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Science, Technology and Innovation Policy in the New Administration

Innovation, a hallmark of 21st-century private industry in the U.S. and around the world, relies on a skilled and diverse workforce as well as advances in science and technology. These advances are made possible by strong public and private investments in research and development. To ensure the future prosperity of all Americans, the new administration will be challenged to create science and technology-related policies and initiatives to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and training at all levels; support pathbreaking science and engineering research; and foster private sector innovation through partnerships with states, universities, national laboratories and private industry. At this event, theoretical physicist Sylvester James Gates Jr. and Microsoft Research executive Jeannette M. Wing explored ways in which the new administration can impact and improve U.S. science, technology and innovation.

This event was sponsored by the Baker Institute Science and Technology Policy Program and McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, in conjunction with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Rice University's George R. Brown School of Engineering and Wiess School of Natural Sciences. This event was also part of a Baker Institute research project offering science and technology policy guidance to the president and his science advisor, which is funded by a grant from the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.

Support for this program was generously provided by Benjamin and Winifer Cheng.

A reception followed the event.

Join the conversation online with #BakerCivicSci.






Featured Speakers

Sylvester James Gates Jr., Ph.D., is an American theoretical physicist known for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity and superstring theory. Gates is currently a University System Regents Professor and the John S. Toll Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he serves as the director of the String and Particle Theory Center. He served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology during the Obama administration. In 1984, Gates co-authored “Superspace,” the first comprehensive book on the topic of supersymmetry. In 2006, he completed a DVD series titled “Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality” for The Teaching Company composed of 24 half-hour lectures to make the complexities of unification theory comprehensible to non-physicists. He is a past president of the National Society of Black Physicists  and is an NSBP fellow. In 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, becoming the first African-American physicist so recognized in the organization’s 150-year history. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a recipient of the National Medal of Science, the highest award given to scientists in the U.S. In 2014, he was named the Harvard Foundation’s “Scientist of the Year.” He received two B.S. degrees and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Jeannette M. Wing, Ph.D., is the corporate vice president of Microsoft Research. She is a consulting professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, where she twice served as the head of the Computer Science Department. She is also an affiliate faculty member in computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. From 2007 to 2010, she was the assistant director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation. Wing’s general research interests are in the areas of trustworthy computing, specification and verification, concurrent and distributed systems, programming languages, and software engineering. Her current interests are in the foundations of security and privacy. She is currently chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences on Information, Computing and Communications, and she serves on the board of trustees for the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics. She was on the faculty at the University of Southern California, and she has worked at Bell Laboratories, the USC Information Sciences Institute and Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. She received the Computing Research Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2011 and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Distinguished Service Award in 2014. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She received her S.B., S.M. and Ph.D. in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



Wed, Feb. 8, 2017
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
(GMT-0500) US/Central


James A. Baker III Hall, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston, Texas 77005

Doré Commons