Obama names science and technology team

President-elect says he will promote "free and open inquiry" and listen to his advisers, even when they are presenting "inconvenient" findings.

President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday nominated John Holdren, a Harvard University physicist whose research has focused on global environmental change and energy technologies, as his science adviser.

Holdren will dually serve as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and co-chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

In his weekly radio address, Obama also announced Nobel prize winning scientist Harold Varmus, who ran the National Institutes of Health during the Clinton administration, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology biologist Eric Lander as the other co-chairs of the advisory panel.

Additionally, Obama nominated Oregon State University marine biologist Jane Lubchenco to be head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"Promoting science isn't just about providing resources -- it's about protecting free and open inquiry. It's about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology," Obama said. "It's about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it's inconvenient -- especially when it's inconvenient."

President Bush has been accused by some in the research community for suppressing or distorting scientific analysis from federal agencies to reflect administration policy. In response to that criticism, Bush pledged during his 2006 State of the Union to promote scientific research and education and vowed to double the federal commitment to basic research programs in the physical sciences over 10 years.