Air Force Chief Scientist Addresses Final Hanscom Sigma Xi Banquet

Photos by Donal Hunton

Air Force Chief Scientist Dr. Mark T. Maybury addressed more than 60 attendees at the Hanscom Sigma Xi Chapter Banquet April 30, 2011 at the Radisson Heritage Hotel in Chelmsford, Mass., during what was the final meeting of the chapter’s 59-year history.

Sigma Xi, the 125-year-old national honor society of research scientists and engineers, fosters research, education and interaction among science-based disciplines. The Hanscom chapter was established in 1952, and has consisted of 100 to 200 scientific and engineering researchers from the Air Force Research Laboratory units at Hanscom, as well as industrial and university partners in eastern Massachusetts. 

Dr. Maybury’s keynote address, “Smart People, Smart Systems, Smart Power,” noted that 50 to 80 percent of American economic growth results from new science and technology, and that the science and technology is created by only four percent of the country’s population. Therefore, Dr. Maybury said, “it is imperative that American society support S&T, especially basic research.” 

He noted that federal support of basic research has not been cut, even though today’s economic environment is tough. Inter- and cross-disciplinary research, especially in energy and systems management, Dr. Maybury said, will receive increasing attention from the Air Force and Department of Defense. Dr. Maybury was a former executive of the MITRE Corporation and graduated from Chelmsford High School.

The Hanscom Sigma Xi Chapter is being dissolved because the Hanscom-based AFRL divisions are being moved to Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio and Kirtland AFB, N.M.  The decision to relocate the labs is a result of the Department of Defense’s 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process.

During the banquet, Dr. Paul H. Carr, president of the Hanscom chapter, presented a plaque to Dr. Jerome Baker, executive director of Sigma Xi.

For 59 years the Hanscom chapter has fostered excellence in the Department of Defense sciences of electromagnetics, electronics, geophysics and solid-state,” Dr. Carr said.  


The plaque cites the 59 years of research and development achievements by members of the chapter, and it will be installed at Sigma Xi headquarters in Durham, N.C.

After the presentation to Dr. Baker, Drs. Robert Hartwell and Irving Michael were acknowledged for their service to the chapter. Drs. Hartwell and Michael have been secretary and treasurer, respectively, of the Hanscom chapter since 1985. Also acknowledged was service by the chapter’s recent presidents, Drs. Edward Altshuler, Donald Hunton. Paul Carr, Tony Midey, and Steven Mittleman.