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DC Socialites And Nobel Brouhahas

En route to the House of Sweden today to meet this year’s American Nobel Prize winners, I had to elbow my way past a dozen camera crews. They were parked at the tony Four Seasons Hotel, where the laureates are staying.

But the glare of the mass media’s lights was not for them today. No, that honor was reserved for alleged White House crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi. The reality show wannabes were at the Four Seasons as well, conducting an interview with Matt Lauer via satellite.

I’m guessing the Salahi’s have very little to say about the blurring of science’s disciplinary lines or the state of math and science education. But the Laureates served up plenty of good discussion along those lines at the House of Sweden’s annual meeting of the Nobel minds. The chat, held in front of an audience of over 100, was wide-ranging, from funding for basic science to the origins of life.

Tom Steitz weighed in on my question about the debate on the biological nature of this year’s chemistry prize. (Here’s C&EN’s October coverage of the prize announcement). That’s me asking him about whether he thinks the chemistry prize was too biological.

And in the midst of a discussion about how to improve K-12 science education in the U.S., Carol Greider explained why PI’s must lead the change in what defines a “successful” career after grad school.

Right now, the laureates are at the White House to meet with President (and fellow laureate) Barack Obama. No word on whether the Salahi’s will crash that, too.

Video credit: Carmen Drahl/C&EN

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