MAYBE THE NOBEL LAUREATE KNOWS WHAT HE’S TALKING ABOUT…. In general, criticisms of the Obama administration’s response to the BP oil spill disaster tend to be pretty vague. Folks want the White House to do “more,” but struggle to explain what “more” might entail.
One of the more common suggestions is that the administration should put together a group of experts to put their heads together and work on a solution. Of course, the administration already did that. It’s a group led by Steven Chu.
Obama has also called in some of the many scientists on the federal payroll, led by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Chu at one point pushed the unusual idea of using gamma rays to peer into the blowout preventer to determine if its valves were closed, a technique he experimented with in graduate school while studying radioactive decay.
The suggestion at first elicited snickering and “Incredible Hulk” jokes. Then they tried it, and it worked. “They weren’t hot on his ideas,” a senior White House official said of BP’s initial reaction to Chu’s suggestions. “Now they are.”
Jonathan Chait added, “I’ve seen a lot of movies where a brilliant scientist proposes a cutting edge idea, is mocked, and then it turns out his idea was right. It never ends well for the people who snickered and laughed.”