States.
During his presidency Marburger served on numerous boards and committees, including chair of the governor’s commission on the Shoreham Nuclear Power facility and chair of the 80-campus Universities Research Association, which operates Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago and operated the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory during the lifetime of that project.
Marburger was the first president of Brookhaven Science Associates, a partnership of the State University Research Foundation and Battelle Memorial Institute that successfully bid to operate Brookhaven National Laboratory under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (1997). Under Marburger’s directorship, the Laboratory commissioned the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, achieved ISO14001 certification of the laboratory’s environmental management system, and significantly improved support for the lab by the surrounding community.
Marburger’s tenure as the President’s Science Advisor, the longest in history, began immediately following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and included major policy initiatives associated with the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, re-orientation of the nation’s space policy following the crash of the Columbia space shuttle in 2003, the U.S. re-entry in the international nuclear fusion program ITER, and the American Competitiveness Initiative that aimed to double federal funding for the physical sciences and engineering. He and senior OSTP officials led U.S. delegations to critical international negotiating meetings on Internet governance, telecommunications spectrum allocations, and climate change. Serving during a time of deep political and ideological divisions, especially regarding climate change and human embryonic stem cell research, Marburger brought high standards of fairness and objectivity to the science policy process and launched a movement to strengthen the “science of science policy” that achieved international recognition.