Breaking with precedent, President Trump will not meet with eight American Nobel laureates before they accept their prizes this December in Sweden. STAT News reports that not all of the recipients are disappointed by the decision.
Two American Nobel Prize winners, when contacted by STAT, indicated they would not have attended a White House event even if invited. Columbia biophysicist Joachim Frank, awarded a Nobel in chemistry for his work in microscopy, said in an email he was “very relieved” when he learned there was no chance of an encounter with the president.
Frank told STAT:
“I will not put my foot into the White House as long as Trump, Pence, or Ryan (i.e., the possible succession of impeachments) will occupy it. I cannot speak for the others; don’t know them personally yet, but I strongly believe that as thinking intelligent people they will have a similar attitude as I.”
The White House indicated it will be sending a representative in the president's place.
The White House spokesman said Michael Kratsios, Trump’s top political appointee in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, will attend the reception at the Swedish Embassy on the administration’s behalf. France Cordova, the director of the National Science Foundation and an annual presence at the embassy’s event, will attend as well.
The Americans awarded Nobel Prizes in 2017 are: biophysicist Joachim Frank; physicists Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish, and Kip Thorne; geneticists Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young; and economist Richard Thaler.