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Obama nominates head of DOE Office of Science

President Obama’s choice to head the Department of Energy’s Office of Science is Marc Kastner, who has been the Dean of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s School of Science since 2007.

In a statement on 14 November, the day of the White House announcement, MIT president Rafael Reif referred to Kastner as “a brilliant physicist and highly effective manager” who is “ideally suited” to manage DOE’s basic science portfolio and its network of national laboratories. “Through his leadership of MIT’s School of Science, he has an unrivaled grasp of the nation’s scientific enterprise and a record of attracting exceptional talent,” Reif added.

As the nation’s single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences, DOE’s Office of Science has a 2013 budget of $4.9 billion, and it is also responsible for 10 of the department’s 17 national laboratories. Kastner, whose nomination still has to be approved by the Senate, would succeed Patricia Dehmer. She has served as acting director since William Brinkman’s retirement in April.

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