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Rumors are swirling that MIT’s Dean of Engineering, Subra Suresh ScD ’81, may be the new director of the National Science Foundation.

Science reported early afternoon Friday that Suresh “has been tapped by the White House” for the position, replacing Arden Bement, Jr., who is stepping down from his six year term. But that same day, Nature followed up with a counterpoint, “New NSF director selected … or not … yet,” questioning the meaning of “tapped.” The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy claimed no decision had been made, Nature said.

Suresh did not return inquiries on Monday afternoon, but The Tech heard back from Chad J. Galts, a spokesman for the School of Engineering.

Galts said there was “nothing to say” until a official statement was issued by the NSF or the White House.

Science and Galts both mentioned Suresh’s background as a working scientist while carrying the heavy load of Dean of Engineering. Suresh maintains an active research group in nanobiomechanics, and his work covers human diseases, including malaria. See http://sureshgroup.mit.edu/.

Suresh has been Dean since 2007, when he replaced Institute Professor Thomas L. Magnanti, who served since 1999. Suresh previously served as department head for Course III, Materials Science and Engineering, from 2000 to 2006.