December 20th, 2008
05:30 PM ET
5 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. David B

    Donna Connecticut said:

    "Let's hope that his science team will truly make sure that "facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or idealogy." The fact is that over the last 10 years the earth has been COOLING, not warming. These changes are cyclical; in the 1970's, scientists were warning us about the earth getting COLDER and what we needed to do to stop it. Let's hope they are truly honest and not just listen to Al Gore and those followers who say that the "debate is over" about global warming. The earth is millions of years old and Gore and his crew only analyzed data over a few hundred year time span."

    Donna, you should have applied for a Bush cabinet position 8 years ago. You sound like you would have been the perfect person to head up his global warming research. The fact of the matter is that global warming is real. The data is at your fingertips if you care to look for it. I mean actual data and not someone claiming to be a "scientist" who says it is not real. I hope Rush Limbaugh isn't your source.

    See folks? This is what happens when politics tampers with science.

    December 20, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. Larry

    To Lawrence and other Obama fans. We should never call someone a moron. Simply because you don't like the President and others in his cabinet does not make them any less human than you or me.
    I don't agree with everything President Bush has done, but let's be fair. He's stayed the course on the War on Terror. I know my country is safer because of his stance. How would you like to be under the rule of a guy like Sadaam or Iran's leader? What do you think the word "moron" would get you under their rule?
    It's up to us to pray for our leaders and not call them names. President Obama hasn't started work yet. The easy part is now. The results of the tough part will be seen over the next 4 years.
    Let us pray for his guidance and wisdom.
    Larry in Ohio

    December 20, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. SC independent

    Good for him! Now let's get busy with stem cell research!
    Scientists should check into the "Superstring theory. " Brian Greene, Ph.D., professor of physics at Cornell and Columbia Universities, wrote in The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. (NY Vintage Books, 2000) theory."
    He explains that "just as a violin string can vibrate in different patterns, each of which produces a different musical tone, the filaments of superstring theory can also vibrate in different patterns...... "
    "At the ultramicroscopic level, the universe would be akin to a string symphony vibrating matter into existence."

    December 20, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. susie

    Bush wouldn't let Obama stay in Blair house before Jan. 15th, so Obama will throw him under the bus!!!!

    December 20, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. Joe Fox

    Living in Georgia, where there are stickers in the science books, saying evolution is only a theory, I applaud president elect Obama for taking religeous ideology out of the government support for the sciences.
    I hope these same unwritten but never the less implied government signs on the nations natural science museums, can be taken down and the geologist's theory that the world was created millions of years ago and evolved, not 4 thousand years ago , where man and the dinosaurs walked together can be given a reality check as to the truth of what really happened.
    Joe from Georgia.

    December 20, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. billy-bayou

    In an "Apparent offhand swipe at President Bush" ...is there realy anyone out there that thought this obama thing would be anything but sneaky and backhanded?

    For lack of a better phrase, this jerk has big audacities, and no doubt they will become enormous starting on 20 January '09.

    December 20, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. Bob from Pittsburgh

    FreeNLovIt December 20th, 2008 11:09 am ET wrote:

    ""Yes, since 1994, when the ELEPHANTS took over Congress and until now, science has been underfunded. We are, according to the scientists, 15 years behind""

    You are wrong.. science is 400 years behind, remember history scientist were killed at the stake ""Burn to Death"" by the same religious fanatics that rule this country today..
    So may be is time to send Bush to jail for all the crimes agains humanity he and he team has inposed on the USA..

    December 20, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS......

    ........ I'll believe it when I see it. Obama sure has some lofty ideas and we as a nation are almost guaranteed not to see most of his ideas come to fruition within the next four years. Here's to HOPE.

    December 20, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. John

    Science is the work of the devil. Everyone knows that. We need people like Sarah Palin to lead us into a new era.

    Not.

    December 20, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. Texas Teacher

    Finally we can put away this ridiculous notion that Science is somehow evil! Fundamentalist Religious fanatics have had reign for far too long. What civilized educated Human Being believes that Creationism and all those other Religious beliefs are superior to Science!

    Religion has its place! But it does not and cannot drive our scientific knowledge! THAT IS INSANITY! Creator gave us the sense to reason and does not throw a hood over our heads to close our minds to scientific knowledge. Those who want to believe we are in the "Last Days", be my guest! That is your constitutional right! But it is not your right to crame your belief system down the collective throat of the rest of us.... and at the expense of scientic knowledge and our environment!

    December 20, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. vera on wii

    jab at bush? this is a sad link cnn has drawn, makes me prefer a different news source

    December 20, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. SA in OO

    TO Greg above:

    Hopefully Obama will listen to scientists who have degrees in . . .
    Well in science. You don't win the Nobel prize by training show horses. Rove actually didn't have a degree in anything. He was a self trained professional politician.

    December 20, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. ken

    NASA?

    December 20, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. Don

    hmmmm....so Obama is concerned about getting scientific FACTS in front of the public. How nice. Just wish he was so willing to really share the facts about his involvement with the Illinois Gov. He's way to obscure about the pending crisis. Just hope the Gov tells the WHOLE story before January 20th. Go get 'em, tiger.

    December 20, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. DavidinCA

    Read closely. All we have here is a 'pledge' from Obama. Those are easy. He's good at talking the talk. That's how he got elected. Problem is, now he has to walk. This will be a new phase in his brilliant, history making career!

    December 20, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Rob canuck

    This is the result of having a President with more than a High School education.

    December 20, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. GOP=Epic Fail

    This is awesome news!

    It's about time that we have a president who understands that when america starts investing in great minds, we can accomplish ANYTHING; instead of relying on america's ignorance to believe in false "mission accomplished" banners while nothing gets accomplished.

    Obama KNOWS that it's mind over matter, and to quote MIchelle. "for the first time in MY adult life; i am very proud to be an American!!!

    and for the first time in MY adult life I am very proud of my president!

    December 20, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. Marc

    Donna Connecticut and Paul, last time I checcked both your points of view (Global Warming is hardly man-made and there's no Global Warming) was minoritary among the scientific community. There are evidences that backs up both AS THERE ARE EVIDENCES THAT PROVE THEM WRONG.
    It's been decades that we hear about this and let's face, either a Global Warming or a Global Cooling, no matter the cause, demands that we get ready for it. But the Science has been so considered by the 8 years of the Bush administration (who had the 'brilliant' idea to endorse the teaching of Creationism...) that we are in this point now.
    After all, what's happening with the World? SOMETHING is happening and there's no way to deny it, but what it is?
    If PEOTUS Barack Obama stand by his word, then we finally may have the chance to finish this discussion and start getting ready for whatever's going on with the world we live in cause, whatever it is, it's only the beggining...

    December 20, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. Brian Douglas

    Science has given us our grandparents for longer, allowed us to let newborns whom would have perished at birth or infancy a chance to live healthy lives! Science has made the ability for the world to have food from EVERYONE to have the basic necessities o f life Shelter, Food , Water( even if we choose not to do it) !!! It has healed the sick and put rampant diseases at bay for the benefit of humanity! Science is the application of our processors ; our Brains! Whether or not your believe in God who gives these things free of charge , or believe in just the universe that is based on shared expansion of energies and material that matter not! What matters is the NOW! And in this now we have a President that is for the expansion of Science to benefit HUMANITY! key word BENEFIT ! not just a better understanding but to have practical tangible science at our fingertips!!

    December 20, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. Golgotha

    Obama and the media are shortsighted and have limited capacity to remember facts. Dr. John H. Marburger is a lifelong democrat who has been the head of OSTP since 2001 and has rebutted the accusations the Obama and the media frequently use to discredit Bush. If Marburger had allowed the radical fringe of environmentalists to push policy all of us would be living in 19th century conditions. There is a anti-American agenda within the European countries to use Climate Catastrophe to hurt the US economy. Al Gore has turned Going Green into a $58 Billion Industry with only a few stakeholders with most of them being European. When you are dealing with billions of lives and trillions of dollars, it would be wise to proceed with caution and not rashness due to political winds.

    December 20, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. kara

    Although I am NOT a fan of Caroline Kennedy and would never vote for her I must point out to everyone:

    Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution sets three qualifications for senators: 1) each senator must be at least 30 years old, 2) must have been a citizen of the United States for at least the past nine years, and 3) must be (at the time of the election) an inhabitant of the state they seek to represent. The age and citizenship qualifications for senators are more stringent than those for representatives. In Federalist No. 62, James Madison justified this arrangement by arguing that the "senatorial trust" called for a "greater extent of information and stability of character."

    ** As much as many of us don't like her, she is qualified to be senator.

    December 20, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. Joel

    Thank goodness for a president who knows what he is talking about. Out with non-functional Christian fundamental views, which ignore truth and fact because of IGNORANT THEOLOGICAL IDEALS. Finally, we can catch up with western Europe. I am actually excited about the future of our country and the rest of the world for the first time in a long time. Long live science–long live truth.

    December 20, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. A Really Conservative Realist

    To Paul......EXCELLENT POST

    I would stand in front of any group of free thinking folks in the world and go toe to toe with anyone of any political bent and without a doubt convince the crowd that Bush was a more unbiased user of science than Obama. Bush REFUSED to make policy on shaky, unproven "science." Obama will spend billions and billions on the "science" that most favors a large, freedom reducing government. These are facts folks.

    By the way, I am a scientist.

    December 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. Kyle

    Who cares about science? It is often wrong! Global Warming? Really? I guess snow in Vegas is proof of global warming. I mean the "average temp" where I live right now is 49 degrees. We have not been about 42 in a week.

    Global Cooling maybe!

    December 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. Gordon Shumway

    Now let me just guess where the money for this, another TOP priority, is going to come from? Oh yeah, those of us who work and earn a living. The change left in my pocket is getting smaller and smaller!

    December 20, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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