Tom FitzSimmons

Q and A: John Holdren

Three weeks into his job as head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, presidential science adviser John Holdren has laid out clear positions on myriad issues facing the Obama Administration.

Speaking this morning with Science's policy blog, ScienceInsider, Holdren discussed why he thinks the United States doesn't need new nuclear weapons. He warned of likely delays beyond 2015 in replacing the space shuttle and the possibility that China would launch U.S. astronauts during the interim. He shared his concerns that reporting requirements for spending stimulus money could shackle U.S. scientists. And he lamented the recent decision by the Texas state school board to modify science standards in ways that might undermine the teaching of evolution, warning that it was a "step backwards."

A nuclear physicist with broad expertise in climate, energy, and nuclear proliferation, Holdren conducted a series of interviews today with the media, breaking a self-imposed silence following his confirmation by the U.S. Senate on 19 March. In his conversation with ScienceInsider, he also expressed his plans for filling senior vacancies, described a "downsized" and "energized" President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and explained his role in the Administration's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and foster energy independence.

Read the full interview here.