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Edward A. Knapp (1932- )

Photo of Edward A. Knapp, the seventh NSF director.

Edward A. Knapp

Credit: NSF Collection

The seventh director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) served from November 1982 to August 1984. Although relatively unknown to most of the scientific community when nominated by President Ronald Reagan, Knapp was praised by those who were familiar with him as "a first-class scientist, well-educated, with extensive management experience."

Knapp received his B.A. from Pomona College in 1954 and his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1958. He then joined the staff of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he remained until coming to NSF in 1982. At the NSF he briefly served as Assistant Director for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate before becoming director.

During his tenure, the briefest of any director, the NSF budget increased 38 percent. However, he did not enjoy being an administrator, and left the NSF to return to research.