Chemist F. Fleming Crim has been selected by the National Science Foundation to head the agency’s Mathematical & Physical Sciences Directorate, which has an annual budget of $1.3 billion.
Crim, currently a chemistry professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will oversee a staff of 160. The directorate supports research in astronomy, chemistry, physics, materials science, and mathematics. It also funds 14 user facilities.
NSF’s important role in supporting fundamental research is what attracted Crim to the position. “There are tremendous intellectual opportunities in the mathematical and physical sciences, and research in those areas can address some of the most important challenges the nation faces,” he explains.
At the University of Wisconsin, where he has worked since 1977, Crim specializes in using lasers to probe the chemical reactions taking place inside gases and liquids. Among many other distinctions, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Cornell University in 1974.
“I hope to advocate effectively for the mathematical and physical sciences and help build connections across and beyond the foundation,” Crim says. He will begin his appointment in January 2013.