Science Fellows Program Advisors


Warren Muir

Warren Muir, PhD

Executive Director, Division on Earth and Life Studies
The National Academies


Since 1999, Warren has been Executive Director of the Division on Earth and Life Studies of The National Academies (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council). Chartered by Congress at the request of President Lincoln as a non-governmental non-profit organization, the Academies serve as independent expert advisors to the country on science and technology. Warren’s division produces 60-70 public reports per year on all aspects of the environment; the life, geological and chemical sciences and technology; agriculture; natural resources; radiation; laboratory animals; as well as disasters.

Prior to joining the Academies, Warren served for more than a decade as founder and president of the Hampshire Research Institute (a non-profit environmental science research organization) and Hampshire Research Associates, Inc. (an environmental science consulting firm) and as a faculty member of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. He also spent eleven years as a senior career federal official, as Director of the Office of Toxic Substances of the US Environmental Protection Agency and as Senior Staff Member for Environmental Health at the Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Office of the President. Warren has a BA, MS, and Ph.D. in Chemistry and post-graduate training in Public Health (Epidemiology). Over the past twenty years, Warren has also volunteered and has led two non-profit people-to-people organizations, HasNa, Inc. and the Children’s Friendship Project for Northern Ireland, Inc., that promote trust, understanding, friendship, and peace between divided communities outside the US – the Protestant and Catholic communities of Northern Ireland, the Turkish, Kurdish, and Arab communities of Southeastern Turkey, and the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities of Cyprus.

Terry Garcia

Terry Garcia

Executive Vice President for Mission Programs
National Geographic Society


Terry Garcia is executive vice president for Mission Programs for the National Geographic Society. He is responsible for the Society’s core mission programs, including programs that support and manage more than 400 scientific field research, conservation and exploration projects annually. In addition, he oversees the Society’s Explorers-in-Residence and Emerging Explorers programs, geography and science education programs, geography competitions, development office, exhibitions, live events and the arts media program, which includes the All Roads film and photography program. Garcia is responsible for the five-year Genographic Project that will map the history of human migration and was instrumental in bringing to the United States the exhibition "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs."

Prior to joining the Society in 1999, Garcia was assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, U.S. Department of Commerce, and deputy administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In this role he directed and coordinated U.S. coastal, ocean and atmospheric programs, including recovery of the endangered species, habitat conservation planning, Clean Water Act implementation, the development of the national marine sanctuary system and commercial satellite licensing.

George Whitesides

George M. Whitesides, PhD

Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor
Harvard University


Dr. George Whitesides joined Harvard’s Department of Chemistry in 1982, having been at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1963 to 1982. His present research interests include materials science, biophysics, surface science, polyvalency, microfluidics, optics, self-assembly, microfabrication, nanotechnology, and cell surface biochemistry.

Dr. Whitesides has held advisory positions on the National Research Council, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and the American Philosophical Society, among other organizations. He has received dozens of honors, including the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Pure Chemistry (1975), the Arthur C. Cope Award (1995), the DARPA Award for Significant Technical Achievement (1996), the National Medal of Science (1998), the Von Hippel Award (2000), the Dan David Award (2005), the Welch Award (2005), and the Priestley Award (2007).

Dr. Whitesides is a co-founder of companies with a combined market capitalization of over $20 billion, including Genzyme, GelTex, Theravance, and more recent ventures Surface Logix, WMR Biomedical, and Nano-Terra, Inc.

Andrei Ruckenstein

Andrei E. Ruckenstein, PhD

Vice President and Associate Provost for Research
Boston University


Andrei Ruckenstein has been Vice President and Associate Provost for Research at Boston University since 2007. He came to Boston University from Rutgers University, where he was the founding Director of BioMaPS, an interdisciplinary program launched in 2000 which focused on biology-driven research and education for life-science researchers that have strong quantitative backgrounds in molecular biophysics, structural biology, computational biology and bioinformatics. A physicist by trade, he is trained in theoretical condensed matter and is well known for his work in strongly correlated quantum systems.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Ruckenstein is a former president of the Aspen Center for Physics, a prestigious National Science Foundation-funded organization; and co-founder and co-chair of the board of trustees of the Aspen Science Center, an Aspen, Colorado-based organization founded to bridge the gap between science research and education.

In 1994, he was awarded the Humboldt Foundation Senior Prize for his work in Theoretical Physics. He has also been recognized by an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship and an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award.

Carolyn Porco

Carolyn Porco, PhD

Director, CICLOPS Cassini Imaging


Carolyn Porco is an American planetary scientist known for her work in the exploration of the outer solar system, beginning with her imaging work on the Voyager missions to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in the 1980s. Presently, she leads the imaging science team on the Cassini mission presently in orbit around Saturn. She is also an imaging scientist on the New Horizons mission launched to Pluto on January 19, 2006. She is an expert on planetary rings and the Saturnian moon, Enceladus.

She has co-authored over 80 scientific papers on subjects ranging from the spectroscopy of Uranus and Neptune, to the interstellar medium, the photometry of planetary rings, satellite/ring interactions, computer simulations of planetary rings, the thermal balance of Triton’s polar caps, heat flow in the interior of Jupiter, and a suite of results on the atmosphere, satellites, and rings of Saturn from the Cassini imaging experiment.

Porco was responsible for the epitaph and proposal to honor the late renowned planetary geologist Eugene Shoemaker by sending his cremains to the Moon aboard the Lunar Prospector spacecraft in 1998.

Pamela Ronald

Pamela Ronald, PhD

Professor of Plant Pathology
University of California, Davis


Pamela Ronald is Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis, where she studies the role that genes play in a plant’s response to its environment.

Her work has been published in Science, Nature and other scientific periodicals and has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, CNN and on National Public Radio.

Ronald was a Fulbright Fellow from 1984-1985 and was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2000. She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a 2008 Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. In 2008 she and her colleagues were recipients of the USDA 2008 National Research Initiative Discovery Award for their work on submergence tolerant rice. In 2009, they were nominated for the 2009 World Technology Award for Environment.

Ronald is co-author with her husband, Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer, of "Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food". "Tomorrow’s Table" was selected as one of the best books of 2008 by Seed Magazine and the Library Journal. She writes an award-winning blog on food, farming and genetics.

Peter Ward

Peter D. Ward, PhD

Professor of Biology and of Earth and Space Sciences
University of Washington


Peter Ward studies life on Earth – where it came from, how it might end, and how utterly rare it might be. A paleontologist and astrobiologist by training, Ward studies the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event (the one that killed the dinosaurs) and other mass extinctions. He is a leader in the intriguing new field of astrobiology, the study of the origin, distribution and evolution of life in the universe.

In his book Rare Earth he theorizes that complex life itself is so rare, it’s quite possible that Earth is the only planet that has any. But, he theorizes, simple life may exist elsewhere – and possibly be more common than we think.

His upcoming book, The Medea Hypothesis, makes a bold argument that even here on Earth, life has come close to being wiped out several times. Contrary to the "Gaia hypothesis" of a self-balancing, self-perpetuating circle of life, Ward’s Medea hypothesis details the scary number of times that life has come close to flatlining, whether due to comet strikes or an overabundance of bacteria.

In February 2009 Ward’s 8-hour television series, Animal Armageddon, premiered on Animal Planet Network.

Elizabeth Bass

Elizabeth Bass, MPH

Director, Center for Communicating Science
Stony Brook University


Elizabeth Bass is director of the Center for Communicating Science, an interdisciplinary center at Stony Brook University dedicated to helping current and future scientists learn to communicate more effectively with the public, public officials and the press, as well as with colleagues in other disciplines. The Center offers workshops and courses in speaking and writing about science more clearly, vividly and personally. For instance, working with Alan Alda, a member of its National Advisory Board, the Center is exploring use of improvisational theater games to help scientists connect more directly with their audiences. Ms. Bass also is interim director of the graduate program at the Stony Brook University School of Journalism. The school’s Master of Science program in journalism, which will enroll its first class in June, 2011, focuses on coverage of health, science, the environment and technology.

Before coming to Stony Brook, Ms. Bass held various editing positions at Newsday, the daily newspaper on Long Island, over a period of 20 years. As Newsday health and science editor in the 1990s, she supervised reporting that won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism, as well as major science writing awards. She is the co-author of two books, Bioterrorism: A Guide for Hospital Preparedness, and KidsHealth Guide for Parents: Pregnancy to Age 5, and has contributed to several other health-related books. A graduate of Cornell University, she received a Master of Public Health degree from Stony Brook University. She has taught science and health reporting at Stony Brook, and has taught as an adjunct at Hofstra University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Pam Sturner

Pam Sturner

Managing Director, Leopold Leadership Program
Stanford University


Pam Sturner is the managing director of the Leopold Leadership Program at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment. The mission of the Leopold Leadership Program is to advance environmental decision-making by providing midcareer academic environmental scientists the skills and connections they need to be effective leaders and communicators. It brings together outstanding academic scientists from across North America, provides them with leadership and communications training to assist in working with nonscientific audiences, and builds a network of scientists and trainers committed to science outreach beyond the academy. Working with the program’s scientific director and advisors, Pam is responsible for setting and carrying out strategic direction. With a team of faculty and staff at the Woods Institute, she is also developing a leadership program for early-career researchers modeled on Leopold.

Before moving to Stanford, Pam worked for a decade in nonprofit management and journalism. As a newspaper reporter and editor, she covered a range of environmental and resource management issues on the San Francisco Peninsula. She also led a small editorial team that won a California Newspaper Publishers Association Award for public service for reporting on education. Pam serves on the Environmental Advisory Committee to the Santa Clara Valley Water District board, where she chairs a subcommittee on product stewardship policy.


Richard Hutton

Richard Hutton

VP of Media Production
Vulcan Ventures


Richard Hutton oversees Vulcan Productions and its feature film and documentary units, and also directs all of Vulcan Inc.‘s media development projects, including initiatives in the education, museum and entertainment sectors. Under Hutton’s direction, Vulcan Productions has produced or co-produced a wide range of shows for PBS: Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial, a two-hour, Peabody Award-winning program for NOVA chronicling the latest battle in the war over evolution; Strange Days on Planet Earth, a four-part series on the environment; the Emmy Award-winning Rx for Survival, a six-part series on global health; the Peabody and Grammy Award-winning No Direction Home: Bob Dylan; and the Emmy and Grammy Award-winning Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues. Hutton was also the executive producer of the critically acclaimed, Emmy-nominated PBS series, Evolution; the Peabody Award-winning Black Sky: The Race for Space; and the blues concert film Lightning in a Bottle.

Feature films produced or co-produced under Hutton’s direction include the forthcoming Humanitas Prize winner Where God Left His Shoes, starring John Leguizamo; the critically-acclaimed Hard Candy, starring Ellen Page; Bickford Shmeckler’s Cool Ideas; and Independent Spirit Award winner for Best Picture, Far From Heaven. Prior to Vulcan, Hutton was senior vice president of creative development at Walt Disney Imagineering. Previous to that, Hutton served as vice president and general manager of the Disney Institute, where he directed the transition of the organization from concept into an operating business.