SPRC and OSA/SPIE Seminar: Jim Turner, Acting Director, NIST - May 29

Thomas T. Lee leet at stanford.edu
Tue May 27 10:41:12 PDT 2008

Optical Society of America/SPIE Stanford Student Chapter and Stanford 
Photonics Research Center Present

Dr. James M. Turner, Ph.D.
Deputy Director and Acting Director, National Institute of Standards and 

Measuring Up to the Global Competition: How NIST Advances Innovation and 
Industrial Competitiveness

Thursday, May 29, 2008
4:15 pm, Hewlett 201
Refreshments at 4:00pm


Study after study asserts the importance of innovation to the economic 
futures of industries and nations.  Across the spectrum from R&D 
laboratory to marketplace, global competition to be first and best in 
developing and commercializing new technologies is intensifying.  The 
job of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a 
science and technology agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce, is to 
work with companies, universities, and other organizations to develop 
and deliver  the advanced measurement capabilities that are among the 
essential ingredients of a 21st century innovation economy.  In this 
talk, I will describe the vital – but often overlooked – role that 
measurements and standards play in fostering technological progress 
under fast-changing circumstances of global competition and as new 
national needs arise.  Examples will be drawn from NIST’s work in 
nanotechnology and biotechnology.

About our Speaker

Dr. James M. Turner is the Deputy Director of the U.S. Department of 
Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He is 
also carrying out the responsibilities of the Director. (The NIST 
Director position is vacant.) Turner provides high-level oversight and 
direction for NIST. The agency promotes U.S. innovation and industrial 
competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and 
technology. NIST's FY 2008 resources total $931.5 million and the agency 
employs about 2,800 scientists, engineers, technicians, support staff 
and administrative personnel at two main locations in Gaithersburg, MD 
and Boulder, CO. Along with the Department of Energy Office of Science, 
and the National Science Foundation, NIST is slated for substantial 
budget increases for its core research programs under the President's 
American Competitiveness Initiative.

Prior to joining NIST on April 16, 2007, Turner served as the Assistant 
Deputy Administrator for Nuclear Risk Reduction in the Department of 
Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration. In that position, he 
was responsible for major projects in Russia to permanently shutdown 
their last three weapons-grade plutonium-production reactors. He also 
worked with foreign governments and international agencies to reduce the 
consequences of nuclear accidents by strengthening their capability to 
respond to nuclear emergencies.

Prior to that assignment, Turner held several senior management posts at 
DOE concerned with laboratory oversight and with nuclear safety and the 
safeguarding of nuclear weapons both here and abroad.

He holds degrees in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology (Ph.D.) and Johns Hopkins University (B.A.), and taught for 
five years as an Associate Professor of Physics and Engineering at 
Morehouse College.

Among other honors, he has received the U.S. Government Presidential 
Rank Award for Meritorious Service, three times received the U.S. 
Department of Energy Exceptional Service Award, and earned the Secretary 
of Energy Gold Award and the National Nuclear Security Administration's 
Gold Medal. Dr. Turner is an active member of the American Physical 
Society, the American Chemical Society, the American Nuclear Society, 
the American Association for the Advancement of Science, ASTM, the 
Council on Foreign Relations, IEEE, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and the 
World Affairs Council.

Dr. Turner is a native of Washington, DC, is married, and has five 
children and one grandchild. He enjoys doing yoga and Tai Chi. He and 
his wife, Paulette, reside in Olney, Maryland.

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