NSF Names New Head Of Polar Programs

26 October 1998



Media contact: October 26, 1998
Peter West PA 98-5
(703) 306-1070/pwest@nsf.gov


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has named physicist Karl A. Erb
to head its Office of Polar Programs. Erb will assume his new
position on November 2, 1998.

Erb has served as Senior Science Advisor at NSF since 1993. As part of
the senior NSF management team, he has considerable familiarity with
the management of polar programs. His experience has included representing
NSF in the National Science and Technology Council review of the U.S.
Antarctic Program, that resulted in the 1996 White House affirmation of the
importance of the program to the nation. He also coordinated preparations
for the subsequent review by the U.S. Antarctic Program External Panel
(known as the Augustine Panel after its chair, Norman Augustine). In
addition, he has assisted in developing an agency-wide approach to
supporting research in the Arctic. He is also the senior federal science
official in the Federal Demonstration Partnership, as designated by the
Assistant to the President for Science and Technology.

In 1986, Erb joined NSF as a program manager in the physics division after
a sixteen-year career in research and education at Yale University,
Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Pittsburgh. From 1989 to
1993, under two presidential science advisors, he oversaw the area of basic
research in science and engineering at the White House Office of Science and
Technology Policy.

Erb is recognized for his research in experimental nuclear physics,
particularly in the areas of heavy-ion science and nuclear molecular
phenomena. He received his masters and doctoral degrees from the University
of Michigan, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University. He
is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association
for the Advancement of Science. He was recently recognized for his work in
the public sector with the Presidential Meritorious Rank award.

As head of NSF's polar programs, Erb will oversee an annual budget of
approximately $250 million. Acting OPP head John B. Hunt, in that
post since August 1997, will devote full time to his responsibilities
as Deputy Assistant Director for Integrative Activities in NSF's Education
and Human Resources Directorate.