Robert A. Frosch
Columbia University, 1996-98
A former vice president of research at General Motors and former NASA administrator, Robert A. Frosch is senior research fellow at the Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He also is a senior fellow at the National Academy of Engineering. While finishing his thesis research in theoretical physics at Columbia University, he joined Hudson Laboratories there, which were chartered by the Office of Naval Research and the Navy Bureau of Ships, and became director of the laboratories in 1956. Following the signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963, Frosch became director for nuclear test detection in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, expanding the seismic research program and the worldwide seismic detection network. In 1966 he was nominated by President Lyndon Johnson as assistant secretary of the Navy for research and development, continuing in that post through the first Nixon administration. Frosch also served as the first assistant executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme and as associate director for applied oceanography at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Under President Carter, he was administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and, in 1981, became the first president of the American Association of Engineering Societies. He left this post to join General Motors as vice president for GM Research Laboratories, later the General Motors Research and Development Center.