Norman was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Washington in linguistics and holds an M.A. from Oxford University in Russian Language and Literature. During his service in the U.S. Air Force, he attended the Defense Language School in Monterrey California, where he studied Polish. He is a Rhodes Scholar.
Norman joined the Foreign Service in 1963, serving in Australia and Poland. In 1974, he moved over to the Civil Service and later became an official in the Senior Executive Service. In addition to the State Department, he worked during his government career in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and NASA. He was Director of International Affairs in NASA, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Science and Technology and Assistant Director for Non-Proliferation in ACDA. He retired from the government in 1987 as Associate Administrator of NASA. Throughout his academic and government career he translated part time and took up the profession full time when he retired from government.
Norman reads Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian, Polish and Modern Greek. His government career gave him in-depth exposure to a number of technical and legal fields, including nuclear engineering, aerospace technology, regulatory law and mathematical statistics.
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