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Science Team Announced

What's new this week?

In a change from what I usually try to write about, significant announcements were made today that will affect the future of our capabilities in science and technology. This week President-Elect Obama has announced his science team in his weekly radio address. Without spin, it has been put up on YouTube:

My Own Observations

I do not want to read to much into these appointments as I believe the future actions of these appointees will speak more loudly than just their appointments. But I do have a few observations to make.

It appears that the coming administration will seek advice based on science, and pragmatism rather than ideology which is a stark contrast to the current Bush administration. While President Bush waited a year before filling the science advisor position late in 2001, President-Elect Obama has filled up the science advisor position before even officially taking office. This is important because under President George W. Bush, many of the important science policies were crafted already by the time the science advisor position was filled. Under the new administration, it looks like that the science team will be an integral part in coming up with policies as they are being crafted. The early appointment is unprecedented but has to be seen in the light that all his cabinet positions were filled early given the economic circumstances we find ourselves in.

In terms of appointments, with Stephen Chu (Secretary of Energy), John Holdren (Science Advisor), Harold Varmus and Eric Lander (Co-Chair for Council of Advisers on Science and Technology), and Jane Lubchenco (Head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), strong, prominent scientists have been selected - 2 are Nobel Prize Laureates! The appointments come from the physical sciences (alternative energy sources in particular), life sciences (genomics) and climate research and suggest that these fields in particular will be emphasized.

I'll update this post later as I am finding out more information on each appointment, but meanwhile I wanted to share this bit with everyone as quickly as possible.

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