BY KATHLEEN O'TOOLE
President Emeritus and Professor Donald Kennedy has been named editor-in-chief of Science, the prestigious weekly peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The announcement was made Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
"We're very pleased that Dr. Kennedy has accepted the invitation to be editor-in-chief of Science," said M. R. C. Greenwood, chancellor of the University of California-Santa Cruz and chair of the AAAS board of directors, who selected Kennedy. "He brings to this task a broad understanding of current science issues, a wealth of experience in government and university, and incomparable insight."
Kennedy, who will assume the post on June 1, 2000, said he was "delighted and very excited about the appointment. I have a great deal of respect for Science, not only because it has an important voice in the scientific community, but because it plays a role in shaping science policy as well."
Kennedy, 68, who was Stanford's eighth president for 12 years beginning in 1980, and a university provost and department chairman before that, also has been commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and served the National Research Council in a variety of capacities. He currently is the Bing Professor of Environmental Science at Stanford's Institute for International Studies, where he will maintain his office and continue to teach the first year he is editor.
"I will spend probably about half time on Science, and I will continue some teaching, although probably reduced," he said of the next academic year. "At the end of that year, my plan is to retire from Stanford, although I might well be recalled to teach a course because I love Stanford students and teaching," he said.
"It's wonderful for both Science and Don," said Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies, who is a colleague of Kennedy's. "He is the smartest and most broad-minded scientist I know. He knows the major institutions involved -- the government and the universities -- and he has worked for the [National] Academy of Sciences. He's also a superb craftsperson with words."
Kennedy will succeed Floyd Bloom, who announced last year that he would not seek a second five-year term when his current appointment as editor-in-chief expires next May. Bloom said he wants to spend more time doing research at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., where he is chairman of the Department of Neuropharmacology.
"Kennedy is a distinguished leader in the scientific community whose experience and insight will serve Science well," said Richard Nicholson, AAAS executive officer and publisher of Science. "I have great confidence that he will help maintain and enhance the excellent reputation that the journal has always enjoyed."
Kennedy said it was too early for him to comment on any editorial changes he might make in the journal, but he pointed out that the world of journals and magazines is changing, primarily due to electronic publishing. Stanford's HighWire Press produces the web version of Science.
"Science is the voice of the scientific community -- for more than of -- not only in this country but abroad as well, and as our society becomes more complicated and demanding, the journal Science becomes more important in shaping public policy. I find that terribly interesting."
Kennedy said he would probably spend part of each month at the journal's offices in Washington, D.C., which also will give him time with his eldest daughter, Page, and two grandchildren who live there.
Kennedy holds bachelor's and doctoral degrees in biology from Harvard. He focused his research on animal behavior and neurobiology -- in particular, the mechanisms by which animals generate and control patterned motor output. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1960.
"Graham DuShane, then professor of biology at Stanford, left to become editor of Science, and I got his job," Kennedy noted.
In the 1960s and '70s, Kennedy served on National Research Council committees and chaired a major study on alternatives to chemical pest control in agriculture and public health. He also was a senior consultant in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
From 1977 to 1979, he served as commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, dealing with the rise of such issues as the banning of saccharin, the effort to legalize the untested cancer remedy laetrile, and the problems presented by the widespread use of antibiotics in animal feeds. He drew widespread praise from regulated industries and consumer groups.
Kennedy works on a number of health and environmental policy issues at Stanford, where he has won awards for his teaching. He is founding director of the Health Effects Institute, a non-profit research organization devoted to mobile source emissions, and a member of AAAS, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Sciences. He currently serves the National Research Council as chairman of the Center for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education, and he chairs the board of directors of Children Now.
A selection committee of top scientists, chaired by Alice Huang of California Institute of Technology, performed a nationwide search for the editor and passed on a final list of candidates to the AAAS board, who unanimously chose Kennedy during its meeting Oct. 29-30.
Science, one of the most
frequently cited scientific journals, has the highest paid
circulation of any and a staff of 115, including Ph.D. editors and
science journalists who write a science news section. It was
established by Thomas Edison and since 1900 has been the official
journal of AAAS, the world's largest federation of scientists.