Nobel Prize winner cites progress with more minorities in science

Nobel Prize winner cites progress with more minorities in science

Warren Washington, left, Nobel Prize winner and National Medal of Science recipient, with Jack Fellows, director of the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory during the former's visit to ORNL.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 17, 2015 – Nobel Prize winner and National Medal of Science recipient Warren Washington told a black history program audience at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory that progress has been made in the past 40 years to encourage underrepresented minorities to enter into science, technology, engineering and math.

“When I first started visiting historical black colleges back in the 1970s, it was hard to get anyone interested in going into atmospheric science because typically the science departments didn’t teach anything about climate or weather,” Washington said. “Now I can go to a conference and I can see 100 Hispanic and black faces as I speak to the younger generation. The schools are doing a good part in getting students to go into these fields.”

A senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., Washington said minority researchers are contributing to science advancements.

“I think we are a better nation when we have diversities sprinkled throughout the population of scientists, engineers and mathematicians,” Washington added.  “If we don’t do that, then we’re losing talent that could easily contribute.”

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

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