Two CU-Boulder Professors Named Jefferson Science Fellows

August 31, 2007

University of Colorado at Boulder professors Ross Corotis and Jerry Peterson have been named Jefferson Science Fellows and will spend the 2007-08 calendar year working full time at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.

They are the first CU-Boulder faculty members to participate in the program, which was established in 2003 to engage the academic science, technology and engineering community in the shaping of U.S. foreign policy.

The program is administered by the National Academies and supported through a partnership among universities, the Carnegie Corporation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

"I am extremely pleased that two of our distinguished faculty members have been awarded these prestigious fellowships," said Provost Phil DiStefano. "Professors Corotis and Peterson have a wealth of knowledge and experience in engineering and the sciences that will be extremely beneficial to the State Department in formulating and implementing U.S. foreign policy."

Corotis is the Denver Business Challenge Professor of Engineering and a recognized expert in structural mechanics in the department of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering. His primary research interests are in the application of probabilistic concepts to civil engineering problems, and recently he has focused on societal hazard risk perception, assessment and management. He joined the CU-Boulder faculty in 1994 as dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, and he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2002.

Peterson is a professor in the physics department and specializes in the area of nuclear physics. He is a member of the American Physical Society's Committee on Homeland Security, Division of Nuclear Physics, and of the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center Division Review Committee. He was an administrator in the CU-Boulder Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research for six years, including posts as assistant vice chancellor, associate vice chancellor and interim vice chancellor. He joined the faculty at CU-Boulder in 1970 after teaching at Princeton and Yale universities.

Corotis and Peterson are among eight faculty chosen for the program this year. They were selected based on their stature within the national and international scientific and engineering communities, as well as their ability to articulate science and technology issues to the general public, to understand scientific advancements outside their discipline area, and to effectively integrate this knowledge into policy discussions.

They reported to the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State on Aug. 15. Their assignments, which have not been specifically outlined, may involve extended stays at foreign embassies or missions.

Each will receive a stipend of $50,000 to offset the costs of temporarily living in the Washington, D.C., area. Their salaries will continue to be paid by CU-Boulder.

Following their fellowship year, they will return to their academic careers but remain available to the State Department for short-term projects over a period of five years.