The Future of Science in Illinois


What do the recent funding cuts for Argonne National Laboratory and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory mean for the economy in general and the future of Illinois’ scientific community in particular?

This was the official launch event for C2ST, and the featured speaker was Robert Rosner, Ph.D., director of Argonne National Laboratory and president of UChicago Argonne, LLC.

Rosner’s topic is a subject of intense interest among the Illinois scientific community in light of the funding cuts that occurred when Congress and President Bush hammered out a compromise omnibus budget at the close of 2007. Argonne and Fermilab are the engines that drive science, technology and knowledge economy growth in Illinois. Together the labs attract almost $900 million annually in federal research funding, employ almost 5,000 Illinois residents, provide scientific programming to more than 20,000 students annually and maintain U.S. competitiveness/leadership in the global economy.

The funding cutbacks will:

  • Result in more than 200 layoffs at Fermilab alone
  • Reduce Argonne and Fermilab capabilities to serve the business and academic communities in Illinois, the nation and the world
  • Deliver a blow to Illinois’ and America’s leadership in high-energy physics, and to the credibility of the United States as a partner in global scientific projects
  • Likely prompt high-tech companies to go abroad to conduct the research they need to develop products

Rosner, a renowned astrophysicist, was chief scientist at Argonne before being named director in 2005. He has served as the University of Chicago’s William E. Wrather Distinguished Service Professor since 1998, and before that he was the chairman of the university’s astronomy and astrophysics department from 1991 to 1997.

About Robert Rosner
Robert Rosner, an internationally recognized astrophysicist, has been director of Argonne National Laboratory since April 2005 and is president of UChicago Argonne, LLC.

Prior to his position as director of Argonne, he served as chief scientist at the institution since 2002. He was chairman of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago from 1991 to 1997, and since 1998 has been the university’s William E. Wrather Distinguished Service Professor.

Rosner was the Rothschild Visiting Professor at the Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University in 2004. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001, and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University (1976) and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Brandeis University (1969).

Most of Rosner’s scientific work has been related to astrophysical fluid dynamics and plasma physics problems. Much of his current work involves developing new numerical simulation tools for modeling astrophysical phenomena, as well as validating these simulations using terrestrial laboratory experiments.

He led the U.S. Department of Energy-funded Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes in Chicago from 1997 until 2002.

Rosner’s many scientific community services include current positions on the External Advisory Committee for the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Steering Committee of the Interagency Task Force on High Energy Density Physics, the Scientific Advisory Committees for the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Lindau, Germany, and the Astrophysical Institute in Potsdam, Germany.

As head of Argonne National Laboratory, Rosner is an opinion leader on several subjects, including energy research and development, accelerator science, computational science and nanotechnology. His interviews have appeared on CBS, National Public Radio and in E&E News, and he has been featured in Inside Energy and The Energy Daily newsletters and locally in Crain’s Chicago Business, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Rosner is married to Marsha R. Rosner, an internationally recognized researcher in cancer biology and the director of the Ben May Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Chicago. The Rosners have two daughters and reside in Chicago.

Event Details

Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Chicago Cultural Center

Keynote Speaker:
Robert Rosner, Ph.D.
Director, Argonne National Laboratory
President, UChicago Argonne, LLC