University News

Nobel-prize winning prof endorses Obama

Contributing Writer
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Professor of Physics Leon Cooper joined 67 other Nobel Prize winners in physics, chemistry and medicine to co-sign a letter publicly endorsing President Barack Obama’s re-election bid. The document, entitled “An Open Letter to the American People,” was sent to the Center for American Progress Action Fund Oct. 17.

Cooper earned the 1972 Nobel Prize in physics alongside John Bardeen and John Robert Schrieffer for their theory of superconductivity.

Cooper pointed to Obama’s vocal advocacy of funding research and his opposition to positions favored by Republican candidate Mitt Romney as reasons to sign the letter.

“Obama has been very supportive of scientific research,” Cooper said.

In Monday night’s presidential debate, Obama and Romney sparred over federal funding for research, with both saying they would invest in university research if elected president.

“(Obama’s) opponent supports a budget that … would devastate a long tradition of support for public research and investment in science at a time when this country’s future depends, as never before, on innovation,” the letter says.

This was the second presidential election in which Nobel prize for science winners released a signed letter of endorsement. In 2008, a similar letter endorsing Obama drew 76 signatures. This year, the endorsement letter was initiated by this year’s prize winners and circulated around, Cooper said.

“I don’t agree with everything in the letter, but the bottom line is that I think Obama is the better candidate,” he said.

 Romney’s health care and tax positions are difficult to understand, and their arithmetic doesn’t add up, he said. On the issue of foreign policy, “from what he’s said so far, it seems to me that (Romney) doesn’t understand the complexity of the situation,” he said.

 Though Cooper publicly endorsed Obama, his students said he keeps his political opinions out of the classroom. 

“I do not think that his political leanings influenced his teaching in any way,” Florian Schalliol ‘13.5 wrote in an email  to The Herald. Schalliol took PHYS 0100: “Flat Earth to Quantum Uncertainty: On the Nature and Meaning of Scientific Explanation,” which Cooper taught last spring.

“I think Professor Cooper, and any other professor, has the right to endorse whomever he or she chooses,” he wrote.

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  1. What a surprise!

  2. Reality Check says:

    Breaking news: water is wet. Film at 11.

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