By Laura Helmuth, Slate | Posted Sept. 5, 2012, at 2:52 PM ET
President Obama has assembled the most scientifically accomplished administration since the time of the founding fathers. His head science adviser, John Holdren, is a physicist, a MacArthur genius, and a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology is lousy with university deans, officers of the National Academies of Science, and Nobel Prize winners. The head of NOAA, Jane Lubchenco, is a marine scientist and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Energy Secretary Steven Chuhas a Nobel Prize in physics.
And these folks aren’t just in D.C. for decoration. A few years ago, Obama issued a memorandum to all heads of executive departments and agencies on the subject of scientific integrity. It began:
Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration on a wide range of issues, including improvement of public health, protection of the environment, increased efficiency in the use of energy and other resources, mitigation of the threat of climate change, and protection of national security.
With that dream team in his corner, and with his powerful belief in the scientific method, you’d think Obama would have an overwhelming advantage over Mitt Romney in a debate of the top American science questions. You’d be wrong.