Comment »Posted on Saturday 20 December 2008 at 6:22 pm by Jacob Aron
In Getting It Right, Science Policy

President-elect Barack Obama has chosen the scientists who will help shape his administation’s science policy. In his latest weekly address, he lays out the importance of science for the future of America, and introduces the new team:

(You can read the full text of the address here.)

It includes Dr. John Holdren who will serve as Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, a physicist known for his work on climate and energy – two of the most important scientific areas for America today.

Joining him on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technologywill be Dr. Harold Varmus, who won a Nobel Prize for research into the causes of cancer, and Dr. Eric Lander, who worked towards sequencing the human genome.

Finally, Dr. Jane Lubchenco will be Administrator the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is in charge of conserving marine and coastal resources as well as monitoring the weather.

It’s a refreshing change to see Obama surrounding himself with knowledgeable men and women in order to properly inform himself about the scientific issues at hand. Hopefully the new team will hit the ground running – unlike under Bush’s watch, who’s science advisor wasn’t even appointed until 10 months in to his administration.

A slight tangent, but an interesting point nonetheless, is how I learnt of this news. It wasn’t from the mainstream media – indeed, a glance at major news outlets seems to show that they aren’t even running the story. Rather, I picked it up from The Intersection blog (I’m currently reading Chris Mooney’s book The Republican War on Science, so look for a review soonish), and then watched the video on Youtube to hear the news straight from the man himself. Obama truly is the internet President, and I’m extremely interested to see how his use of technology will shape his administration.


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