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Arthur Bienenstock Named to Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences

(Photo - Arthur Bienenstock)
Arthur Bienenstock. (Photo courtesy Arthur Bienenstock.)

The news came by fax. On March 31, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences sent Arthur Bienenstock word that he had been elected a foreign member of the academy during its general meeting on March 24.

"I was most pleasantly surprised by this unexpected honor, in spite of some signals that had arrived earlier," Bienenstock wrote in an e-mail to SLAC Today. "I had been doing what I love to do in Sweden – encourage science and university improvement."

Bienenstock was director of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory at SLAC from 1978 to 1997, among many other accomplished roles, and is currently special assistant for federal research policy to Stanford University President John Hennessy and director of the Wallenberg Research Link/Swedish Contact Center.

The Royal Swedish Academy is the oldest engineering society in the world according to the Stanford Report, and an independent organization that promotes exchange between business, research and government in Sweden and internationally. As its fax noted, the academy elects foreign members as:

Persons who are permanent residents in a country other than Sweden who have performed outstanding work in the Academy's field of activities, and in the Academy’s spirit "for the benefit of society," and who have evinced a particular interest in developing contacts with Swedish research and the Swedish industrial and business community...

"[Bienenstock] has been very active as an advisor to Swedish scientists and universities," said Stanford Professor Emeritus of Materials Science and Engineering Stig Hagstrom, who was chair of the academy and chancellor of the Swedish university system during the 1990s. "He is very much valued in Sweden, highly regarded." Hagstrom met Bienenstock in 1964, when he was a postdoc at MIT and Bienenstock was assistant professor at Harvard. They stayed in touch, and later worked together at SSRL.

In 2007 Bienenstock succeeded Hagstrom as director at the Wallenberg Research Link, where the two have worked to promote exchange between Swedish and Stanford scientists. Bienenstock has also acted as a contact between SSRL and Sweden, and most recently as an advisor to Swedish organizations in university leadership and synchrotron radiation science. He holds an honorary doctorate from Lund University in Sweden.

"He has been very good in establishing contacts with the different universities, so he travels to Sweden quite often," Hagstrom said. "He has been in contact with Swedish scientists in his own specialty since 1967. He has many friends there."

"Working with Stig Hagstrom here at Stanford and my colleagues in Sweden has been a great joy and source of satisfaction," Bienenstock added. "I am indebted to the Lund University leadership and the Knut and Wallenberg Foundation for making these opportunities possible. I look forward to working with the Academy in the coming years."

—Shawne Workman
SLAC Today, May 3, 2010