boston.com News your connection to The Boston Globe

D. Allan Bromley, physicist, top US science adviser; at 79

NEW HAVEN -- Nuclear physicist D. Allan Bromley, a Yale University professor and an architect of US science policy during the first Bush administration, died Feb. 10 of a heart attack, a Yale spokeswoman said. He was 79.

As top science adviser to President George H. W. Bush from 1989 to 1993, Mr. Bromley pushed for sizable increases in funding for research in a race to keep US manufacturing ahead of Japan and Germany.

He supported the expansion of the high-speed network that became the Internet and, after questioning the science behind global warming for years, he was credited with ultimately persuading Bush to attend a summit on the issue.

"My respect for the job he did as science adviser to the president knew no limits," the former president said in a statement released Friday night. "Allan had a wonderful way of making friends, and in my view, he was a truly great leader in the US scientific community. I know I felt privileged to have him at my side when I was president."

"Allan was a giant in science and technology policy," said Michael Boskin, who served as chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. "He got all of us to think long and hard about what the appropriate role should be in funding research and development."

Serving both as Bush's science and technology adviser and as chairman of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Mr. Bromley was seen as one of the most influential science advisers ever.

"He did have the president's ear," John H. Sununu, Bush's former chief of staff, said Friday. "He understood that the decisions were the president's, but he gave the president his best advice rather directly. That made him a superb adviser on hard issues."

Mr. Bromley was an early champion of what he called the "data superhighway," which later became the Internet.

"Ten years from now," Mr. Bromley said in 1991, "I'd like it to be widely available and looked upon like the telephone network."

"It originally was a network of seven or eight universities," Sununu said. "He understood its value, both as a medium for exchanging information and as a medium to create a global means of communication.

Born in Ontario, Mr. Bromley became a US citizen in 1970 under some unusual circumstances.

"I had been shown the deepest, darkest secret known in the United States out at the Weapons Flats in Nevada. And just about the time it was all finished, someone said, 'Oh my God, Bromley is not a citizen,' " Mr. Bromley recalled in a 1992 interview with the Toronto Star.

A judge was dispatched, and Mr. Bromley was hurriedly sworn in, he said.

Before being appointed to the Bush Cabinet, Mr. Bromley sat on President Reagan's White House Science Council and served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In 1988, he received the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest scientific award.

Recently, he criticized the current Bush administration for cutting funding for the sciences.

"Congress must increase the federal investment in science," he wrote in a 2001 New York Times op-ed article. "No science, no surplus. It's that simple."

SEARCH THE ARCHIVES
 
Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives