Mr. Professor Goes to Washington

For Daniel J. Kaniewski, the magic formula needed to redirect his career path from anonymous academic researcher to presidential policy adviser was only 719 words long.

A single newspaper column that he wrote in April 2005 succinctly criticized the Department of Homeland Security's disaster-preparation plans. A few months later, a White House official called Mr. Kaniewski at his George Washington University office and offered him a choice of five staff jobs.

"The deputy