By Stephanie M. Lee, Zahra Hirji, Dan Vergano, Peter Aldhous, Azeen Ghorayshi
For scientists who have watched in horror as President Donald Trump relentlessly insulted, undermined, and ignored science, while more than 236,000 Americans died during a historic pandemic, Joe Biden’s victory on Saturday was a long-awaited cause for celebration.
“It feels very much like the four-year war on science has come to an end,” Jacquelyn Gill, an ecologist at the University of Maine, told BuzzFeed News.
“I feel a huge sense of relief,” said Jennifer Glass, associate professor of astrobiology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “I finally feel hope again after four years of attacks on science and facts.”
“I am ecstatic,” said Bob Wachter, chair of the University of California at San Francisco’s department of medicine. “It’s a victory for science and it gives us some hope that we will right things, not only for COVID specifically, but for the general approach that our government is taking towards science, truth, and competence.”
And yet, even though Biden received a historic number of votes to clinch the presidency, scientists said that the widespread show of support for Trump shows how much work remains to be done.
Amir Jina, a University of Chicago economist who studies climate change, said he increasingly felt over the course of the Trump administration like his work was futile. “There are definitely times, I, like other people, over the last few years would wake up in the morning and say, ‘Well, I’m going to spend my day at my computer doing some research. What’s actually going to happen with that research? Why am I doing this?’” he said.