With more refreshing words about what he thinks science is, and the role science can play in shaping society and steering the country forward, Barack Obama announced several key science posts today. One of them is a physicist, by the way. (“Excellent…”, cvj rubs hands together with a gleam in his eye, “…all going according to plan.”)
Here’s a YouTube video of the announcement:
From an AFP piece by Maxim Kniazkov:
“Today, more than ever before, science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation,” Obama said in a weekly radio and video address.
“It’s time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and worked to restore America’s place as the world leader in science and technology.”
Obama’s comments were a clear reference to President George W. Bush’s administration which has been accused of downplaying scientific findings on climate change and genetic research.
Signaling a break with Bush’s policies on global warming, Obama named John Holdren, an award-winning environmental policy professor at Harvard University, to head the Office of Science and Technology Policy and co-chair the president’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Underscoring the importance of genetic research, the president-elect also named Eric Lander and Harold Varmus as co-chairmen of the council of advisors.
Lander and Varmus are major figures in their fields, and Varmus will be the second Nobel Prize winner in the list of nominees for the new administration. Furthermore:
The nominees also include Jane Lubchenco, a world-renowned environmental expert and marine biologist from Oregon, who will head up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency that monitors global weather patterns and issues major storm forecasts.
This all continues to hold such promise for the return of reason to the White House. Very exciting indeed.