Chyba, two alumni named to Obama's science and technology council

President Barack Obama has named Christopher Chyba, professor of astrophysical sciences and international affairs at Princeton, to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

PCAST is a group of the nation's leading scientists and engineers who will advise the president and vice president and formulate policy in the many areas where understanding of science, technology and innovation is key to strengthening the economy and forming policy.

Obama, who made the announcement April 27 during remarks at the National Academy of Sciences, said, "This council represents leaders from many scientific disciplines who will bring a diversity of experience and views. I will charge PCAST with advising me about national strategies to nurture and sustain a culture of scientific innovation."

Chyba is a member of the Committee on International Security and Arms Control of the National Academy of Sciences. His scientific work focuses on solar system exploration and his security-related research emphasizes nuclear and biological weapons policy, proliferation and terrorism. He served on the White House staff from 1993 to 1995 at the National Security Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy and was awarded a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in 2001 for his work in both planetary science and international security. A Princeton faculty member since 2005, he is director of the Program on Science and Global Security in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

PCAST is co-chaired by Eric Lander, a 1978 Princeton alumnus who is director of the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University and one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project. The other co-chairs are John Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; and Harold Varmus, president and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, former head of the National Institutes of Health and a Nobel laureate.

Also named to the council was Eric Schmidt, a 1976 Princeton alumnus who is chairman and CEO of Google Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of Apple Inc.