Summit Speaker: Raymond Orbach


Former Under Secretary for Science, U.S. Department of Energy

Raymond Lee Orbach served as the first Under Secretary for Science at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). President Bush nominated Dr. Orbach for the new position, created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, on December 13, 2005. He was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate on May 26, 2006, and was sworn in by Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman on June 1, 2006.

In his capacity as Under Secretary, Dr. Orbach’s primary responsibility was to serve as chief scientist for DOE, providing advice to the Secretary of Energy on all scientific and technical programs in DOE. Serving as chief scientist within DOE, Dr. Orbach advised the Secretary of Energy on a variety of topics, including the annual assessment of the reliability and safety of the U.S. nuclear warhead stockpile, which is made each year by the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Energy for the President of the United States. As Under Secretary for Science, he was responsible for the department’s implementation of the Administration’s American Competitiveness Initiative, to help drive continued U.S. economic growth. He also was responsible for leading the Department's efforts to transfer technologies from DOE national laboratories and facilities to the global marketplace, serving as the Department's Technology Transfer Coordinator, in accordance with the Energy Policy Act, and was chair of the DOE Technology Transfer Policy Board, responsible for coordinating and implementing policies for the Department's technology transfer activities.

Prior to and concurrent with serving as Under Secretary for Science, Dr. Orbach served as the 14th Director of the Office of Science at the Department of Energy, a position he held since confirmation by the Senate in March 2002. In this capacity, Dr. Orbach managed the organization that is the third largest Federal sponsor of basic research in the United States, the primary supporter of the physical sciences in the U.S., and one of the premier science organizations in the world.

In fiscal year 2008, the Office of Science provided $4.0 billion to programs in high energy and nuclear physics, basic energy sciences, magnetic fusion energy, biological and environmental research, and computational science. The Office of Science, formerly the Office of Energy Research, also provides management oversight of the ten DOE, non-weapons national laboratories, supports researchers at more than 300 colleges and universities nationwide, and builds and operates the world’s most powerful suite of scientific facilities and instruments, which annually are used by more than 19,000 researchers, world-wide, in studies to extend the frontiers of science.

From 1992 to 2002, Dr. Orbach served as Chancellor of the University of California (UC), Riverside. Under his leadership, UC Riverside doubled in size, achieved national and international recognition in research, and led the University of California in diversity and educational opportunity. In addition to his administrative duties at UC Riverside, he sustained an active research program; worked with postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students in his laboratory; and taught the freshman physics course each year. As Distinguished Professor of Physics, Dr. Orbach set the highest standards for academic excellence.

Dr. Orbach began his academic career as a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford University in 1960 and became an assistant professor of applied physics at Harvard University in 1961. He joined the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) two years later as an associate professor, and became a full professor in 1966. From 1982 to 1992, he served as the Provost of the College of Letters and Science at UCLA.

Dr. Orbach's research in theoretical and experimental physics has resulted in the publication of more than 240 scientific articles. He has received numerous honors as a scholar including two Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowships, a National Science Foundation Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship at Oxford University, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship at Tel Aviv University, the Joliot Curie Professorship at the École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la Ville de Paris, the Lorentz Professorship at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, the 1991-1992 Andrew Lawson Memorial Lecturer at UC Riverside, the 2004 Arnold O. Beckman Lecturer in Science and Innovation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Outstanding Alumni Award from the California Institute of Technology in 2005.

Dr. Orbach is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Orbach has also held numerous visiting professorships at universities around the world, including the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, Tel Aviv University, and the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London. He also serves as a member of twenty scientific, professional, and civic boards.

Dr. Orbach received his Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1956. He received his Ph.D. degree in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1960 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Dr. Orbach was born in Los Angeles, California. He is married to Eva S. Orbach. They have three children and seven grandchildren and three step-grandchildren.

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