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Dorfan Today: Raymond Orbach Confirmed as Under Secretary of Science

(Photo - Jonathan Dorfan) On May 26, the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment of Dr. Raymond L. Orbach to the newly created position of Under Secretary for Science in the Department of Energy. I am pleased to extend congratulations on behalf of the entire SLAC community to Dr. Orbach, and I look forward to the productive and exciting years ahead that the creation of this post means for the scientific community as a whole.

Dr. Orbach, a theoretical physicist, served as Chancellor of University of California, Riverside, from 1992 to 2002. Before his appointment as Under Secretary, Dr. Orbach worked for four years as the Director of the Office of Science. During his tenure as director, he made four visits to SLAC. In June of 2005, he addressed an audience of 800 on past accomplishments and future promise of SLAC. You can read more about Dr. Orbach's visits from the archives of The Interaction Point at the links below.

During the confirmation hearings, several members of Congress made clear their approval and deep appreciation for Dr. Orbach and his promotion to Under Secretary of Science.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) stated, "Mr. Orbach brings an impressive background in science and academia to this post. We created this position in the energy bill as part of a broader push to expand DOE's commitment to and expertise in science. I think Mr. Orbach will ably lead that charge." And Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) said, "I want to thank Secretary Bodman and Under Secretary Orbach for the long-needed attention they have brought to science programs at the Department. They are two of the finest senior public officials in this or any administration, and we are very fortunate to have them at their posts."

The post of Under Secretary for Science, created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, bodes well for all of the sciences with the exciting potential to elevate the prominence of basic research. And in addition to this heightened exposure comes the possibility of greater resources to do that research.

The House of Representatives recently passed the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill for 2007. As I've mentioned before, this bill includes a 14.1% increase in funding for the DOE Office of Science. It is now pending in the Senate. Considering the Office of Science's role as primary funding agency for the physical sciences, these changes promise to expand the visibility and leadership potential of scientific research in the United States.

TIP archives of Raymond Orbach's visits to SLAC:
June 23, 2005
August 4, 2005
November 25, 2002

Transcript of speech Raymond Orbach delivered at SLAC's 40th anniversary celebration:
October 2, 2002

—Jonathan Dorfan
   SLAC Today, June 5, 2006