Scientists on Presidential Choices

From Janet Raloff’s post at Science News, I learned a bit about the sixty one Nobel Laureates signing the open letter to everyone about Obama’s science policy. I quote (see her post for more):

Yesterday, Obama’s campaign released “an open letter to the American people” signed by 61 Nobel laureates. All received their award for achievements in physics (22), chemistry (14), or medicine (25).

In their letter, they argue that during the past eight years, “vital parts of our country’s scientific enterprise have been damaged by stagnant or declining federal support. The government’s scientific advisory process has been distorted by political considerations.”

Commenting on Obama’s stump rhetoric, they point “in particular” to measures that the Illinois senator said that he plans to implement to meet national and global needs “through new initiatives in education and training, expanded research funding, an unbiased process for obtaining scientific advice, and an appropriate balance of basic and applied research.”

For more information on what the campaigns have been promising on science, see my post on the responses of both candidates to the ScienceDebate2008 team‘s list of questions.

More to come on that front, I imagine. Can’t wait to see McCain’s science posse.

Of course, given what’s happening daily with the financial system, $700 billion rescue packages and so forth, I am not convinced that Obama, were he president, will have anything left to spend on science, or health care reform, or alternative energy research. Or anything else that he says good things about. This could end up being a stagnant presidency where all that can be done is weather the storm. And nobody ever thanks you for just steadily holding things together in that job. So I see the opportunity for a great presidency slipping away. My own Clinton-then-Obama strategy of last year (she, as president, fixes some of the last eight years’ mess and makes ready for the visionary move forward to be done by his presidency following) is looking attractive again. Oh well. All a fantasy now. Gotta work with what you’ve got.


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3 Responses to Scientists on Presidential Choices

  1. DJ Strouse says:

    I don’t know whether Obama will have the time or energy to focus on science and education (though they may offer long-term solutions to the very immediate problems he’ll have to deal with).

    But I do know that if McCain wins, many of my friends (both American and foreign) currently studying the sciences at American universities have stated that they expect many opportunities to close off and are much more likely to leave the States for grad school and beyond.

    Losing our science grads is exactly the type of trend that might bury America right now. Many have complained for years over our decline in the sciences, and I honestly believe that, though we may not have the chance to turn everything around in this election, we do indeed have the opportunity to throw it all away.

  2. Yvette says:

    I noticed in the debate last Friday that Obama made a point to mention how important science and technology are for our country, and how he would support funds for it and for students to go to college to study science. Not exactly a typical remark for a presidential candidate to make in the middle of a debate, eh?

  3. Clifford says:

    Yes, it was nice to see in a prime time debate. Very encouraging. It has to be said that words are cheap, of course. Let’s see what happens.