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College Alumni Molina and Zewail named to PCAST

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President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

April 2009

President Barack Obama announced the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) on April 27th during remarks at the National Academy of Sciences. Two of the twenty members, Mario Molina and Ahmed Zewail, are College of Chemistry alumni and Nobel Laureates.

Molina earned his Chemistry Ph.D. with George Pimentel in 1972. He is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego and the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, as well as Director of the Mario Molina Center for Energy and Environment in Mexico City. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 for his role in elucidating the threat to the Earth's ozone layer of chlorofluorocarbon gases. The only Mexican-born Nobel laureate in science, he served on PCAST for both Clinton terms. He is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.

Zewail was a postdoc in the research group of Charles Harris in 1974. He is Professor of Chemistry and Physics at Caltech and Director of the Physical Biology Center. Dr. Zewail was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1999 for his pioneering work that allowed observation of exceedingly rapid molecular transformations. He is an Egyptian-American, widely respected not only for his science but also for his efforts in the Middle East as a voice of reason. Dr. Zewail is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and postage stamps have been issued to honor his contributions to science and humanity.

PCAST is an advisory 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 our economy and forming policy that works for the American people. PCAST is part of the Executive Office of the President and is administered by the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

"This council represents leaders from many scientific disciplines who will bring a diversity of experience and views," President Barack Obama said. "I will charge PCAST with advising me about national strategies to nurture and sustain a culture of scientific innovation."

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