Obama is going to appoint a Nobel-prize winning physicist to be his Energy Secretary. I don't know anything about the physicist, Steven Chu (except that he's director of the Lawrence Berkely National Lab), but I can't complain anymore that scientists never make it into influential positions in the Executive Branch.

Like I said, I don't know anything about Chu, but with his technical background, he ought to be comfortable dealing with issues the Energy Secretary must face, from climate change to biofuels to nuclear power and weapons.

I'm not trying to suggest by any means that every position with an impact on science should have a scientist in charge. But there are enough scientific issues facing the country so that there should be some influential input from actual scientists somewhere in the Executive Branch, just as there should be input from people with a background in business or environmental management. In other words, scientists should not just be technical experts always left in advisory roles.

There are some top-notch scientists who are also top-notch administrators (and thus qualified to run government agencies), and they can bring an important perspective to government decision-making.

And it looks like RFK Jr. isn't going to be head of the EPA.