Science at the top

“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,” said Barack Obama on Dec. 20, 2008, when he announced his choices for four top scientific advisers.

As director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, Harvard University physicist and environmental policy professor John P. Holdren will be the president’s science adviser. And Jane Lubchenco, marine biologist and distinguished professor of zoology at Oregon State University, will head up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which oversees ocean and atmospheric studies and carries out global warming research. Both Holdren and Lubchenco have served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in the past.

Holdren will also cochair the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology along with Harold Varmus and Eric S. Lander. A Nobel Prize winner, Varmus is president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and former director of the National Institutes of Health. Lander, a genomics researcher, is professor of biology at MIT.

Respect for research findings

Obama’s seriousness about science became clear two weeks earlier when he announced his unorthodox pick for energy secretary: Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu, who has run Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California since 2004. Chu “has little experience inside the Beltway or with the main business of the Energy Department” (which actually owns the lab he directs), according to the New York Times. The energy secretary post has typically been occupied by a politician; George W. Bush’s first energy secretary, Spencer Abraham, famously called for the dismantling of the Energy Department prior to his appointment, while he was a senator from Michigan.

I find it reassuring that Obama’s picks have a general appreciation for bio-optics technologies. Chu’s Nobel Prize–winning work focused on the use of six laser beams to create what he called “optical molasses,” (aka optical tweezers) to trap supercooled atoms. In a plenary lecture at the American Physical Society’s Centennial meeting in 1999, Varmus, a cellular biologist, cited this work, and also lauded fluorescence spectroscopy among many technologies enabling advances in biology and medicine. And Lander, member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, was a world leader of the international Human Genome Project.

Because of these scientists, policy during the coming years is likely to be much different than it has been–and much more conducive to application of scientific research.

Click here to enlarge image

Barbara Goode
Editor in Chief

Get All the BioOptics World News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to BioOptics World Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now
Related Articles

NANOTECHNOLOGY/LIGHT ACTIVATION: IR light method turns blood clotting on (like drugs) and off (like nothing else)

Gold nanoparticles, controlled by infrared (IR) light from a pulsed femtosecond laser, promise to promote wound healing and help doctors control blood clotting in patients undergoing surgery.

Microscopy helps discover potential new drug target for cystic fibrosis

An international team of scientists, using automated microscopy and genetics, have discovered a promising potential drug target for cystic fibrosis.

Next-gen DNA sequencing helps provide new genetic clue to anorexia

The largest next-generation DNA sequencing study of anorexia nervosa to date has linked the eating disorder to variants in a gene coding for an enzyme that regulates cholesterol metabolism.

Synchrotron light identifies RNA double helix structure

Scientists at McGill University have crystallized a short RNA sequence, poly (rA)11, and used data collected at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) and the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron to confirm th...

BLOGS

Neuro15 exhibitors meet exacting demands: Part 2

Increasingly, neuroscientists are working with researchers in disciplines such as chemistry and p...

Why be free?

A successful career contributed to keeping OpticalRayTracer—an optical design software program—fr...

LASER Munich 2015 is bio-bent

LASER World of Photonics 2015 included the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics among its si...

White Papers

Understanding Optical Filters

Optical filters can be used to attenuate or enhance an image, transmit or reflect specific wavele...

How can I find the right digital camera for my microscopy application?

Nowadays, image processing is found in a wide range of optical microscopy applications. Examples ...

CONNECT WITH US

            

Twitter- BioOptics World

Copyright © 2007-2016. PennWell Corporation, Tulsa, OK. All Rights Reserved.PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS AND CONDITIONS