Actions of MIT’s 15th president have ‘grown to inspire generations,’ Reif says.
President Clinton has announced his intention to nominate Professor John M. Deutch of MIT to hold a key technology post as Under Secretary for Acquistion in the Department of Defense.
In that post, Professor Deutch, former MIT provost and a chemist widely known for his work in science and technology policy, would head the DOD's technology and acquisition activities. He would be the third ranking officer of the Department, reporting directly to Les Aspin, the Secretary of Defense, and the Deputy Secretary of Defense.
If confirmed, Professor Deutch will have major responsibility for weapons acquisition, technology development, and economic conversion.
From October 1977 to March 1980, Professor Deutch was on leave from MIT at the US Department of Energy, as director of the Office of Energy Research (1977-79), as acting assistant secretary for energy technology (January-June 1979), and as under secretary of the Department (August 1979-March 1980).
Professor Deutch also would serve in his seventh presidential administration, having held advisory or consulting posts in the administrations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush.
Professor Deutch was given the rank of Institute Professor at MIT in 1990. The title recognizes distinguished accomplishments in scholarly, educational, service and leadership pursuits. There are usually no more than 12 active Institute Professors on the MIT faculty.
Professor Deutch's research interests include non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, structure of fluids, dielectric and magnetic relaxation, light scattering and polymer theory.
As MIT provost, Professor Deutch was the Institute's chief academic officer from 1985 until October of 1990, when he returned to teaching and research in the Department of Chemistry. He was dean of the MIT School of Science at MIT from 1982 to 1985 and headed the Department of Chemistry in 1976 and 1977.
He served as a member of the President's Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee (1980-81) and of the President's Commission on Strategic Forces (1983-84).
Professor Deutch was a member of the Army Scientific Advisory Panel (1975-77) and served on the Defense Science Board (1975-91). He was reappointed to the Defense Science Board in 1992. He was a member of the White House Science Council (1985-89). In August of 1990, he was appointed by George Bush to serve on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
Professor Deutch, 54, was born in Brussels, Belgium, July 27, 1938. He came to the United States as a small child with his family and has been a US citizen since 1946. He grew up in Washington, D.C.
In 1961 he received both the BA degree in history and economics from Amherst College and the SB (bachelor of science) degree from MIT in chemical engineering through a joint Amherst-MIT program. His graduate work was done at MIT where he received the PhD in physical chemistry in 1965. He has received honorary degrees from Amherst (Doctor of Science, 1978) and from Lowell (Doctor of Philosophy, 1986).
A friend from their graduate school days at MIT is Secretary of Defense Aspin, who received the PhD in economics in 1966.
After receiving his doctoral degree from MIT, Professor Deutch spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington. From 1966 to 1969 he was an assistant professor of chemistry at Princeton University. He joined the MIT faculty in 1970.
Professor Deutch is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society of Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi and Phi Lambda Upsilon. He is a member of the Trilateral Commission and an Overseer of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He has been a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Physical Chemistry and the Annual Review of Physical Chemistry.
In 1979, and again in 1980, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal of the US Department of Energy. He received the Department of State's Tribute of Appreciation in 1980.
A version of this article appeared in the March 3, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 24).