Rumors are all over the internet that John Holdren will be nominated to be Obama’s science advisor, and in all likelihood director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Holdren is a Harvard Professor of environmental policy, as well as director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government. He’s also director of the Woods Hole Research Center, and he was even chosen to give the Nobel lecture on behalf of the Pugwash Conferences. It is hard to imagine someone more qualified for the position. He has a PhD in Physics from Stanford on the stability of inhomogeneous plasmas, and has spent much of his career working on climate change and nuclear nonproliferation issues, as well as science and technology policy.
Along with Nobel Laureate Steve Chu as Department of Energy Secretary, as well as Carol Browner as Energy Czar (a newly created position), Obama is picking an absolutely fantastic group of advisors. The critical question is whether he will listen to them, and support them (both with political and economic capital) in their efforts to fix the greater scientific enterprise (as well as our planet).