Sunday Shutdown Reader: Harold Varmus On Self-Destruction In The Sciences

James Fallows | Atlantic | October 13, 2013

"Now that the shutdown is nearing the end of its second week, further consequences are coming into view ..." 

This has already showed up a few places on-line, but I had not seen it until a reader sent it to me, and I think it deserves wide circulation. 

Last week, as the shutdown ground on, Harold Varmus, the director of the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, sent the message below to NIH-affiliated researchers. 

Varmus—that's not him on the right—is as well-known and -respected as any contemporary figure in American science. He received the Nobel Prize (with Michael Bishop) for work in discovering the genetic origins of cancer; he was himself a successful director of the entire NIH during the Clinton Administration; he then ran the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York for 10 years before returning to head the NCI unit of the NIH. Back in 1999 I wrote an article about him in The New Yorker, and since then we have stayed in touch.