In Issues in Science and Technology Summer 2009, Daniel Sarewitz, Co-Director of Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes , at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, wrote:
I stood with the throngs on the Washington Mall on January 20, 2009, watching a young new president (well, truth be told, watching him on a Jumbotron) announce to a discouraged nation the beginning of an era of hope and responsibility. Standing between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, I was feeling, in the words I saw emblazoned on t-shirts for sale by hawkers on the street, that indeed it was “Cool to be American Again.”
Just moments into his presidency, Barack Obama promised to “restore science to its rightful place” in U.S. society, a pronouncement that signaled to many a transition from an old world where decisions were dictated by political calculus and ideological rigidity to a new one dedicated to action based on rationality and respect for facts. “The Enlightenment Returns” trumpeted the recent headline of a Science editorial authored by physicist Kurt Gottfried of the advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists and Nobelist Harold Varmus of the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.