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Lewis M. Branscomb

Director Emeritus of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program; Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Corporate Management

Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Email: Lewis_Branscomb@harvard.edu
Website: http://www.branscomb.org

 

Experience

Lewis M. Branscomb is Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management, emeritus, at Harvard University. He is emeritus director of Harvard's Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program in the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and a member of the Center’s Board of Directors. He also holds appointment as Research Associate at the Scripps Institution for Oceanography and the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Branscomb received his B.A. in physics, summa cum laude, from Duke University in 1945 and Ph.D. in physics from Harvard in 1949, when he was appointed Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. Branscomb pioneered the study of atomic and molecular negative ions and their role in the atmospheres of the earth and stars and was a co-founder of the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) at the University of Colorado. While there, he was Editor of the Reviews of Modern Physics. After serving as director of the U.S. National Bureau of Standards (now the Institute for Standards and Technology) from 1969–1972, he was named vice president and chief scientist of IBM Corporation and a member of the IBM Corporate Management Board. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the National Science Board and in 1980, he was elected chairman, serving until May 1984. Branscomb was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to the President's Science Advisory Committee (1964–1968) and by President Ronald Reagan to the National Productivity Advisory Committee.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Academy of Public Administration. He served twice as a director of the AAAS, member of the NAS Council and of the Governing Board of the National Research Council. He is a former president of the American Physical Society and a former president of Sigma Xi. He is a recipient of the Vannevar Bush Award of the National Science Board, the Arthur Bueche Award of the National Academy of Engineering, the Gold Medal of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Okawa Prize in Communications and Informatics. He received the Centennial Medal of the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 2002. He holds honorary doctoral degrees from sixteen universities and is an honorary associate of the Engineering Academy of Japan and an Associate member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Prof. Branscomb has written extensively on information technology, comparative science and technology policy, management of innovation and technology, and science for countering terrorism. .He was the co-chair, with Richard Klausner, of the Academies’ study entitled Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism, released on June 25, 2002, and published by National Academy Press on August 2, 2002. In addition to more than 450 published papers, his books are Taking Technical Risks: How Innovators, Executives, and Investors Manage High Tech Risk, (with Philip Auerswald, 2000); Industrializing Knowledge: University-Industry Linkages in Japan and the United States (edited with Fumio Kodama and Richard Florida, 1999); Investing in Innovation: A Research and Innovation Policy that Works (edited with James Keller, 1998); Korea at the Turning Point: Innovation-Based Strategies for Development (with H.Y. Choi, 1996); Japanese Innovation Strategy: Technical Support for Business Visions (with Fumio Kodama, 1993); Empowering Technology: Implementing a U.S. Policy (1993); Converging Infrastructures: Intelligent Transportation and the National Information Infrastructure (with James Keller, 1996); Informed Legislatures: Coping with Science in a Democracy (with Megan Jones and David Guston, 1996); Confessions of a Technophile (1994); and Beyond Spinoff: Military and Commercial Technologies in a Changing World, (with J. Alic, et.al., 1992).

 

 

By Date

 

2013

Wig Zamore STEP Photo

June 13, 2013

"Dangerous Cargo: Action Needed on Hazardous Materials"

Op-Ed, Power & Policy Blog

By Lewis M. Branscomb, Director Emeritus of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program; Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Corporate Management and Ryan Ellis, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Project on Technology, Security, and Conflict in the Cyber Age

"The threat of terrorism complicates matters even further. In April, two men in Canada were arrested for plotting an attack on rail lines near Toronto. In the US, homeland security officials have warned that shipments of hazardous materials are an attractive terrorist target."

 

2010

AP Photo

February 2010

"Rail Transportation of Toxic Inhalation Hazards: Policy Responses to the Safety and Security Externality"

Discussion Paper

By Lewis M. Branscomb, Director Emeritus of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program; Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Corporate Management, Mark Fagan, Philip Auerswald, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP), 2003–2014; Former Assistant Director, STPP, 2002–2003, Ryan Ellis, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Project on Technology, Security, and Conflict in the Cyber Age and Raphael Barcham

Toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) chemicals such as chlorine gas and anhydrous ammonia are among the most dangerous of hazardous materials. Rail transportation of TIH creates risk that is not adequately reflected in the costs, creating a TIH safety and security externality. This paper describes and evaluates policy alternatives that might effectively mitigate the dangers of TIH transportation by rail. After describing the nature of TIH risk and defining the TIH externality, general policy approaches to externalities from other arenas are examined. Potential risk reduction strategies and approaches for each segment of the supply chain are reviewed. The paper concludes by summarizing policy options and assessing some of the most promising means to reduce the risks of transportation of toxic inhalation hazards. Four policy approaches are recommended: internalizing external costs through creation of a fund for liability and claims, improving supply chain operations, enhancing emergency response and focusing regulatory authority. It is further suggested that the Department of Transportation convene a discussion among stakeholder representatives to evaluate policy alternatives.

 

2006

September 2006

Seeds of Disaster, Roots of Response: How Private Action Can Reduce Public Vulnerability

Book

By Lewis M. Branscomb, Director Emeritus of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program; Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Corporate Management, Philip Auerswald, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP), 2003–2014; Former Assistant Director, STPP, 2002–2003, Todd M. La Porte and Erwann O. Michel-Kerjan

Seeds of Disaster, Roots of Response ... describes effective and sustainable approaches — both business strategies and public policies — to ensure provision of critical services in the event of disaster.

 

 

September, 2006

Building Trust: Private-Public Collaboration on a National and International Scale

Book Chapter

By Lewis M. Branscomb, Director Emeritus of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program; Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Corporate Management

 

 

September, 2006

Leadership: Who Will Act?

Book Chapter

By Lewis M. Branscomb, Director Emeritus of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program; Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Corporate Management and Philip Auerswald, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP), 2003–2014; Former Assistant Director, STPP, 2002–2003

 

 

September, 2006

Where Private Efficiency Meets Public Vulnerability: The Critical Infrastructure Challenge

Book Chapter

By Lewis M. Branscomb, Director Emeritus of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program; Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Corporate Management and Philip Auerswald, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP), 2003–2014; Former Assistant Director, STPP, 2002–2003

 

 

September, 2006

A Nation Forewarned: Vulnerability of Critical Infrastructure in the Twenty-First Century

Book Chapter

By Lewis M. Branscomb, Director Emeritus of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program; Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Corporate Management

 

 

January 1, 2006

"Innovate or Perish"

Op-Ed, Los Angeles Times

By Lewis M. Branscomb, Director Emeritus of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program; Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Corporate Management

THE UNITED STATES is losing its competitive advantage and may soon lose its innovative edge....

 

2005

October 11, 2005

"Ensuring (and Insuring?) Critical Information Infrastructure Protection"

Working Paper

By Kenneth Neil Cukier, Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger, Faculty Affiliate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program and Lewis M. Branscomb, Director Emeritus of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program; Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Corporate Management

The participants...were largely optimistic that provided market forces could be brought to bear on the issue of critical information infrastructure protection, many of today’s challenges could be alleviated.

 

 

Fall 2005

The Challenge of Protecting Critical Infrastructure

Journal Article, Issues in Science and Technology, issue 1, volume XXII

By Lewis M. Branscomb, Director Emeritus of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program; Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Corporate Management and Philip Auerswald, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP), 2003–2014; Former Assistant Director, STPP, 2002–2003

 

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