Obama names science team


Washington : US president-elect Barack Obama Saturday named his top scientific advisors, including a climate expert, a Nobel prize winning cancer researcher and a researcher involved in mapping the human genome.

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The team will be led by John Holdren as assistant to the president for science and technology and the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

“Whether its the science to slow global warming; the technology to protect our troops and confront bio-terror and weapons of mass destruction; the research to find life-saving cures; or the innovations to remake our industries and create twenty-first century jobs ­ 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 his weekly radio 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.”

Holdren, a physicist who has worked on climate and energy issues, is a professor at Harvard University, where he leads a programme on science, technology and public policy. He served on former president Bill Clinton’s science advisory team and is president of the Woods Hole Research Centre, which does environmental research. He gave the acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize for the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, for which he served as chair for a decade.

Eric Lander, known for his work on mapping the human genome, and Harold Varmus, who won the Nobel Prize for his cancer research, will co-chair the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Obama said he foresees making the council “into a vigorous external advisory council that will shape my thinking on scientific aspects of my policy priorities.”

He also nominated scientist Jane Lubchenco to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).