Bruce Alberts recently finished a distinguished 12-year run as president of the National Academy of Sciences. Among his many accomplishments, Bruce played a key role in a successful development program that enhanced NAS’s financial strength and independence, the overhaul of the National Research Council’s procedures for selecting committee members and conducting studies that significantly increased openness and public participation, and the creation of the InterAcademy Council, an organization that will enable many of the world’s academies of sciences to work together to help address critical global concerns.
But no NAS activity was closer to Bruce’s heart than his tireless efforts to improve the quality of science and math education, particularly in grades K-12. He led the NAS effort to forge national standards for science education and helped found the Center for Education at the Academies and the independent Strategic Education Research Partnership to ensure that reform efforts continue.
Above all else, Bruce preached the virtue of hands-on exploratory science learning. His goal was to replace a system that buried passive students in facts with a process in which active students discovered the adventure and excitement of scientific discovery.