In a departure from nearly two decades of precedent, President Trump has decided not to greet the American winners of Nobel prizes before they visit Sweden to receive their awards.
Given that the decision comes from the most anti-science White House in recent memory, many of the Nobel laureates are rejoicing that they won’t have to meet the man who is responsible for eliminating facts as the basis for government decision making.
According to Statnews.com, a science news website produced by The Boston Globe, two of the Nobel winners have stated that they would not have attended any White House ceremony if invited. Dr. Joachim Frank, a Columbia University biophysicist who won a Nobel prize in chemistry for his innovations in microscopy, told the website that he was “very relieved” that he wouldn’t have to meet Trump.
“I will not put my foot into the White House as long as Trump, Pence, or Ryan (i.e., the possible succession of impeachments) will occupy it,” Frank said. “I cannot speak for the others; don’t know them personally yet, but I strongly believe that as thinking intelligent people they will have a similar attitude as I.”
The White House has cited Trump’s heavy foreign travel schedule as the reason for the failure to meet with the scientists, but, given Dr. Frank’s comments, it seems likely that the administration was trying to avoid throwing a party that nobody comes to.
Scientists surely cannot be happy with the Trump administration’s failure to even name a top science advisor and head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy after ten months in office.
The administration also announced that they will not be following through on another long-standing White House tradition, the annual science fair. The rejection of all things science-related puts the Trump administration in the running should the Nobel committee ever decide to award a prize for returning the world to the Dark Ages.