Raphael G. Kasper, a physicist and science policy expert with wide experience in technology assessment and research management, has been appointed associate vice provost for research.
Kasper has devoted his career to the management of scientific programs and to the history and public understanding of science and technology. He joins Columbia from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, where he served as program officer in 1994-95 with responsibility for oversight of the foundation's grant programs.
From 1989 to 1994, he was associate director at the Superconducting Super Collider, a particle accelerator in Texas that researchers hoped would find the Higgs boson and other theorized subatomic particles, until Congress ended funding in 1994. Kasper had responsibility for a range of issues, including planning, education, external affairs, environment, safety and health, legal affairs, international coordination, interaction with Congress and federal and state agencies and interaction with researchers.
He was executive director of the National Academy of Sciences' Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Resources, from 1982 to 1989. He supervised a staff of 100 and was responsible for the activities of 240 committees with some 2,500 individual members.
"Raph's experience at team building at the National Academy of Sciences and the Superconducting Super Collider will help us all in the complex task of building a greater and more integrated Columbia research community," said Vice Provost Michael Crow.
At Columbia, Kasper will focus on the development of major new interschool initiatives in fields such as earth policy, materials science, information management, biomedical engineering and other critical areas. The position of associate vice provost for research has been vacant since mid-1993.
"I want to help researchers make connections that will result in significant new work in the areas we're emphasizing," Kasper said.
Born in New York, Kasper received the bachelor's degree in engineering physics with honors from Cornell and the master's and Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from U.C.-Berkeley. He graduated from Harvard's Program for Senior Managers in Government in 1986.
As a research scientist and policy analyst at George Washington University from 1968 to 1973, he led a group that examined public reactions to noise from civilian aircraft and contributed to several studies, including an assessment of citizen group participation in approvals of nuclear power plants.
He was senior staff officer at the National Academy of Sciences Environmental Studies Board from 1973 to 1977. Until 1982, he was executive secretary of the board.
In 1977, he was senior policy analyst for President Carter in the Office of Science and Technology Policy on environmental, domestic science, energy and dam safety issues. Under President Reagan, he designed research studies on nuclear safety in the wake of the Three Mile Island accident.
Kasper is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Advisory Board for the Institute of International Education's Energy Training Project. He lists two dozen scholarly publications, including contributions to research in nuclear safety, air quality, risk management, technology assessment and environmental decision-making.
Columbia University Record -- December 1, 1995 -- Vol. 21, No. 11