James A. Thomson
Honorary Degree Recipient
- Doctor of Science, Purdue University 1992
Dr. Thomson is President and Chief Executive Officer of the RAND Corporation based in Santa Monica, California. Jim Thomson graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1967. He subsequently received his MS and PhD degrees in nuclear physics from Purdue University in 1972. Dr. Thomson's thesis work explored a new model independent technique to measure the electric structure of collective states in excited nuclei. From 1972-1974 he conceived and carried out basic research in experimental nuclear physics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
In 1974 he became an operations research analyst in the office of the Secretary of Defense. His studies pertained to U.S. and NATO forces in Europe: namely the assessment of the balance of forces in Europe and the negotiations on mutual and Balanced Force reduction.
In 1977 he became the National Security Council (NSC) staff member principally responsible for policy implementation of defense and arms control matter related to Europe. (Zbigniew Brzezinski headed the NSC during the Carter Administration).
Dr. Thomson is an internationally known expert on defense and arms control issues. He has played a leading role in initiating and directing analyses that later led to the intermediate range missile treaty which began the deescalation of the nuclear arms deployment in Europe. At RAND he also continues his work as a researcher in the field of arms control.
Excerpted from the nomination letter by Professors Rolf P. Scharenberg, Paul Simms, and Frank Rickey, October 7, 1991