Center for Science and Democracy Steering Committee


Lewis M. Branscomb

His current academic appointments are: Prof., emeritus, JFK School of Government, Harvard University; Prof., Adjunct, UCSD School of International Relations & Pacific Studies;

Distinguished Research Fellow, Institute Global of Conflict & Cooperation, Univ. of Cal.  He graduated in Physics and Mathematics at Duke University, served in the U. S. Navy at the end of WWII, Received his PhD in physics at Harvard University, and was elected a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows (1049-2051). He joined the staff of the National Bureau of Standards, was co-founder of the JILA laboratory in Boulder CO in 1962, returned to the NBS as Director in 1969. In 1972 he became Vice President and Chief Scientist of the IBM company, retiring in 1987 to serve as Director of the Program on Science, Technology and Public Policy and Etna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management at the Harvard J. F. Kennedy School of Government. 

He has served four Presidents in various capacities, and is an elected member of the National Academies of Science and of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. Author or co-author of 12 books and 450 academic papers, his current research interests are the study of science based innovation, public policies to mitigate risks of terrorism, and most recently how the ethics of science can encourage more rational, transparent, and fact-based public policies in our democracy.


Veronica Eady

Veronica Eady is the Vice President and Director of the Healthy Communities & Environmental Justice Program at the Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation (CLF). Veronica joined CLF after spending nearly five years in Berlin, Germany working as a consultant specializing in environmental justice and human rights on global, national, and local levels. Prior to her move abroad, Veronica was Associate General Counsel and Director of Environmental Justice at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, a non-profit civil rights law firm in New York City. Veronica has deep ties to New England, having served as Director of the Environmental Justice and Brownfields Programs for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, where she was the principal author of Massachusetts' Environmental Justice Policy. Before that Veronica was the Executive Director of the Roxbury-based environmental justice advocacy organization, Alternatives for Community and Environment. Veronica has held appointments on several faculties, including Europe-Viadriana University in Germany, Tufts University, in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Fordham Law School, and Stanford Law School. She is the former chair of EPA's federal advisory committee for environmental justice, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council


Peter Frumhoff (ex officio member)

Peter C. Frumhoff is director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), and chief scientist of the UCS climate campaign. He ensures that UCS brings robust science to bear on our efforts to strengthen public policies, with a particular focus on climate change.

A global change ecologist, Dr. Frumhoff has published and lectured widely on topics including climate change impacts, climate science and policy, tropical forest conservation and management, and biological diversity. He was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) 2007 Fourth Assessment Report and the 2000 IPCC Special Report on Land Use, Land-use Change and Forestry, and served as chair of the 2007 Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA). He serves on the American Wind Wildlife Institute’s board of directors and the Coalition for Rainforest Nations’ scientific advisory committee, and is a member of the Harvard University Center for the Environment.

Dr. Frumhoff has taught at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Harvard University, and the University of Maryland. He also served as an AAAS Science and Diplomacy Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development, where he designed and led conservation and rural development programs in Latin America and East Africa. He holds a Ph.D. in ecology and an M.A. in zoology from the University of California–Davis and a B.A. in psychology from the University of California–San Diego.


Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer became president of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, California, in September 2012.

Before joining the Foundation, Mr. Kramer served from 2004 to 2012 as Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean of Stanford Law School. During his tenure, he spearheaded significant educational reforms, pioneering a new model of multidisciplinary legal studies. He also enlarged the clinical education program to promote reflective lawyering, an approach that seeks to integrate theory and practice as well as encourage self-reflection, and revamped programs to foster a public service ethos. He further developed the international law program to support a growing emphasis on globalization in legal practice. His teaching and scholarly interests include American legal history, constitutional law, federalism, separation of powers, the federal courts, conflict of laws, and civil procedure.

At the start of his career, Mr. Kramer served as law clerk to U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Henry J. Friendly of the Second Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Following his clerkships, Mr. Kramer served as professor of law at the University of Chicago and University of Michigan law schools. He joined the faculty of New York University School of Law in 1994, where he served as Associate Dean for Research and Academics and Russell D. Niles Professor of Law until leaving for Stanford in 2004. Until joining Stanford, he also served as a special consultant for Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP.

Mr. Kramer is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Law Institute. He serves on the board of directors of Equal Justice Works, a nonprofit organization that helps advance public interest law.

Mr. Kramer received an A.B. in Psychology and Religious Studies from Brown University, graduating magna cum laude in 1980, and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, magna cum laude, in 1984. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review.


Neal Lane

Dr. Neal Lane, Malcolm Gillis University Professor at Rice University, holds appointments as Senior Fellow of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Lane served in the Clinton Administration as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, from August 1998 to January 2001, and as Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), from October 1993 to August 1998.

Before becoming NSF Director, Lane was Professor of Physics at Rice University Provost and Provost, a position he had held since 1986.  He first came to Rice in 1966, when he joined the Department of Physics as an assistant professor.  In 1972, he became Professor of Physics and Space Physics and Astronomy.  He left Rice from mid-1984 to 1986 to serve as Chancellor of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.  In addition, from 1979 to 1980, while on leave from Rice, he worked at the NSF as Director of the Division of Physics. Lane received his B.S., M.S., and PhD (1964) in physics at the University of Oklahoma.  His thesis advisor was Chun C. Lin (currently at the University of Wisconsin - Madison).

Lane is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Women in Science. He has been awarded over a dozen honorary degrees and received several other honors, including in 2009, the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, the American Institute of Physics K.T. Compton Medal for Leadership in Physics, and the Association of Rice Alumni Gold Medal for service to Rice University. In 2011 he received the Distinguished Friend of Science Award from the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA).

Neal and his wife, Joni, have two children, John Lane and Christy Saydjari, and four grandchildren, Matthew and Jessica Lane, and Alex Saydjari and Allia (Saydjari) Rodriguez.


James J. McCarthy (ex officio member)

James J. McCarthy currently serves as chair of the Board of Directors for UCS. He is the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography and from 1982 until 2002 he was the Director of Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ).  He holds faculty appointments in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB) and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS). He was one of the architects of Harvard’s undergraduate degree program in Environmental Science and Public Policy (ESPP), and he served as Head Tutor in this field of study for a dozen years. He is also past Master of Harvard's Pforzheimer House. 

McCarthy received his undergraduate degree in biology from Gonzaga University, and his Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  His research interests relate to the regulation of plankton productivity in the sea, and in recent years have focused on regions that are strongly affected by seasonal and inter-annual variation in climate. He is an author of many scientific papers, and he currently teaches courses on biological oceanography and biogeochemical cycles, marine ecosystems, and global change and human health.

From 1986 to 1993, McCarthy served as the first chair of the international committee that establishes research priorities and oversees implementation of the International Geosphere - Biosphere Program (IGBP).  From 1986 to 1989 he served as the founding editor for the American Geophysical Union's Global Biogeochemical Cycles.  For the past two decades McCarthy has worked as an author, reviewer, and as a co-chair with the Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  For the Third IPCC Assessment, he headed Working Group II, which had responsibilities for assessing impacts of and vulnerabilities to global climate change.  He was also one of the lead authors on the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, and a Vice-Chair of the 2007 Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment.

McCarthy has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He is the recipient of the New England Aquarium’s David B. Stone award for distinguished service to the environment and the community.  He is past president and chair of the Board of Directors of the AAAS, our nation’s largest scientific association.


Ron Sims

Appointed by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Ron Sims served as the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2009 to 2011. As the second most senior official at HUD, Sims managed the day-to-day operations of an agency with 8,500 employees and an operating budget of nearly $40 billion.

Prior to his appointment at HUD, Sims served for 12 years as the elected Executive of Martin Luther King, Jr. County in Washington State, the 13th largest county in the nation with 1.8 million residents and 39 cities including the cities of Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond.

As County Executive, Sims was nationally recognized for his work on the integration of environmental, social equity and public health policies that produced groundbreaking work on climate change, health care reform, affordable housing, mass transit, environmental protection, land use, and equity and social justice. Sims was named Leader of the Year by American City and County Magazine in July, 2008 and was recognized as one of Governing Magazine's Government Officials of the Year in 2007. He has been honored with national awards by the Sierra Club and the Environmental Protection Agency. He is the recipient of Group Health's Innovators in Health Award. Sims joined Senator Edward Kennedy and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as recipients of the 2008 Health Quality Award from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Sims was appointed in 2011 by Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire to serve on the Board of Regents of Washington State University. The board of regents is the university's governing body. Sims was also appointed by Governor Gregoire to serve on the Puget Sound Leadership Council, a seven-member citizen group that governs the Puget Sound Partnership, a state agency coordinating with federal, state, local, tribal and private resources in restoring the ecological health of Washington state's largest estuary. Sims rejoined the Board of Directors of the Puget Sound Health Alliance, a nonprofit organization he helped found where employers, physicians, hospitals, patients, health plan providers and others from throughout the five largest counties in Washington state come together to improve health care quality.

Born in Spokane, Washington in 1948, Sims is a graduate of Central Washington University.

We Need Your Support
to Make Change Happen

We can ensure that decisions about our health, safety, and environment are based on the best available science—but not without you. Your generous support helps develop science-based solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.