seal  Purdue News

February 11, 2004

White House expected to name Purdue prof. as acting NSF director

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The White House today (Wednesday, 2/11) announced that President Bush is expected to name a Purdue professor as acting director of the National Science Foundation following the retirement of NSF director Rita Colwell.

The Purdue professor, Arden L. Bement Jr., currently is on leave from Purdue's School of Nuclear Engineering to serve as director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He became NIST director in November 2001.

The White House said in a statement today that Bush "intends to designate" Bement as acting NSF director. NSF announced today that Colwell – a Purdue alumna – will assume the position of chairman of Canon U.S. Life Sciences Inc. upon her retirement, effective Feb. 21. Canon U.S. Life Sciences is a newly created, Washington-based subsidiary of Canon USA Inc.

Bement is the David A. Ross Distinguished Professor of Nuclear Engineering and former head of the School of Nuclear Engineering. He also has held Purdue appointments in the School of Materials Engineering and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He joined the Purdue faculty in 1992 after a 39-year career in industry, government and academia. These positions included: vice president of science and technology for TRW Inc. (1980-1992); deputy undersecretary of defense for research and engineering (1979-1980); director, Office of Materials Science, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (1976-1979); professor of nuclear materials, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1970-1976); manager, Fuels and Materials Department and the Metallurgy Research Department, Battelle Northwest Laboratories (1965-1970); and senior research associate, General Electric Co. (1954-1965).

Bement holds an engineer of metallurgy degree from the Colorado School of Mines, a master's degree in metallurgical material engineering from the University of Idaho, a doctoral degree in metallurgical material engineering from the University of Michigan, and an honorary doctoral degree in engineering from Cleveland State University. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

Colwell, a microbiologist and internationally recognized expert on cholera and other infectious diseases, holds a bachelor's degree in bacteriology and a master's degree in genetics from Purdue, and a doctorate in oceanography from the University of Washington.

She also will serve as Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, and on the faculty of The John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she will help develop a new international center for the study of infectious diseases, water and health in conjunction with scientific colleagues from Sweden, Norway, Japan and Bangladesh.

Writer: Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: A publication-quality photograph of Arden Bement is available at

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