Eric Lander is Joe Biden’s “science advisor”: the president’s professor

Before the outbreak, the cafe on Concord Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts was a boyish man with vigilant eyes, a mustache, and a wrinkled gray head. Centering, without noticing the guests around, he made his way through the pile of papers he had brought with him.

Now Eric Lander will have to search for a new coffee shop, this time in Washington, DC: The researcher has been named a “science advisor” to the new US president. To underscore the great importance he attached to this position, he elevated Joe Biden Lander to the rank of minister. In his new position, he shouldn’t just accompany the president’s current decisions. It also aims to help redefine the role science should play in the United States in the future.

Lander’s expectations are high. To mark his appointment, Biden wrote him a letter asking questions to answer: about lessons learned from the pandemic, climate protection, and the place of science in American society. In the first sentence, the boss places the obstacle asking Lander to jump over it. He could hardly have provoked it: Biden points to Vannevar Bush, whom President Franklin Roosevelt had appointed, as the first scientific advisor in US history.

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