Ellen Williams (PhD ’82) Nominated as Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy

Williams is currently the Chief Scientist for BP, a position she has held since 2010.  She is on a leave of absence from the University of Maryland where she is a physics professor.  

Created in 2007, ARPA-E awards funding grants to energy research projects deemed too early for private investment. The program is modeled on Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), whose director, Arati Prabhakar (PhD ’85) also studied at Caltech.

Williams has served as a professor in the department of physics at the University of Maryland since 1991.  She founded the University of Maryland Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and served as its director from 1996 through 2009.  Williams received a B.S. in Chemistry from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Caltech.

This marks the second nomination of a Caltech graduate to a top scientific post this year. In August, President Obama named France Cordova (PhD ’79) to head the National Science Foundation.