The United States Senate has confirmed University of British Columbia professor and Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman for the position of Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
Wieman joined UBC’s Faculty of Science in 2007 as Professor of Physics and Director of the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI) to transform science teaching and learning at UBC and beyond. He is taking an unpaid leave of absence from the university and Sarah Gilbert, CWSEI Associate Director is serving as Acting Director during his tenure with the Obama administration.
Wieman came to UBC from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics for creating a new form of matter called Bose-Einstein condensate and where he maintained a part-time appointment to head up the Science Education Initiative he established there.
“The CWSEI has made an indelible impact on thousands of UBC students and we have no doubt Carl will affect wider change in science education in American schools through his new role,” said UBC President Prof. Stephen Toope. “We wish him the best in Washington and look forward to him rejoining us.”
For the past three years, more than 18,000 UBC students have been affected by the CWSEI through the transformation of courses. More than 40 courses in seven science departments are undergoing or have finished transformation. The work has attracted international attention and support, including a $2-million gift from Google’s founding investor and UBC alumnus David Cheriton earlier this year.
For more information, visit www.cwsei.ubc.ca. A news release of Wieman’s nomination by President Barack Obama is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/president-obama-announces-more-key-administration-posts-32210. The OSTP blog post of Wieman’s appointment is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/09/24/ostp-full-first.