There’s been quite a shift in the US government, and I am thrilled to see that Berkeley, my town of adoption, is very well represented in the new administration. It shouldn’t be a surprise given a premier public university is obviously a great pool of talent, but there is something about the place and its people that is very special and I cannot pinpoint. Among the Berkeley representatives in the new government:
- Kamala Harris, the Vice-President, who grew up in Berkeley and whose mother worked at Berkeley Lab
- Jennifer Granholm, the Secretary of Energy, who is professor at Berkeley and technically a colleague from Berkeley Lab
- Janet Yellen, the Secretary of Treasury and a former Berkeley professor.
It is my experience that the US administration can be extremely competent under a good leadership, a point made by Michael Lewis (another Berkeley resident) in his book The Fifth Risk, where he was trying to explain how we might survive a deficient head of government (it seems he’s been right on that one, though we lost half a million people to a pandemic that could probably have been contained much better.
In terms of science, the outlook is pretty good, with people. It also happens that Frances Arnold, Nobel prize laureate and Berkeley alumni, will be part of the government, will help Eric Lander whose role at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy has been elevated to cabinet role. There’s also the Endless Frontier bill that would double the funding of science in the US and likely to pass thanks to bipartisan support.It’s quite a home run year for Berkeley women, with Jennifer Doudna who was awarded a Nobel prize for her discovery of CRISPR/Cas9.More:Michael Lewis: ‘Trump is like a psycho dad to America’ – The Guardian