Wednesday, November 01, 2017

And Iran just beat the US in the race for science advisers...

by Salman Hameed

For a while it looked like that both Iran and the US were competing to go the longest without a science minister (in the Iranian case) or a science adviser (in the case of the US). President Hassan Rouhani started his second term in office in May of this year and had reportedly submitted 20 names for approval. None of these names garnered support from the conservatives. However, on Oct 28th Iranian parliament approved Rouhani's nominee, Mansour Gholami for the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology.

In the US, Donald Trump just broke the record for going the longest without a science adviser:
Donald Trump has now gone longer without a science adviser in place than any recent first-term US president — by any measure. 
On 23 October, Trump broke the record set by former President George W. Bush. Bush’s science adviser, physicist John Marburger, was confirmed by the Senate on 23 October 2001. That was 276 days after Bush took office, and 120 days after he announced that Marburger was his pick for the job. 
Trump has also waited longer than any president since at least 1976, when the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy was created, to name his choice for the science-adviser job. 
So I guess, Iran 1, USA 0.

On the other hand, may be we should be grateful for this. After all, his choice for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt is doing his best to dismantle everything about protecting the environment and has eliminated science panels. So who knows - he may think that Ken Ham of the Creation Museum is a good idea for a science adviser.

Just for the record, Obama made his choice for science adviser a month before inauguration. Sigh! Yes, yes. Times have changed.

Here is a graphic from last week's Nature:


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