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President Obama’s list of 20 members for the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) included William Press, a former senior manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory,
Press, who maintains a residence in Los Alamos, is currently Professor of Computer Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.
From 1998 to 2004 he was Deputy Laboratory Director for Science and Technology at LANL, where he had direct responsibility for the laboratory’s technical programs.
"Bill Press is an outstanding scientist and educator and,here at Los Alamos, laid out a vision for science at a large national laboratory,” said Terry Wallace, LANL's Principal Associate Director for Science, Technology and Engineering in a prepared statement regarding the PCAST announcement Monday. "Bill also understands the challenges that face the nation, and how innovation will drive solutions to those challenges. It is great that Bill will serve on PCAST."
PCAST is a formal advisory group made up of leading scientists and engineers who will counsel the White House and help formulate policy in the area of science and technology.
The list was announced in conjunction with the President’s remarks to the National Academy of Sciences.
PCAST will be co-chaired by John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Police; Eric Lander, Director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project; and Harold Varmus, President and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, former head of the National Institutes of Health and a Nobel Laureate.
In his research career, Press has distinguished himself in a remarkable variety of areas, including computational biology, theoretical astrophysics, cosmology and computational algorithms. He is senior author of the "Numerical Recipes" textbooks on scientific computing with more than 400,000 hardcover copies in print.
His undergraduate degree was from Harvard in 1969. He received his PhD from Caltech in 1972 and was an Assistant Professor of Physics at Princeton University.
When he returned to Harvard in 1976, he was the university’s youngest tenured professor. For more than 20 years he was Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Harvard University. During that time he was department chair, among many other duties.