December 20th, 2008
05:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama names science and technology team

Obama named his science team Saturday.

Obama named his science team Saturday.

(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama named his science and technology team Saturday with a pledge to ensure that “facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology.”

“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,” he said in his Saturday radio address, in an apparent offhand swipe at President Bush.

“It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient,” Obama said, adding that government support had been essential for the greatest scientific breakthroughs of recent history, like the development of the Internet. “Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us."

Obama announced that Harvard University professor John Holdren will serve as assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Environmental scientist and marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco of Oregon State University was his pick for administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The president-elect also named Nobel Prize-winning Harold Varmus, a former Director of the National Institutes of Health, and Eric Lander of MIT and Harvard, a leader of the Human Genome Project, as co-chairs of the Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Filed under: Obama transition
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. fred

    Of course science is important. However, people choose the careers they want, and people are choosing to be what they want to be nowadays. In india, standards are so much higher, and parents push their kids to get all A grades in school, etc, etc, and then those students go into math and science, because that's what everyone else is doing. Here in America, not as many people go after those jobs. More people take up education, music, and business careers here, because that is what they like to do. Obama won't be able to do anything about that.

    Now, what we do need to do is put more money back in the space program, which is something Obama wants to DELAY restarting after the shuttle program ends in 2010. Constellation, the next NASA program, is set to start in 2015. However, Obama wants it delayed 5 years. "The early education plan will be paid for by delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years" Those are Obama's words. I really don't think Obama cares so much about our space program if that's what he's going to cut money from in order to help his education program. The space program is the key to all the other sciences and technology. We wouldn't have the internet, cell phones, PDAs, GPS, or any of these things without the space program. Obama doesn't understand this I guess.

    December 20, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. Slider


    Because listening to scientists is imminently more appropriate, though their findings changes with facts over time, or the need for more funding for "research" grants.

    As opposed to say, common sense, which is a quality I'm sure Obama has very little of.

    December 20, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. "John Wayne"

    Well the boy talks a good game. I think I will try for a Gov't Grant.

    I want to study the effects of corn poping thru the soil on the enviroment.

    December 20, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. fred

    Obama wants to cut funding for NASA. How is he for sciences again?? OBAMA IS ALL TALK PEOPLE!!!!!! Don't listen to his words without researching his plans. He says we wouldn't have internet, etc without science. How about we wouldn't have any of those things without the space program, which BUSH actually helped, while Obama wants to kill the space program until 2020.

    Obama is all talk.

    December 20, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. Blue Proctor

    I hope BO remembers how we got here. Putting the American worker last and foreign investors first is a big mistake that has been perpetrated by this Bush administration. This country can never be great again unless the people are put first. That means Jobs and Education.Those things have been lost in the last 8 years of the Bush nightmare. This is the legacy of Globalization and of unfair trade treaties that don't benefit the American people directly. Too much of our country is being sold away to foreigners right now. It is are truly being sold from underneath our feet. One day they'll say. You've defaulted on your loans, hand it over!
    Talk about betrayal!

    December 20, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. Woo

    You, and twenty-five thousand other people, 'David' 😉

    December 20, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. Joanna

    I am so glad that Obama is in office. Finally an adult in the white house.

    December 20, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. Lori

    Funny how Obama claims science should be to get to the truth yet many global warming alarmists ban anyone else who has a different theory. We have only been tracking our climates for about 150 yrs. on an earth that is supposedly billions of years old and they call that "irrefutable evidence"? As if they are the only scientists in the world who could possibly be right. Very arrogant and hypocritical. To sum it the entire history of the earth's climate to predict what will happen in the future based on .0000000000000000001% of the data. We can't even get an accurate 7 day forecast from these experts yet they have it all wrapped up to what is going to happen 100 years from now and dictate policy over it. Sounds like an ideology to me.

    December 20, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. JJ in NY

    How about a little more truth and honesty from Obama, instead of him hiding behind his desk .

    December 20, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. tek

    Once again I am impressed with the President Elect's choices. While there were a couple of choices that seemed overly political, the vast majority of his choices are fantastic. I am sincerely hoping that this man can put his rhetoric to action. I am definitely inspired by the words he uses, now let's see actions to follow. He definitely knows how to build a team, or let people with the know how build a team for him. Great cabinet with an eye to the future and resolution of the issues at hand.

    December 20, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Renee

    Let's sum this up: "It's time to look at science selectively." There is no way, no how that science has consensus on the issues that our tax money is being spent on. There is equal data on climate cooling as on warming as mentioned in a comment below. But will they look at the entire data? No way. And our tax dollars are going to be once again frittered away unneccessarily, destabilizing our country more and more.

    December 20, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. Lisa

    Donna Connecticut: where do you get your "facts" from? If you know anything about global warming, you would understand that the global warming can trigger a new ice age by disrupting ocean currents. Obama is correct, we need to listen to our scientists – and not to people like you who think they understand topics such as global warming, but clearly do not even grasp one of the most simple concepts of the effects global warming will have on this planet.

    December 20, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  13. Lisa

    Oh come on Saj – you really don't get it? Bush and his administration have ignored science for 8 years in order to push their right-wing agenda? Global warning? Doesn't exist – just ask the oil executives! Endangered species? We don't need to worry about that – ask the builders and miners, they agree, Stem cell research? That's unnecessary, we can use adult cells, because I say so.....

    It'll be great to actually allow facts to be considered when making decisions!

    December 20, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. Alan Deane

    Amen, Frank, fantastic... "religion and its selective values"! We have to add that essential extra word to the crazy phrase, "Values Voters". Really. Thanks

    December 20, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. Phil In MI

    The fact is that the average world temperature dropped in 2008.
    Science is the study of things. What science believes to be fact today may not be so in five years.
    Also what scientist are we supposed to believe? They don't all agree with the theory of global warming.
    Scientific theories should not be a political agenda.

    December 20, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  16. suzyku

    What a wonderful change! Finally an intelligent President who puts the country first!

    December 20, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. mark

    Once again, Obama linking government to all that is good and anything that is possible. The guy doesn't get it. Sometimes less government stimulates greater development....He's the biggest government guy there is. He believes he should be able to pull the string of everyone and everyone's money. It's sick.

    December 20, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. agree

    I think that the headline at the jump does not match the content of the story.
    I think that CNN is trying to find controversy and scandal where there are aren't. Another MSM low

    December 20, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Evan

    Maybe this is the beginning of the end of the Republican war on science? I sincerely hope so. The citations of false evidence, poorly-designed "research" studies, fabricated facts, and politically motivated pseudo-science are getting old. The money to fund scientific research has been there all along, but it's been going to researchers who will "play the game" and design studies specifically aimed at disproving global warming and excluding stem cells as viable treatment. A study can be designed to prove anything you want; it can only reveal the truth if you design it correctly!

    December 20, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. Ben in AZ

    Donna the problem is that it takes years of training to understand all the factors that affect our climate. Neither you nor I have that kind of training. Of those that do, the vast majority are saying it is likely humans are contributing to the warming of the planet. It's time to start listening to those with a PhD and 40 years of field experience over a person that read a book written for the public about the climate.

    December 20, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. David B

    Where was the swipe at Bush? I don't think anyone can disagree that science has been hijacked by political ideology over the last 8 years. All Obama said is that science will now be conducted by scientists. I guess some people in this country like it better when their government overrules the facts so we can all feel warm and fuzzy.

    Let's all hope Obama keeps taking "jabs" at Bush by continuing to appoint people who are actually qualified to do the job he is asking them to do.

    December 20, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. mark

    Sef, Obama's funds are coming from your pocket. They are eating your children or future childrens retirement before they are even born. Big Government, COntrol everything...the shady obama way

    December 20, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. tim

    Yes it's time==it's time to release the Rezko tapes so we can pursue
    the truth.

    December 20, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. lucy

    I am looking forward to 2009. I don't know about you all, but I am revved up!

    To all Bush haters, please leave him behind in obscurity.
    To all Bush supporter, please worship him in private.

    December 20, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. Mr. Britt

    Lawrence--were "idiots" for voting for Bush huh? We'll see who the idiots are when that "change" we were all promised rolls arounds. The ONLY change is that your all gonna have to learn the arabic language!!

    December 20, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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