AIP Seeks Applications for 2004-5 State Department Science Fellowship

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Publication date: 
26 September 2003

As reported in FYI #123, AIP's first Science Fellow in the State Department, George Atkinson, has been named as the Science and Technology Advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell. AIP is now seeking applicants for the fourth year of its State Department Fellowship, and qualified scientists at any stage of their career are encouraged to apply. Information on applying for the 2004-2005 Fellowship term by the November 1 deadline is provided below; interested readers can also see our web site at more information on the program.

The AIP State Department Science Fellowship enables scientists to spend a year working in a bureau or office of the U.S. Department of State. The Fellows not only learn about, but become actively involved in, the foreign policy process, while contributing their scientific and technical expertise and analytical capabilities to the Department.

Atkinson succeeds Norman Neureiter in the role of S&T Adviser. Neureiter served a three-year term as the first Science and Technology Adviser in the State Department, a position created in response to the 1999 National Research Council report entitled "The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State." The report, which declared that scientific and technological developments "cannot be isolated from the fundamental workings of foreign policy," was also the impetus for AIP's State Department Fellowship, modeled on its successful Congressional Science Fellowship. Both AIP programs are run under the auspices of the Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowships. While AAAS has for years placed Diplomacy Fellows at the State Department, to be supported by departmental funds, AIP was the first scientific society to sponsor Fellows at the State Department with its own funds. (Currently, the American Astronomical Society also contributes to AIP's State Department Science Fellowship.) Neureiter called AIP "a pacesetter" for initiating "the first paid...fellowship program of any professional society."

In an indication of the enthusiasm with which AIP's Fellowship program has been received at the State Department, in each year of the Fellowship so far, the Department has provided funding of its own to place another of AIP's fellowship finalists to serve as a second AIP State Department Science Fellow. The two new 2003-2004 Fellows, Carol Christian and Edward Whittaker, have just completed a two-week AAAS orientation and are preparing to begin their Fellowship terms at the department. Christian, a research astrophysicist who is head of the Space Telescope Science Institute's Office of Public Outreach, will work in the E-Diplomacy Office of the Bureau of Resource Management. Whittaker, a professor of physics and engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology, plans to serve his Fellowship in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. Christian is a member of AAS, while Whittaker is a member of both APS and OSA.

Approximately 30 science and engineering societies, including AIP and three of its Member Societies (the American Physical Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the Optical Society of America) sponsor Fellows to work in federal agencies or congressional offices as part of the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships program. This year, AAAS is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its Fellowship programs. (A September 18 Washington Post article on the Fellowships can be read without charge until October 2 at (For information on the AIP and Member Society Congressional Science Fellowships, please see


Applicants must be U.S. citizens, have a PhD in physics or a closely related field, be members of one or more of AIP's ten Member Societies, and be eligible to receive an appropriate security clearance prior to starting the Fellowship. (In exceptional cases the PhD requirement may be waived for outstanding applicants with equivalent research experience.) Qualified scientists at any stage of their career will be considered. Once selected, the Fellow works with the State Department to arrange an assignment. The following materials should be submitted by mail or email to be considered for the Fellowship selection:

COVER SHEET, indicating name, address, phone, email, U.S. citizenship, PhD status, AIP Member Society membership, and names of references.

LETTER OF INTENT, limited to two pages, indicating your reason for applying, scientific background, foreign policy interest or experience, and why you think you would be effective in this position.

RESUME, limited to two pages, with no more than 3 to 5 major publications listed.

THREE LETTERS OF REFERENCE should be submitted by those having direct knowledge of the applicant's character, competence, and attributes that would make the candidate suitable for this position.

ALL MATERIALS may be submitted by email or by mail (postmarked by November 1, 2003) to Audrey T. Leath at:

AIP State Department Science Fellowship
American Institute of Physics
One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 20740-3843

Email: aleath [at]
Fax: 301-209-0846

Please see our website at or contact Audrey Leath (aleath [at], 301-209-3094) if you have questions or need additional information.

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