Monday, April 4, 2011

Nobel Ignorance

From today's WaPo (H/T to Jim Geraghty):

On May 10, President Obama ordered his Nobel Prize-winning secretary of energy, Steven Chu, to dive into the response. Two days later, Chu showed up at BP headquarters with a hand-picked team of advisers, most of whom had limited experience with petroleum engineering. (Chu, a physicist, had won his Nobel for figuring out how to freeze atoms with lasers.)

BP executives were not thrilled to see the scientists march through the door. It looked to the company as though the administration had said, “Where are our experts?” and then rounded up anyone who did not flinch at the sight of a differential equation. Science, engineering, it was all the same. The Obama folks were obviously in love with the idea of Chu — this notion of having an in-house Nobel Prize winner who could be dispatched, superhero-like, to solve intractable problems with the power of his giant brain.

It says quite a lot about the Obama Administration--and Barack Obama in particular--that nobody in the White House understood the difference between a scientist and an engineer. It's not at all surprising that these guys (and gals) think they can solve any problem by waving credentials at it ('Guy's got a Nobel Prize! So what if it's in a completely unrelated field?'), but even so, it's disheartening.

Learning what you don't know is one of the most important lessons of adulthood (to say nothing of engineering). Shame that all these allegedly-brilliant lawyers still haven't figured that out.

1 comment:

  1. Hell with the Lawyers. What was Chu doing participating in something so boneheaded? How about the rest of the idiots who went with him? Did they really think they were competent to accomplish anything?