In President Obama’s first Inaugural Address, he pledged to “restore science to its rightful place.” Integral to that promise was Dr. John Holdren, President Obama’s Science Advisor and Director of the Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP). The Science Soapbox team has long been eager to chat with Dr. Holdren about the role he played in the Obama administration, so we were thrilled to travel up to the Harvard Kennedy School of Public Policy, where Dr. Holdren is now a professor. In this interview, Dr. Holdren shares his early inspiration for working at the intersection of science and society, his experiences serving President Obama, and his concerns around the current administration’s treatment of science.
Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:
- On leaving the white house, Dr. Holdren wrote a thank you for President Obama and the team that helped him “put science in its rightful place” for the White House blog
- We first met Dr. Holdren at this year’s AAAS Annual Meeting where he discussed his concerns around the current administration. Quartz niftily summed up his four recommendations to scientists on how to stay relevant under Trump.
- OSTP is in a state of uncertainty and flux right now, with conflicting reports coming out that the Science Division is currently unstaffed, on one hand, and administration officials refuting the claim.
- After our interview, the Science Soapbox team all got copies of The Two Cultures by C.P. Snow. We’ll have a book club episode coming up, so if you want to read along, you can find an e-copy here.
- And of course, now you can support our podcast so we can continue to bring you interviews with great thinkers at the intersection of science, policy, and advocacy by donating to our Patreon.
This episode was recorded on June 27, 2017 at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Special thanks to Patricia McLaughlin for arranging the interview and to Visager for music. Photo from NASA HQ