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NSF Nominee Applies Skills To Chart Policy

WASHINGTON--As far as nuclear chemist Frederick Bernthal is concerned, democracy works. The man whom President Bush has picked to be the next deputy director of the National Science Foundation is a shining example of a scientist whose thoughts in midcareer turned to government and who has wound up playing a major role in federal science policy. "There are two kinds of political appointees," says physicist John Ahearne, the executive director of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, and, l

Jeffrey Mervis

WASHINGTON--As far as nuclear chemist Frederick Bernthal is concerned, democracy works. The man whom President Bush has picked to be the next deputy director of the National Science Foundation is a shining example of a scientist whose thoughts in midcareer turned to government and who has wound up playing a major role in federal science policy.

"There are two kinds of political appointees," says physicist John Ahearne, the executive director of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, and, like Bernthal, a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). "One group has a powerful mentor who rewards them for faithful political service. The other group is promoted for their competence, their specialized knowledge, and their administrative skills. Fred's definitely the second type."

Last month Bush announced his intention to nominate Bernthal to the spot vacated by economist John Moore (The Scientist, Jan. 8, 1990, page 9). The position is one...

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