SIG Board

The SIG board was formed in 1999 to provide scientific guidance for the Millennium Science Initiative (MSI), overseeing its development in Chile and subsequent expansion to Brazil, Mexico and Uganda, and introducing the MSI concept in other parts of the world. Board members also led an effort to initiate a Global Science Corps and helped guide the establishment of RISE. The SIG board held its final annual meeting in 2012. Since then, board members have served in their individual capacities as informal advisors.

Phillip A. Griffiths

Phillip A. GriffithsChairman and Founding Member

Dr. Griffiths is Professor Emeritus in the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study, where he served as Director from 1991-2003 and Professor of Mathematics from 2004-2009. Prior to joining the Institute, he was Provost and James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics at Duke University for eight years. From 1972-83 he was a professor of mathematics at Harvard University. Dr. Griffiths also taught at Princeton University and the University of California at Berkeley. He received his PhD from Princeton University.
Dr. Griffiths is currently a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences; The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS); Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei; and the Indian Academy of Sciences. He was a member of the National Science Board from 1991-1996, and has chaired multiple National Research Council committees. From 2002-2005, he served as Distinguished Presidential Fellow for International Affairs at the National Academy of Sciences. He currently serves on the TWAS Policy Development and Future Action Committee.
Among his numerous awards and recognitions, Dr. Griffiths most recently received the Chern Medal, given once every four years for lifetime achievement by the International Mathematical Union; the Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the American Mathematical Society; the Brouwer Prize from the Royal Dutch Mathematical Society; and the Wolf Foundation Prize in Mathematics.
Bruce Alberts

Bruce Alberts, since 2010

Dr. Alberts, a prominent biochemist with a strong commitment to the improvement of science education, serves as Editor-in-Chief of Science, and as one of President Obama's first three Science Envoys. Alberts is also Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, to which he returned in 2005 after serving two six-year terms as the president of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in Washington, D.C. During his tenure at the NAS, Dr. Alberts was instrumental in developing the landmark National Science Education standards that promote ‘”science as inquiry” teaching.
From 2000 to 2009, he served as co-chair of the InterAcademy Council, an organization in Amsterdam governed by the presidents of 15 national academies of sciences and established to provide scientific advice to the world.
Dr. Alberts is also noted as one of the original authors of The Molecular Biology of the Cell, a pre-eminent textbook in the field now in its fifth edition. Alberts has earned many honors and awards, including 16 honorary degrees. He currently serves on the advisory boards of more than 25 non-profit institutions, including the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Mohamed H. A. Hassan

Mohamed H. A. Hassan, since 2004

Professor Hassan is Co-Chair of IAP, the Global Network of Science Academies, and Chairman of the Council of the United Nations University (UNU). He serves on a number of boards of international organizations in addition to SIG, including the Board of Directors of the global change SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training (START), Washington D.C., USA; the Board of Trustees of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt; the Council of Science and Technology in Society (STS) Forum, Japan; the Board of the International Science Programme, Sweden; and the International Advisory Board of the Centre for International Development (ZEF), Germany.
After obtaining his PhD in Mathematics from the University of Oxford, Professor Hassan returned to Sudan as Lecturer in the University of Khartoum, where he later became Professor and Dean of the School of Mathematical Sciences. He has published on a broad array of topics, including theoretical plasma physics and fusion energy; wind erosion; dust and sand transport in drylands; and science and technology in the developing world.
Professor Hassan was the founding (immediate past) Executive Director of TWAS, The World Academy of Sciences. He is the immediate past President of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and is former Chairman of the Honorary Presidential Advisory Council for Science and Technology, Nigeria.
Professor Hassan was awarded the National Order of Scientific Merit of Brazil and the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. He is a fellow of TWAS, AAS, the World Academy of Arts and Sciences (WAAS), the Islamic World Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Science for South Africa (ASSAf), and the Academy of Sciences and Technology of Senegal; honorary member of the Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences and the Palestine Academy of Science and Technology; corresponding member of the Belgian Royal Overseas Academy of Sciences; and foreign fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences, the Lebanese Academy of Sciences, and the Cuban Academy of Sciences.
J. Tomas Hexner

J. Tomas Hexner, Founding Member

Mr. Hexner received an A.B. in economics and an M.B.A. from Harvard University. He has over thirty years’ experience in policies, projects, and institution-building in developing countries, including Pakistan, Indonesia, Paraguay, and multiple sub-Saharan African nations. He has worked with foundations, among them Ford and Rockefeller, and with bilateral and multilateral agencies (USAID, World Bank, IMF, UNDP) that assist these countries.
Mr. Hexner’s projects have included crafting an environmental action plan for sub-Saharan Africa, formulating the Agriculture and Rural Development Policy for the World Bank, privatizing enterprises in Bangladesh, and exploring the options for reinvigorating science and technology in Vietnam. He has founded several high-tech companies, including Genetics Institute and Thinking Machines, and he has been involved in industrial-academic relations at both Harvard and Duke Universities.
Jacob Palis

Jacob Palis, Founding Member

Professor Palis is Professor and Director Emeritus at the Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is a graduate of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and received his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. His primary research area is dynamical systems.
Professor Palis is immediate past President of TWAS and former Vice President of the International Council for Scientific Unions (ICSU). He served as Secretary to the International Mathematical Union from 1991-1998 and as President from 1999-2002. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Brazilian National Research Council and of COPEA-Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, an Interdisciplinary Scientific College.
He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the ETH, Zurich, and of the Scientific and Strategic Committee of the College de France. He is President of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and a member of several others, including the Indian, French and U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Professor Palis is a 2010 recipient of the Balzan Prize.
C. N. R. Rao

C. N. R. Rao, Founding Member

Professor Rao is National Research Professor, Honorary President & Linus Pauling Research Professor of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore, India. His main research interests are solid state and materials chemistry, surface phenomena, spectroscopy and molecular structure. He received his MSc from Banaras, his PhD from Purdue, and his DSc from Mysore.
Professor Rao is a Founding Fellow and past President of TWAS. He is a fellow of many science academies, including the Indian and French, the Royal Society in London, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
He served on the Executive Board of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) and the International Scientific Board of UNESCO. He has served as president of the Indian National Science Academy, the Indian Academy of Sciences, and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. He is Chairman of the Science Advisory Council of the Prime Minister of India. Among his many awards and honors, he received the Dan David Prize for materials research and is the first recipient of the India Science Prize.
Chung W. Kim

Chung W. Kim, Founding Member (Emeritus; 1999-2010)  

Professor Kim is Professor Emeritus and former Director of the Korea Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS) and Professor of Physics Emeritus at the Johns Hopkins University. His primary area of expertise is particle physics. He has published numerous works on neutrinos, muon capture, nuclear decay, and other aspects of elementary particle behavior. A summa cum laude graduate of Seoul Academy of Science and Technology, he received his PhD from Indiana University.
In Korea, he has served as Chair, Physics Sub-Committee, KIAS (1997), and Member, International Science Advisory Board, Korea Science and Engineering Foundation. He also served as President of the Association of Korean Physicists in America (1989-1990) and U.S. Regional Editor, Journal of Korean Physical Society (1991-1994). Among his honorific titles are Fellow, American Physical Society; Fellow, Korean Physical Society; Fellow, Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology (Hanlim Won); and Korean national decoration, Moran Order of Merit (1998).
Harold Varmus

Harold Varmus (Emeritus; 2003-2010)

Dr. Varmus is the immediate past Director of the National Cancer Institute. He was also formerly the President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and Co-Chair of President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Much of Dr. Varmus’ scientific work was conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, where he, Dr. J. Michael Bishop and co-workers demonstrated the cellular origins of the oncogene of a chicken retrovirus. This discovery led to the isolation of many cellular genes that normally control growth and development and are frequently mutated in human cancer. For this work, Bishop and Varmus received the 1989 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
In 1993, Varmus was named by President Clinton to serve as the Director of the National Institutes of Health, a position he held until the end of 1999. During his tenure at the NIH, he initiated many changes in the conduct of intramural and extramural research programs and recruited new leaders for most of the important positions at the NIH.
In addition to authoring over 300 scientific papers and four books, Dr. Varmus has been an advisor to the federal government, pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, and academic institutions. He is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Public Library of Science, and he has served on the World Health Organization’s Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, advisory committees on electronic publishing, and a National Research Council panel on genetically modified organisms. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and of the Institute of Medicine.