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Biden has stepped up his work as a science adviser. Is that the need for science?

In the footsteps of the campaign, R. ozef R. Biden Jr. promised to remove Donald Trump. To Trump վերադարձ to return science to the White House, to the federal government և to renounce the nation’s years of presidential attacks, to renounce և chaos.

Being the newly elected president, he started quickly in January, nominating Eric S. Lander, chief biologist, as his scientific advisor. He also turned that work into a cabinet-level position, calling it an increase in “activating our national science and technology strategy.”

In theory, the improved position could make Dr. Lander one of the most influential scholars in American history.

But his Senate approval hearing was postponed for three months and finally scheduled for Thursday.

The delay, according to Politico, was partly due to questions from Efri Epstein about his meetings with the financier, which prompted him in the scientific elite, despite the fact that in 2008. The conviction for calling him a sex offender. Dr. Lander twice met with Mr. But he denied receiving any funding or any kind of relationship with Mr. Epstein. With Epstein, who was later charged with federal sex trafficking, he killed himself in prison in 2019.

His long delay in approving the Senate has led to fears that the Biden administration’s increase in Dr. Lander’s role is more symbolic than substantive. ,

Roger Pielke Jr., a professor at the University of Colorado who was interviewed to profile the president’s research assistants, recently noted that one of President Biden’s top scientific agendas, climate policy, is moving fast without the help of a White House science adviser.

“Does Biden give him a busy job?” he asked the role of Dr. Lander. “Or is there really a political portfolio?”

Similarly, Mr. Biden’s first proposed federal budget, announced April 9, has not received public approval from the President’s Science Adviser, but it is seeking a large increase in funding for almost all science agencies.

The championship in the scientific position by Mr. Biden and its indecent start raised a number of questions. What do White House Scientific Advisers actually do? What should they do? Some are more successful than others, and if so, why not? Do they ever play a significant role in Washington’s budget wars? Does Mr. Biden’s approach have repercussions in history?

The American public received few answers to such questions during Mr. Trump’s tenure. During the first two years of his tenure, he left empty. He’s been away from Congress for the longest time since 1976, when a modern version of the White House office was set up. Under public pressure, Mr. Trump opened the opening in early 2019 with Calvin Drogemeier, a low-ranking Oklahoma air conditioner. Critics have mocked Mr. Trump for neglecting the post and other vacancies in the executive branch.

But while federal scientists are usually clearly defined in their responsibilities, each president’s science adviser goes to work with a blank slate, says Shobita Partasarat, science director at the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program. University of Michigan.

“They do not have a clear portfolio,” he said. “They have a lot of flexibility.”

The lack of defined responsibilities means that the assistants still in 1951 և President Harry S. Truman, who was the first to introduce an official scientific adviser to the White House, has a wide role to play in a variety of roles, including science.

“We have this image of a wise man standing behind the president, whispering in his ear and giving him knowledge,” said Dr. Pilke. “In fact, the Science Advisor is a resource for the White House և President to act as they wish.”

Dr. Pilke claims that Mr. Biden is sincere in his desire to quickly restore the credibility of the post, to increase public confidence in federal know-how. “There is a lot we like,” he said.

But history shows that even good beginnings in the world of presidential sciences do not guarantee that an appointment will end on a high note.

“Anyone who comes to the position of science adviser, without serious experience in politics, is in a state of shock,” said President Richard M. McLaughlin long after he took office. Nixon Scientific Advisor Edward E. David Jr. He died in 2017.

One day in 1970, Mr. Nixon instructed Dr. David to discontinue federal funding for research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Dr. David’s University. At the time, he was earning more than $ 100 million a year.

Reason? The President of the United States considered the political views of the school president intolerable.

“I kind of sat there,” Dr. David recalled. Returning to his office, the phone rang. It was Mr. On Erlichmann, one of Mr. Nixon’s trusted aides.

“Ed, my advice is to do nothing,” he recalled, “said Mr. Erlichmann.” The brown question soon faded.

In 1973, shortly after leaving Dr. David, Mr. Nixon eliminated usury. The president reportedly came to see the adviser as a science lobbyist. Following Mr. Nixon’s resignation, Congress began re-establishing both its advisory capacity and its administration, renaming it the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Some analysts argue that the position has become more influential as scientific feats have progressed. But others say the height of work has declined as science has become more specialized, and consulting has become increasingly focused on narrow topics that are unlikely to arouse the president’s interest. Others claim that so many experts are now reporting to the federal government that the White House Chief of Staff has become redundant.

However, in an interview he added Mr. Biden’s steps, which are now ready to increase the capacity and potential of the position. “For Democrats,” he said, “science and politics coincide right now, so it makes sense to raise the status of science.” That’s a good policy. “

The scientific community tends to see presidential advisers as effective promoters of science budgets. Not so much, argues Dr. Sarevits. He recognizes that federal science budgets have performed well over the decades, regardless of what the president’s science advisers have approved or promoted.

Physicist Neil F. Lane, who served as a scientific adviser to President Bill Clinton, argues that the position is more important today than ever because its residents have a broad perspective on what will best help the nation and the world.

“Only a science consultant can complete all these complex issues – a broker who helps the president understand the inter-agency games,” he said in an interview.

The case is favorable, Dr. Lane added. Disasters such as the war, the assassination of Kennedy ությունները The terrorist attacks of 2001, he said, could be a turning point in the revival. He added that the coronavirus epidemic is a period in American history when “great changes can take place.”

According to him, his hope is that Mr. Biden will be able to raise issues such as energy, climate change and epidemic preparedness.

As for the federal budget, Dr. Lane, who headed the National Science Foundation from 1998 to 2001, Mr. Clinton, becoming a scientific adviser, says her own experience suggests that the post may have minor implications that will nevertheless restore the nation’s scientific trajectory. During his tenure, according to him, funding increased for the physical sciences, including physics, mathematics and engineering.

Dr. Lane said some of his influence came from the White House’s personal relationship. For example, he met the powerful director of the Office of Management’s Budget, who oversaw the administration’s finances while eating at the White House mess.

Analysts say the advisory role becomes more influential when science assistants are closely aligned with the presidential agenda. But the goals of the Commander-in-Chief may not coincide with the goals of the scientific institution. Ցանկացած Any influence conferred on the President can be quite narrow.

A. որջ Ա. Keyworth II was a physicist from Los Alamos, the birthplace of the New Mexico atomic bomb. In Washington, as a scientific adviser to Ronald Reagan, he was a staunch supporter of the president’s vision for a missile program known as Star Wars.

Dr. Pilke, of the University of Colorado, said the controversial issue was the business card of Dr. Keyworth, who is officially in Washington. “It was Star Wars,” he said. “The end.” Despite intense lobbying, the President’s call for space weapons has met with strong opposition from Congress, and costly efforts have never gone unnoticed.

Political analysts say Mr. Biden has avoided conveying his main interests to Dr. Lander, president of the Broad Institute of Genetics, an advanced biology center at MIT at Harvard University.

On January 15, Mr. Biden published a letter to the marching orders asking Dr. Lander to discuss whether science could help “other communities” և “ensure that Americans of all backgrounds” were involved in the creation of science, as well as its rewards. :

He told Dr. Bartasrat that Mr. Biden’s approach was unusual, both in terms of asking for a public letter and in terms of having a social conscience. Over time, he added, the agenda can transform both the consultant’s office and the nation.

“We are a moment when science has the potential to change the issues of social justice and inequality,” he said. “I know my students are more and more concerned about these issues, I think ordinary scientists are also concerned,” added Dr. Partasarat. “If there was ever a time to really focus on them, now is the time.”


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