Keynote Speaker - 2017
Previous Speakers: 2021
U.S. Representative Bill Foster [D-IL] 11th Congressional District
Congressman Bill Foster is a scientist and businessman representing the 11th Congressional District of Illinois. He previously served from March 2008 until January 2011 as the Representative of the Illinois 14th Congressional District. Foster is the only physicist in Congress.
Foster serves on the House Committee on Financial Services, a position he also held in the 110th and 111th Congress, and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Foster participated in the creation of several important reforms in the financial services and housing sectors, most notably the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Serving on the committee will provide Foster with an opportunity to ensure the effective implementation of these reforms, and to advocate for the needs of his constituents as the committee considers additional financial service and housing related proposals.
Congressman Foster’s business career began at age 19 when he and his younger brother co-founded Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc., a company that now manufactures over half of the theater lighting equipment in the United States.
His scientific career was as a high-energy physicist and particle accelerator designer at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab). He was a member of the team that discovered the top quark, the heaviest known form of matter. He also led the teams that designed and built several scientific facilities and detectors still in use today, including the Recycler Ring, the latest of Fermilab's giant particle accelerators. When he first ran for Congress, his campaign was endorsed by 31 Nobel Prize Winners.
Foster lives in Naperville with his wife Aesook, who is also a physicist. He has two grown children, Billy and Christine. His father was a civil rights lawyer who wrote much of the enforcement language behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964.