On Life Support: Future of Science Focus of Lecture at UH

Tenneco Distinguished Lecture Series Presents Former Presidential Adviser Neal Lane

Former presidential adviser for science and technology policy, Neal Lane, is coming to the University of Houston to address the uncertain future of science in the United States.

As part of the annual UH Tenneco Distinguished Lecture Series, Lane, who also is the former director of the National Science Foundation, will speak in the main auditorium of the UH Science and Engineering Research and Classroom Complex at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 28. The lecture is free and open to the public.

In his talk, “U.S. Science – Glorious Past, Uncertain Future,” Lane will address three issues that will directly affect science: money, people and public understanding. He also will touch on three areas that he believes U.S. science and technology policy is in disarray: health and medical research; energy and environment; and space science and exploration. The lecture will conclude with thoughts about what might be done to address these concerns.

“The United States has enjoyed six decades of extraordinary scientific advancement made possible, in part, by enlightened policies to support basic research and encourage the use of new scientific knowledge and technologies to benefit the American people,” Lane said. “But America – indeed the world – is in a very different state than it was at the end of World War II. The future of U.S. science is uncertain, and many of its vital signs are not good.”

Widely regarded as a distinguished scientist and educator, Lane has written and presented extensively on topics that include theoretical, atomic and molecular physics and science and technology policy. He is the Malcolm Gillis University Professor at Rice University. He also holds appointments as a senior fellow of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, where he is engaged in science and technology policy, and in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Lane served in the federal government from 1998 to 2001 as assistant to the president for science and technology and as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. From 1993 to 1998, he was director of the National Science Foundation and an ex officio member of the National Science Board. Lane received his doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees, all in physics, from the University of Oklahoma.

Inaugurated in 1986 and administered by the UH Center for Public History, the Tenneco Distinguished Lecture Series is made possible by grants from Tenneco Inc. and the National Endowment for the Humanities. This year, the UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and physics department are co-sponsoring the event.

WHO: Former Director of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Neal Lane

WHAT: Tenneco Distinguished Lecture  “U.S. Science – Glorious Past, Uncertain Future” 

WHEN: 5 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 28

WHERE: University of Houston Science and Engineering Research and Classroom Complex, main auditorium Entrance 14 off Cullen Boulevard/Reserved parking across street in Lot 15 D (ungated).