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Benbow, Bruer, Thompson Nominated for National Science Board
President Bush has nominated two psychologists and one philosopher of science/applied cognitive scientist to the National Science Board (NSB), the oversight body of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Camilla Persson Benbow, John Bruer, and Richard Thompson each will serve six year terms of office on the Board beginning this year. Benbow and Thompson are both APA fellows.
The National Science Board is composed of twenty-four members who are chosen based on distinctions in the areas of basic science, medicine, social science, engineering, agriculture, education, research management, or public affairs. Each member is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. In addition to overseeing the management of and scientific programs sponsored by NSF, the National Science Board serves as a resource to the federal executive and legislative branches. This is the first time in the NSB's 50+ years as one of the elite federal science advisory bodies that the behavioral sciences have had such strong, rich representation.
"These are extremely important and influential appointments," commented APA Science Director Steve Breckler, who served for nearly nine years as an NSF Program Director. "The National Science Board sets the policies and priorities for NSF, and the social and behavioral sciences will be very well-served by these three scholars."
The three scientists bring varied research interests to the Board. Benbow is an educational psychologist and is Dean of Education and Human Development at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. She has conducted research on mathematically precocious youth, working for many years as co-director or director of talent search studies. Prior to her arrival at Vanderbilt in 1998, she was on the faculty at Iowa State University and Johns Hopkins University. Bruer, a philosopher of science and applied cognitive scientist, has been President of the James S. McDonnell Foundation since 1986. At McDonnell, he has established a focus on applying cognitive science to educational practices. Bruer was on the staff of the Josiah Macy Foundation prior to joining McDonnell. Thompson, a professor of psychology and biology at the University of Southern California, studies mammalian memory and classical conditioning. He received the APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award in 1974. He has also served on the faculty at University of California - Irvine, Stanford University, and Oregon Health Sciences University.