Another kind of Many-Body Problem - experiences of a Physicist in the United States Congress
Congressman Bill Foster
After a 25 year career in high energy and accelerator physics, in 2008 Bill Foster ran for Congress for the Illinois 14th district, and has twice been elected to represent this diverse district. His talk highlights some of his success and frustrations in Congress, and offers his suggestions on how scientists can help shape good policy, and how their skills can be applied to national opportunities and challenges. Dr. Foster received his BA in Physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1975 and his Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University in 1983. He has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society, received the Rossi Prize for Cosmic Ray Physics for the discovery of the neutrino burst from Supernova SN1987a, received the Particle Accelerator Technology Prize from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and was awarded an Energy Conservation award from the U.S. Department of Energy for his invention and application of permanent magnets for Fermilab's accelerators. He is currently serving in his second term of office, after winning two elections for office in 2008. In a nationally watched race, Rep. Foster won a special election in March 2008 to complete the term of former Republican Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. In addition to being a bell weather for races to come, this win earned him the distinction of being the first Democrat to represent the 14th District since the 1970s. Rep. Foster followed up his March victory with another 16-point win in November 2008, and was sworn-in on January 3, 2009.