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John P. Holdren is a research professor in Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and codirector of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program in the School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He retired in June from Harvard roles as the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at the Kennedy School, professor of environmental science and policy in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and affiliated professor in the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science.
In 2009–17 Dr. Holdren was President Obama’s science advisor and the Senate-confirmed director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). His responsibilities included advising the president on all science and technology (S&T) issues bearing on the national agenda, including energy and climate change, the oceans and the Arctic, and the space program. He also had major responsibilities around national R&D budgets, interagency S&T programs; developing initiatives in STEM education; advancing scientific integrity and openness in government; and representing the US government in interactions with the science and engineering community.
Before joining the Harvard faculty in 1996, he was a physicist in the Magnetic Fusion Energy Division at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; senior research fellow at Caltech in the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Caltech Environmental Quality Laboratory; and cofounder and coleader, for 23 years, of the interdisciplinary, graduate-degree-granting Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley. In an advisory capacity, he has served on the board of the MacArthur Foundation (1991–2005), the NAS Committee on International Security and Arms Control (chair, 1994–2005), and President Clinton’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST; 1994–2001).
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, American Philosophical Society, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Academy of Political and Social Science, and Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a foreign member of both the Royal Society of London and the Indian National Academy of Engineering and a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His honors include a MacArthur Prize Fellowship (1981), the Volvo International Environment Prize (1993), Tyler Prize for Environment (2000), Heinz Prize for Public Policy (2001), AAPSS Moynihan Prize (2018), and Order of the Rising Sun from the government of Japan (2019). In 1995 he gave the acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.
Dr. Holdren earned SB (1965) and SM (1966) degrees from MIT in aeronautics and astronautics and a PhD (1970) from Stanford in theoretical plasma physics