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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Problems with an Academic Scientist Heading the Department of Energy

It looks like the President-elect is planning to pick a real scientist, Steven Chu of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, to head the Department of Energy. I can see two potential problems:

  • One of the biggest scams of the anti-nuclear movement is to convince the experts that the people are anti-nuclear and the people that the experts are anti-nuclear. Someone from Berkeley might be more likely to think anti-nukes represent the people. As a result, he might not push nuclear energy enough.
  • Scientists have an incentive to support more research. When combined with the first problem, this leads them to think that the alleged opposition can be overcome by perfecting nuclear technology with more research when, in the real world, it's sometimes time to stop researching and ship.
I suspect that someone from a computer hardware or software business might have been a better choice. Their motto is frequently “Get it first the right time.”

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your premise is flawed, and probably prejudiced (an Asian scientist? must be a lab nerd with no managerial skills).

How about realizing that Dr. Chu is a charismatic speaker who wows all his peers with his ability to transmit his "visionary" approaches? How about managing a 4000-person organization with 645 million dollars, most of that secured by fighting politics with those uncomfortable with a corporate sponsor like BP?

That's pragmatism, leadership, and and understanding of politics. AND he's a Nobel physicist.

There are a whole helluva lot of a excellent Asian American leaders. Only now Obama's giving them a chance to lead.

2:26 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Actually, I was thinking in terms of some of the reasons why I shouldn't be a chief executive.

I also based this on some of the excuses I've heard from allegedly pro-nuclear academic people for still supporting Democrats.

In any case, the managerial skills involved in running a government lab are not the same as those involved in getting a product out the door.

6:58 PM  

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