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US Nobel Prize Winner Uses Speech to Stand Up For Immigrant Scientists

Immigration is the backbone of scientific progress.

13 DEC 2017

Speaking at a Nobel gala banquet this week, US Nobel Prize winner Michael Rosbash criticized the Trump administration's war on science and their regressive immigration policies.


This year, Rosbash received the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for his contributions to the field of circadian rhythms.

But the speech he gave at the Nobel gala banquet was not just about the genes and mechanisms that underlie this crucial 24-hour timekeeper. It was also about politics.

In his speech, Rosbash said his study would never have been possible without government support for scientific research.

"We benefited from an enlightened period in the postwar United States. Our National Institutes of Health have enthusiastically and generously supported basic research," he said.

After the Trump administration's proposed cuts to scientific research, that's obviously not the current direction of American science.

"Although it continues to be the essential foundation for progress in more applied areas, the current climate in the US is a warning that continued support cannot be taken for granted," he said.

As the son of two Jewish immigrants from Nazi Germany, Rosbash also alluded to the current administration's restrictive immigration policies.

"Also in danger is the pluralistic America into which all three of us were born and raised after World War II," he said, referring to his co-authors.


"Immigrants and foreigners have always been an indispensable part of our country, including its great record in scientific research. Eight of the ten Nobel science winners here today are US citizens, but four of us are immigrants or children of immigrants."

He applauded the progressive immigration policies seen in Sweden, which he argued were the most refugee-friendly in Europe, if not the world.

"We are changing this successful formula at our peril," he concluded.

Now that's called #StandingUpForScience.