Daniel S. Greenberg

Daniel S. Greenberg is a science writer in Washington. He is the author of Science, Money and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion and a novel, Tech Transfer.

Little is required to ensure political quiet in the American scientific community. A bit of annual growth in government outlays for research, presidential medal-pinning ceremonies in the Rose Garden for revered elders of the profession, and expressions of respect for science produce a wonderful tranquillising effect on the endless frontier. With rare exceptions, this combination has prevailed...

From The Blog
21 December 2011

Disappointment is the frequent outcome of science’s yearning to be honoured and heeded by politics. For scientists appalled by George W. Bush’s indifference to scientific data and values, candidate Obama looked so promising. And even more so when he vowed in his inaugural address to ‘restore science to its rightful place’. A few months later, he told the National Academy of Sciences: ‘Under my administration, the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.’ Nearly three years later the ‘rightful place’ is still unspecified, and the wants and ways of science have not triumphed over the needs and methods of electoral politics. Silly to think they ever would.

From The Blog
14 November 2011

Medical research has long been the darling of American politics, left and right, in times rich and poor. Now, however, the veneration of spending cuts and deficit reduction, from the Tea Party to the White House, is threatening the world’s greatest bankroll for medical science, the National Institutes of Health. The biomedical establishment is resounding with warnings of delayed cures for cancer, blighted scientific careers, and the rise of China. The financial threat has also inspired unusually frank talk about the way NIH spends its money, large amounts of which never get to the laboratory.

America loves science. It has always loved science. As long ago as the 1830s, Tocqueville remarked on America’s love of science, and present-day surveys establish not only that 85 per cent...

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