Neal Francis Lane

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Neal Francis Lane (born August 22, 1938), is a U.S. physicist. He served as provost of Rice University and served as Science Advisor to the President of the United States. He has written extensively on theoretical physics and technology policy for the James Baker Institute at Rice University.


Lane was born in Oklahoma City and earned his undergraduate degree and PhD from the University of Oklahoma. He had a distinguished rise through academic circles, earning many fellowships and awards. He became an assistant professor of physics at Rice University in 1966 and the became a full professor in 1972. In 1979, while on leave, he worked at the National Science Foundation as Director of the Division of Physics. He officially left Rice in 1984 to serve as Chancellor of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He returned to Rice in 1986 to become provost of the university, a position he held for six years.

Lane left Rice again to become director of National Science Foundation in October 1993, a post he held until August 1998. During this time he was also an ex officio member of the National Science Board. He was then appointed Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Bill Clinton from August 1998 to January 2001.

When President Clinton's term ended, Lane returned once again to Rice, where he now lectures in physics and public policy.

Lane also serves as a Senior Fellow at the Baker Institute alongside Dr. Kirstin Matthews with a focus on science and technology policy.

In 2009 Lane was awarded National Academy of Sciences' most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal.[1]

He currently[when?] serves on the board of advisors of Scientists and Engineers for America, an organization focused on promoting sound science in American government. He is also a trustee of the education non-profit Reasoning Mind.

Neal Lane is married and has two children.

Preceded by
Walter Massey
Director of the National Science Foundation
Succeeded by
Rita Colwell


  1. ^ "Public Welfare Award". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 18 February 2011. [dead link]

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