Bob Eisenstein (right) and his sons, Bill '94 (center) and Daniel
An extensive national search for someone to lead its Mathematical and Physical Sciences unit led the National Science Foundation to its own physics division director--Robert A. Eisenstein '64. Bob began his new duties in September.
Bob is one of the NSF's six assistant directors, who are responsible for almost all of the research and educational areas sponsored by the foundation. As MPS assistant director, Bob oversees funding programs for astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, material research, and physics. The MPS budget is several hundred million dollars, all of which "is used to support reasearch and education at universities and colleges all over the U.S.," he says, noting that "Oberlin is a frequent NSF grantee."
A former professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Illinois, where he directed the Nuclear Physics Laboratory, Bob had a well-recognized background in nuclear and particle physics when he joined the NSF in 1992. As division director, he played a significant role in managing large-scale projects, such as the Laser Interferometer Gravity Wave Observatory (LIGO), and in establishing physics-division initiatives in biological physics and complex phenomena. He also led the division's efforts to involve more undergraduate students in its research.
During his years in the physics division, Bob earned a reputation as a sound manager and innovator in science funding. "Bob has the leadership and wisdom to help pave a new road for integrative, multidisciplinary, and increasingly interdependent science and engineering," says NSF director Neal Lane.
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