You are here

About Us

Dr. William Brinkman - Director of the Office of Science

Photo of Dr. William F. Brinkman

Dr. William F. Brinkman was confirmed by the Senate on June 19, 2009 and sworn in on June 30, 2009 as the Director of the Office of Science in the U.S. Department of Energy. He joins the Office of Science at a crucial point in the Nation's history as the country strives toward energy security โ€“ a key mission area of the Department of Energy.

Dr. Brinkman said during his confirmation hearing that he looked forward to working "tirelessly to advance the revolution in energy technologies, to understand nuclear technologies and to continue basic research in the 21st century."

Dr. Brinkman brings decades of experience in managing scientific research in government, academia, and the private sector to the post. He leaves a position as Senior Research Physicist in the Physics Department at Princeton University where he played an important role in organizing and guiding the physics department's condensed matter group for the past eight years.

He joined Bell Laboratories in 1966 and after a brief sojourn as the Vice President of Research at DOE's Sandia National Laboratories, where he oversaw the expansion of its computer science efforts, Dr. Brinkman returned to Bell Laboratories in 1987 to become the executive director of its physics research division. He advanced to the Vice President of Research in Bell Laboratories in 2000, where he directed research to enable the advancement of the technology underlying Lucent Technologies' products. Brinkman led a research organization that developed many of the components and systems used in communications today, including advanced optical and wireless technologies.

He was born in Washington, Missouri and received his BS and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Missouri in 1960 and 1965, respectively. Since this time, he has served as a leader of the physics community. He has spent one year as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Oxford University. He has served as president of the American Physical Society and on a number of national committees, including chairmanship of the National Academy of Sciences Physics Survey and their Solid-State Sciences Committee. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He has worked on theories of condensed matter and his early work also involved the theory of spin fluctuations in metals and other highly correlated Fermi liquids. This work resulted in a new approach to highly correlated liquids in terms of almost localized liquids. The explanation of the superfluid phases of one of the isotopes of helium and many properties of these exotic states of matter was a major contribution in the middle seventies. The theoretical explanation of the existence of electron-hole liquids in semiconductors was another important contribution of Brinkman and his colleagues in this period. Subsequent theoretical work on liquid crystals and incommensurate systems are additional important contributions to the theoretical understanding of condensed matter.

In FY 2009, the Office of Science received $4.758 billion in appropriations with an additional $1.6 billion from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. With these funds, the Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, providing more than 40 percent of total funding for this vital area of national importance. It oversees โ€“ and is the principal federal funding agency of โ€“ the Nation's research programs in high-energy physics, nuclear physics, and fusion energy sciences. In addition, the Office of Science manages fundamental research programs in basic energy sciences, biological and environmental sciences, and computational science. In addition, the Office of Science is the Federal Government's largest single funder of materials and chemical sciences, and it supports unique and vital parts of U.S. research in climate change, geophysics, genomics, life sciences, and science education.

Last modified: 3/24/2011 11:23:41 AM