U.S. President Barack Obama has tapped a University of B.C. professor for a top science and technology post at the White House.

Carl Wieman, who won the 2001 Nobel Prize in physics, was nominated by Obama as associate director for science, in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

According to protocol, Wieman cannot do interviews until the U.S. Senate confirms him in the position.

“I am grateful that these exceptional individuals have chosen to dedicate their talents to serving the American people,” Obama said in a press release.

“I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

Wieman was lured to UBC in 2007 as professor of physics and director of the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative. The $12-million venture is aimed at changing the way science is taught at the school.

If confirmed by the Senate, Weiman, who heads a similar initiative at the University of Colorado, will take an unpaid leave of absence.

He is expected to return to UBC on the completion of his service with the Obama administration.

In a release, University president Stephen Toope said Wieman’s teaching methods have touched more than 18,000 UBC students.

“His work here has attracted attention from around the world,” Toope said. “So we are not surprised that President Obama would seek him out for this position.”