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US Election 2008

Science was not a driving theme in the 2008 US presidential race, but science in America will change radically as a result. In this special, Nature looks at what might happen to research when a new administration takes office in January 2009.


  • Science is not a spectator sport

    As Barack Obama sets a fresh agenda for the US approach to climate change and energy, scientists must make sure that they do not merely watch from the sidelines.

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  • The biggest threat?

    The Obama administration must help prevent terrorists from building a nuclear device.

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  • America's choice

    The values of scientific enquiry, rather than any particular policy positions on science, suggest a preference for one US presidential candidate over the other.

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  • America's fresh start

    The next US president will lead the country back onto the world stage in many arenas, including science.

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News Features

  • Ghosts in the machine

    Electronic voting machines were supposed to vanquish unreliable counts. They did not — but David Lindley finds that other technologies present their own problems.

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  • The home stretch

    The leading US presidential candidates are not trying to woo voters with science issues. But the senator who wins will help shape the world's most influential research agenda.

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  • Questioning the candidates

    Barack Obama accepted Nature's invitation to answer 18 science-related questions in writing; John McCain's campaign declined. Obama's answers to many of the questions are printed here; for answers to additional questions (on topics including biosecurity, the nuclear weapons laboratories and US participation in international projects) see part two.

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  • Questioning the candidates, part two

    Here are Obama's answers to the additional questions that did not appear in our print magazine. Wherever possible, Nature has noted what McCain has said at other times on these topics.

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  • Agencies of change

    A new president could bring radical shifts to America's major research entities. Nature profiles some of the agencies in need of a makeover.

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  • The new boss in town

    Barack Obama's transition team is hitting the ground running, and its speed and openness are winning praise, as David Goldston reports.

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  • Not the best advice

    Concerns about the next president's science adviser miss the real issues, says David Goldston.

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  • Your inbox, Mr President

    Rejuvenate the Environmental Protection Agency. End the stem-cell ban. Re-engage with the UN on climate change. Six leading voices tell Nature what the new US president needs to do to move beyond the Bush legacy.

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Books & Arts


  • Energy Audio (mp3 file) | Text (html)

    The race for the White House is well and truly underway. But where do the candidates stand on science? The first of our special US election podcasts asks the experts what energy and climate policy might look like under a new administration.

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  • Biomedicine Audio (mp3 file) | Text (html)

    The second of our special podcasts looks at what the candidates are saying about biomedicine and health.

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  • Innovation Audio (mp3 file) | Text (html)

    The third of our special podcasts focuses on innovation and competitiveness.

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  • Voices of the candidates Audio (mp3 file)

    In this final US election show, presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama speak for themselves on the big science issues including space, stem cells and green energy.

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News Blog

  • Newsblog

    Policy news from Nature's blog on how science is being covered around the world.

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Nature Medicine

  • 2008 US election special

    As the US presidential race nears the finish line, Barack Obama and John McCain increasingly talk about the 'change' they would bring — but what does that mean for biomedical research?