by David Prentice
January 30, 2009
POSITION: SCIENCE ADVISOR
AND Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
AND Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)
NOMINEE: John Holdren
BIRTH DATE: March 1, 1944 Sewickley, PA, grew up in San Mateo, CA
Ph.D. in aeronautics/astronautics and theoretical plasma physics 1970, Stanford University
M.S. in aeronautics & astronautics 1966, MIT
B.S. in aeronautics & astronautics 1965, MIT
FAMILY: Wife Dr. Cheryl E. Holdren, a biologist; two children and four grandchildren
FRC SCORECARD: NA
June 2005-present Director, Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA
1996-present Harvard University
- Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy
- Director, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
- Professor of Environmental Science and Public Policy
1973-present University of California-Berkeley
- Professor of Energy and Resources
1972-1973 California Institute of Technology
1970-1973, 1973-present as consultant, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
1969-1970 Stanford University
1966-1967 Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, Sunnyvale, California
Brief Professional CV at Harvard
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
- 2007- Chairman of the Board of Directors
- 2006- President
- 2005- President-elect
1994-2001 Member of Clinton’s President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)
Member National Academy of Sciences
Member National Academy of Engineering
ON EMBRYONIC STEM CELL EXPERIMENTATION and CLONING
“AAAS worked to increase support for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, too, by issuing a statement decrying the President’s second veto of the initiative, which had twice passed in the House and Senate, with votes from Republicans and Democrats alike. Association staff later teamed up with stem cell pioneer James Thomson to publish an op-ed that appeared in the Washington Post and at least nine other newspapers.”
Welcome Letter from John Holdren, AAAS Chair & Alan Leshner, AAAS CEO; AAAS 2007 annual report
Holdren’s views on another controversy, embryonic stem cell research, also are likely to run contrary to those of Bush, who has restricted U.S. funding to minimize the number of embryos destroyed to create new colonies of cells.
Holdren has already said he thinks the research should advance without the funding restrictions, said David Baltimore, the 1975 Nobel Prize winner who is now a biology professor at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
“The President has again vetoed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which would expand federal support for embryonic stem cell research. AAAS, the world’s largest general scientific society, stands with a broad coalition of Americans spanning all parties and faiths that supports this bill.
The scientific consensus is that embryonic stem cell research is an extremely promising approach to developing more effective treatments for devastating conditions like diabetes, spinal cord injuries, and Parkinson’s disease. The bill would mandate that such research be allowed to compete for federal funding while following strict ethical guidelines.
The Executive Order is not a substitute for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. The new approaches addressed by the order are still in the early stages of development and appear to already be eligible for NIH funding. AAAS strongly believes that it is only through federal support of diverse avenues of stem cell research, including especially embryonic stem cell research, that we may better understand the potential value and limitations of each approach.
During his tenure the President has acknowledged that it is a critical time for the American scientific enterprise, therefore it is disappointing that he has chosen to maintain restrictions on such a promising area of research. AAAS will continue to support the interests of scientists and patients in fostering medical progress.”
AAAS statement, 20 June 2007
AAAS supports human experimental cloning
“We believe that cloning for research purposes, where stem cells are extracted for further study, holds great promise for contributing to human health and dignity by developing effective treatments or cures for people whose daily lives are challenged by serious diseases and injuries that cause great suffering and premature death. On the other hand, AAAS has endorsed a legal ban on efforts to clone human embryos for reproduction.”
AAAS statement on March 7, 2005:
Other AAAS Policy Statements
ON GLOBAL WARMING/CLIMATE CHANGE
“The extent of unfounded skepticism about the disruption of global climate by human-produced greenhouse gases is not just regrettable, it is dangerous.”
“Global warming is a misnomer. It implies something gradual, something uniform, something quite possibly benign, and what we’re experiencing is none of those,” Holdren said a year ago in a speech at Harvard. “There is already widespread harm … occurring from climate change. This is not just a problem for our children and our grandchildren.”
Advised Al Gore on the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Dr. Holdren’s resistance to dissenting views was also on display earlier this year in an article asserting that climate skeptics are “dangerous.”
“In 1980 Dr. Holdren helped select five metals - chrome, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten - and joined Dr. Ehrlich and Dr. Harte in betting $1,000 that those metals would be more expensive ten years later. They turned out to be wrong on all five metals, and had to pay up when the bet came due in 1990.”
A John Holdren Reader (selected slides, videos, & writings by Holdren)
In 1995 he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, for which he served as chair of the executive committee from 1987 to 1997.
Some consider Holdren to be intolerant of dissenting viewpoints.