Former AIP Fellow Named Secretary of State's S&T Adviser

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Publication date: 
26 September 2003

On September 23, George Atkinson, the 2001-2002 AIP State Department Science Fellow, became the new Science and Technology Adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell. As Atkinson begins his new role at the U.S. Department of State, AIP is gearing up to select its State Department Fellow for 2004-2005. Information on applying for the upcoming Fellowship by the November 1 deadline will be provided in the following FYI, or please see the web site at details on the program.

AIP initiated its State Department Science Fellowship program in 2001. Atkinson, a professor of chemistry and optical sciences at the University of Arizona, was the first scientist chosen for this new Fellowship. A recipient of a Senior Alexander von Humboldt Award and a Senior Fulbright Fellow Award, Atkinson is a member of APS and has performed research or served as a visiting professor in Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Israel. He also founded and served as President and CEO of Innovative Lasers Corporation. Atkinson spent his Fellowship term working for both the Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, where his efforts included assessing key S&T-related issues, trends, and opinions in Europe and other regions of the world, and identifying emerging S&T issues of importance to international relations and U.S. foreign policy. He also worked to initiate a new "Senior Science Fellowship" within the State Department to enable senior-level university faculty to serve as Fellows and provide expertise and consultation to the department.

As the first AIP State Department Fellow, Atkinson helped raise the visibility of the program within the department and pave the way for later Fellows. "The AIP as an organization deserves great credit," he noted, "for having the vision and confidence to assume a pioneering role in addressing the complex issues associated with the impact of science and technology on the foreign policy of the United States government."

Other current and former AIP State Department Science Fellows have worked in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, and the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Their portfolios have included topics as varied as emerging S&T issues, European and Russian science policy, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, critical infrastructure protection, biotechnology and the safety of agricultural products. Two new AIP Fellows are preparing to start their terms this month. AIP encourages its Fellows to seek beyond the traditional roles for scientists in the department when interviewing for an assignment, to broaden the reach and visibility of scientific expertise within the Department. Since 2001, several other scientific and engineering societies have followed AIP's lead and established their own fellowships in the State Department.

Information on applying for the 2004-2005 AIP State Department Fellowship by the November 1 deadline will be provided in FYI #124, or see for details.

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