Science: Physicist John Holdren to be Named Science Advisor

On December 18, 2008, in Policy, by Peter Harsha

According to Science Magazine’s Eli Kintisch, physicist John Holdren, from Harvard’s Kennedy School and director of the Woods Hole Research Center, will be nominated Science Advisor to the President by president-elect Barack Obama on Saturday.
Here’s some background from Science:

Holdren is well known for his work on energy, climate change, and nuclear proliferation. Trained in fluid dynamics and plasma physics, Holdren branched out into policy early in his career. He has led the Woods Hole Research Center for the past 3 years and served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (which publishes ScienceInsider) in 2006.

We’ll have more as we learn more….


Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) spoke of their intent to increase federal support for science at Princeton University yesterday as part of the university’s “Innovation Agenda” roundtable. Both Pelosi and Holt have been vocal in their support of basic science research in the past but under the Bush Administration have struggled to translate that support into appropriations levels that match the America COMPETES authorization levels. It’s a potential problem moving forward as well as Pelosi stated:

“I have said over and over again, if you want to know the agenda for this new Congress, remember four words: science, science, science and science,” Pelosi said. However, referring obliquely to current crises, she warned there would be competition for resources in the coming months and that supporters of science must become active advocates for science research funding.

Holt, a physicist and former Princeton staff member, pointed out the economic importance of research, stating:

“We should make a commitment as a nation to research and development,” said Holt, a physicist and former assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. “Science and scientific research,” he continued, “are not luxuries to be engaged in in plush times, but rather they are the basis for economic growth, economic prosperity and quality of life.”

Princeton has a press release with more details on the event here.