John Holdren and Jane Lubchenco are leading experts on climate change who have advocated forceful government action. Holdren will become Obama’s science adviser as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Lubchenco will lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees ocean and atmospheric studies and does much of the government’s research on global warming.
Holdren also will direct the president’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. Joining him as co-chairs will be Nobel Prize-winning scientist Harold Varmus, a former director of the National Institutes of Health, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Eric Lander, a specialist in human genome research.
“It’s time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and worked to restore America’s place as the world leader in science and technology,” Obama said in announcing the selections in his weekly radio address.
“From landing on the moon, to sequencing the human genome, to inventing the Internet, America has been the first to cross that new frontier because we had leaders who paved the way,” Obama said. “Leaders who not only invested in our scientists, but who respected the integrity of the scientific process.” **
**Also quaintly referred to as the Scientific Method
What is the “scientific method”?
The scientific method is the best way yet discovered for winnowing the truth from lies and delusion. The simple version looks something like this:
1. Observe some aspect of the universe.
2. Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed.
3. Use the hypothesis to make predictions.
4. Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between theory and experiment and/or observation.
When consistency is obtained the hypothesis becomes a theory and provides a coherent set of propositions which explain a class of phenomena. A theory is then a framework within which observations are explained and predictions are made.