Clinton Names New Science Adviser, NSF Director

PHILADELPHIA--President Clinton has named Neal Lane, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), to be his science adviser and head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Lane will replace Jack Gibbons, who is resigning on 15 March. Speaking today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes Science, Clinton also announced his intention to nominate Rita Colwell, president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, to succeed Lane as NSF director.

The twin appointments end nearly a year of speculation about the status of Gibbons, who has served as science adviser since the first days of the Clinton Administration. The 69-year-old nuclear physicist had spoken openly about his interest in retiring but had agreed to remain until his successor was installed. Both Lane and Colwell must be confirmed by the Senate, a process that could take months.

Formerly provost of Rice University, Lane has been NSF director since November 1993. He is seen as an able administrator who has kept NSF out of partisan politics while emphasizing the importance of basic research in all disciplines. Colwell, a microbiologist, was in line for the deputy director position at NSF (ScienceNOW, 8 January). But when the White House settled on Lane as Gibbons's successor, officials bumped her up to the top job. She would be the first woman, and the first life scientist, to head the agency, which was created in 1950.