Scientists Overcome by Hopenchange

What does it take to get a science geek misty-eyed?

Staff members throughout the government’s scientific agencies held inaugural parties on Tuesday, and many reported being teary-eyed with�joy.

“If you look at the science world, you see a lot of happy faces,” said Frank Press, a former president of the National Academy of Sciences and former science adviser to President Jimmy Carter. “It’s not just getting money. It’s his recognition of what science can do to bring this country back in an innovative�way.”

Michael Lubell, a senior official of the American Physical Society, the world’s largest group of physicists, strongly�agreed.

“I think there’s now a consensus between the White House and the Congress that the future of the country relies on science,” Lubell said. “The nation is in very bad shape, and it will take science and technology to get out of the�mess.”

On issues like stem cells, climate change, sex education and contraceptives, the Bush administration sought to tame and, in some cases, suppress the findings of many of the government’s scientific agencies. Besides discouraging scientific pronouncements that contradicted administration policies, officials insisted on tight control over even routine functions of key�agencies.

In early 2004, more than 60 influential scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, issued a statement claiming that the Bush administration had systematically distorted scientific fact in the service of policy goals on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear�weaponry.

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