Nobel Prize Winner Trashes Brexit As Bad For Science

Fraser Stoddart fears that research will suffer if Britain becomes more closed off to Europeans.

The United Kingdom leaving the European Union would spell bad news for the global science community, according to a winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Sir Fraser Stoddart, a Scottish chemist who teaches at Northwestern University, attributes his Nobel win to international collaboration between scientists.

Science is global,” he told BBC World Service NewsHour on Wednesday. “I am sitting here with this prize associated with my name but it really is pinned onto the names of another 20, 30, 40 different nationalities.”

Stoddart shares the 2016 prize with Jean-Pierre Sauvage of France and Bernard Feringa of the Netherlands. Together, they discovered tiny molecular machines.

He said his early career was defined by the U.K. welcoming young scientists from across Europe.

“Today, I am distressed by the fact that the U.K. is looking at a situation that [would] cut off that supply,” he said. “This is not good news for scientists in the U.K. I would hope that this whole business of Brexit would either go away or just did not happen.”

Brits voted in June to leave the EU. Brexit critics, however, fear future social consequences, which may include tougher immigration policies. 

“I would not be surprised if you see the most able scientists in the country leave,” Stoddart said. “Science is a global pursuit, it must allow people to come and go across different cultures from different countries.”



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