Dr. Joseph Bordogna
Chief Operating Officer
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
NSF/DOW Site Visit
Clute Intermediate School
9:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
March 1, 2001
Good morning. My name is Joe Bordogna, and I am the
Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation.
We are delighted to be guests of the Dow Chemical Company
and Brazosport Independent School District, and I
thank you, Mr. Dornberg for inviting us here to Clute
Intermediate School today.
On behalf of the NSF, I would like to say thank you
to Bill Ghant, Fae Gibbs, and the Dow Chemical Company,
which we have partnered with to make this visit possible.
We are delighted to be celebrating NSF's 50th
anniversary with you, and to bring the nationwide,
yearlong program, "Scientists and Engineers in the
Schools" to Freeport, Texas.
We have a full program lined up for you this morning.
Before we get to our special guests, I would like
to tell you a little bit more about why NSF is special
and introduce you to some of the work the Foundation
has supported over the last 50 years.
Things that people do everyday are "brought to you"
(in part) by NSF....
- A student in Chicago logs on to the Internet.
- In the sky above Dallas, Doppler Radar warns
an airline pilot about potentially
dangerous weather conditions up ahead.
Where does it all come from and what do these events
have in common? Every day, people use these devices
all over the United States.
And what else do they have in common? Just a few years
ago, none of them even existed.
Anything else? These discoveries - and many more like
them, are the fruits of the work funded by one of
our nation's leading government agencies - The National
When I mention the National Science Foundation, some
people, maybe some of you here, aren't sure what I'm
talking about. Others think maybe they've heard of
it, but they're not sure what it does.
We like to say that the National Science Foundation
is where discoveries begin. Everything I just mentioned
- the Internet, MRI, Bar Codes - were invented by
scientists and engineers who were working with the
support of the NSF.
NSF does not take credit for any of these individual
discoveries. Rather, NSF assumes credit for providing
the funds needed so talented researchers across the
country may explore avenues of research they wouldn't
The NSF was established in 1950, when President Harry
S. Truman signed a bill creating it.
As I mentioned just a few minutes ago, part of the
reason we're here today is to celebrate the 50th
anniversary of the NSF.
The United State Congress established the NSF in 1950,
giving it the mandate to promote research and education
in science and engineering, and to uncover new knowledge
that could be used in the service of the country.
Prior to this, no single federal agency had been charged
with these responsibilities.
And the NSF has done exactly that. During the past
50 years, we have funded research that has created
many of the things you use or see every day, even
some things you probably take for granted.
In fact, NSF-funded discoveries have produced important
advances in fields from astronomy to zoology, and
have totally changed the way Americans live and work.
I'm talking about things like…the Internet.
The Internet -
Many of you use the Internet at home or maybe you use
it here in your school. You probably know that the
Internet is really just a big computer network - computers
all over the world trading information with one another.
The Internet is based, to a large degree, on older
networks that were used by the government. One of
these, one of the largest, was one called NSFNET,
owned by, you guessed it, the NSF.
NSFNET was started in 1985, long before most people
had personal computers, and in 1991, the NSF opened
up the network so people and businesses could start
Even before NSFNET, as early as the 1950s, NSF-supported
scientists and engineers were doing research on computers
and computer networking. All of this led to the Internet
that we know today.
CD Players -
Let's take another example - how many of you have CD
players? Who doesn't nowadays!
Well, CD players, as well as digital audiotape, digital
TV, DVD players, CD Rom, and computer hard drives
- all use a technology called "data compression" that
was discovered by scientists and engineers working
for the NSF.
This discovery was actually made in the early 1960s,
and the NSF originally thought the technology would
be used just for satellite transmissions. More than
30 years later, CD technology is everywhere.
Planetary Knowledge -
Do you know, that as of today, we know that there are
49 planets outside of our solar system. How do we
Since 1991, NSF-funded and supported observatories
and their telescopes have helped to discover over
two dozen new planets outside our solar system.
Between 1991 and 1995, NSF-funded researchers from
Penn State discovered three new planets orbiting a
pulsar - the collapsed remnant of a supernova explosion.
In 1995, other researchers began a streak of discovery,
finding planets outside the solar system more and
more quickly. Most of these discoveries were made
at four NSF-funded telescope observatories in Puerto
Rico, New Mexico, California, and Hawaii.
So, that's what NSF is all about. If you're interested
in learning more about NSF, log on to http://www.nsf.gov
Now I know you are all eager to meet our special guests,
Drs. Osheroff and Sastry. So, let me tell you a bit
about each of them.
First, Dr. Douglas Osheroff. Dr. Osheroff is a Professor
of Applied Physics at Stanford University, in Palo
Alto, California, where he also conducts a number
of physics research projects.
Osheroff is also an award-winning teacher who received
Stanford's highest teaching award in 1991. In 1996
he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his "super
cool theories," which he'll tell you more about in
Dr. Ann Marie Sastry is an Associate Professor of Mechanical
Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University
of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In a ceremony at the White
House in 1997, Dr. Sastry received a Presidential
Early Career Award for Scientists & Engineers, a very
prestigious award given to young scientists and engineeers
who have shown great promise in their work as researchers
Sastry has also received awards for outstanding teaching
and mentoring, as well as distinguished research achievements
in engineering. This, in addition to being a mother
of one, soon to be two, children - one of the most
important roles of all.
On behalf of the NSF, I hope you enjoy your time with
these esteemed scientists and engineers.