He is an internationally recognized scientist and an expert in energy and environmental issues who has a deep interest and concern about the support of science and the impacts of technology on society. Following his formal training in physics, he spent the next 15 years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. At Oak Ridge, Gibbons studied the structure of atomic nuclei, with emphasis on the role of neutron capture in the nucleosynthesis of heavy elements in stars. In the late 60's, at the urging of Alvin M. Weinberg, he pioneered studies on how to use technology to conserve energy and minimize the environmental impacts of energy production and consumption. In 1973, at the start of the nation's first major energy crisis, Gibbons was appointed the first director of the Federal Office of Energy Conservation. Two years later he returned to Tennessee to direct the University of Tennessee Energy, Environment and Resources Center. In 1979, he returned to Washington to direct the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment which provides Congress with nonpartisan, comprehensive analyses on a broad spectrum of issues involving technology and public policy where his tenure lasted over 2 six-year terms prior to his Presidential appointment on February 2, 1993.
Dr. Gibbons is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was recently elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Other honors include the Federation of American Scientists Public Service Award; the AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Prize for sustained exceptional contributions to advancing science; the Leo Szilard Award for Physics in the Public Interest from the American Physical Society; and medals from the German and French governments for fostering scientific cooperation.
Dr. Gibbons was born in Harrisonburg, VA, in 1929. He received a bachelor's degree in mathematics and chemistry from Randolph-Macon College in 1949 and a doctorate in physics from Duke University in 1954. His publications are numerous in the areas of energy and environmental policy, energy supply and demand, conservation, technology and policy, resource management and environmental problems, nuclear physics, and origins of solar system elements.
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