Her scientists were apolitical

The science community recently released a report painting a bleak future for our country and planet with climate change, and the president made statements about who scientists are — only interested in the money they can make and all scientists have a political agenda. I do not know how many scientists he has known, but I have worked with several and found them to be just the opposite.

In my long career with a federal research organization, I worked with scientists and engineers, serving under both Republican and Democratic administrations, and I do not recall any differences.

I think it was the most apolitical group that could exist, and it would be hard to find people more dedicated to their mission. I remember a time of military crisis when they volunteered to work seven days a week but were being paid for only five. Money was never a driving force; it had much more to do with their love of the science itself.

An experience early in my career had helped me understand. It had been hush-hush until I was called to the director's office and told to bring all my things with me. I was being reassigned to work for a new scientist with some prestige who was joining our organization that day.

It is hard to recall what I had been told up front and what I pieced together with my limited knowledge, or what my new boss revealed to me. I would learn he was German born and during WWII had been at Peenemunde with fellow scientist, Verner Von Braun. Several German scientists had surrendered to the Americans — others to the Soviets — and were brought to America as POWs. They had proved themselves in WWII and would be valuable to the U.S.

It was hard at first to get past my new boss having been a Nazi. We shared a single office while a new facility was being built and I learned of his sensitivity to the needs of others and he was always gracious. I quickly grew to love working with him and being comfortable even with his books on our shelves marked with swastikas.

It took some time to put very diverse facts together and come to the conclusion that good or bad, he was the science.

He would never have political ties or a political agenda because science is what he believed in and lived for. I would see that same trait in other dedicated scientists I was privileged to know. Reputable scientists have proved to me they are to be trusted. They are not a hoax.

Linda Hansell

James City County

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