John H. Marburger, III

John H. Marburger, III

Office of Science and Technology Policy
Executive Office of the President

Science Adviser to the President and Director

John H. Marburger, III, Science Adviser to the President and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, was born on Staten Island, N.Y., grew up in Maryland near Washington D.C. and attended Princeton University (B.A., Physics 1962) and Stanford University (Ph.D. Applied Physics 1967). Before his appointment in the Executive Office of the President, he served as Director of Brookhaven National Laboratory from 1998, and as the third President of the State University of New York at Stony Brook (1980-1994). He came to Long Island in 1980 from the University of Southern California where he had been a Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering, serving as Physics Department Chairman and Dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences in the 1970’s. In the fall of 1994 he returned to the faculty at Stony Brook, teaching and doing research in optical science as a University Professor. Three years later he became President of Brookhaven Science Associates, a partnership between the university and Battelle Memorial Institute that competed for and won the contract to operate Brookhaven National Laboratory.

While at the University of Southern California, Marburger contributed to the rapidly growing field of nonlinear optics, a subject created by the invention of the laser in 1960. He developed theory for various laser phenomena and was a co-founder of the University of Southern California’s Center for Laser Studies. His teaching activities included “Frontiers of Electronics,” a series of educational programs on CBS television.

Marburger’s presidency at Stony Brook coincided with the opening and growth of University Hospital and the development of the biological sciences as a major strength of the university. During the 1980’s federally sponsored scientific research at Stony Brook grew to exceed that of any other public university in the northeastern United States.

During his presidency, Marburger served on numerous boards and committees, including chairmanship of the governor’s commission on the Shoreham Nuclear Power facility, and chairmanship of the 80 campus “Universities Research Association” which operates Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago. He served as a trustee of Princeton University and many other organizations. He also chaired the highly successful 1991/92 Long Island United Way campaign.

As a public spirited scientist-administrator, Marburger has served local, state and federal governments in a variety of capacities. He is credited with bringing an open, reasoned approach to contentious issues where science intersects with the needs and concerns of society. His strong leadership of Brookhaven National Laboratory following a series of environmental and management crises is widely acknowledged to have won back the confidence and support of the community while preserving the Laboratory's record of outstanding science.


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