Francis Collins and Larry Bock
I was attending the AAAS annual meeting last week in San Diego, and Dr. Collins was speaking to several groups at the conference. After living in Washington, DC for almost a decade, and having worked for various federal agencies, I am used to the reverence people have for senior federal officials.
In DC, the head of an organization like NIH is essentially the CEO of a big company who has people who meet with people like me. My professional contact with federal officials at Dr. Collins’ level has been limited to a quick introduction and handshake before a carefully orchestrated meeting.
But Larry Bock, executive director of the USA Science & Engineering Festival, isn’t like that. Oh he was hero-worship excited when he found out Dr. Collins wanted to meet him. But he’s much more of a hands-on leader, who spent the day before stuffing 8,000 AAAS bags with Festival cards, alongside several people who work for him. And so, it turns out, is Francis Collins.
He is as enthusiastic as Larry about bringing a huge celebration of science to the nation’s capitol. NIH has 30 spaces at the two-day Expo in October and a number of scientists who will head out into the schools. It’s supplying creative thinkers, to wow K-12 students and their families on the National Mall.
Oh and Francis Collins, despite being a world renowned scientist, listened to everyone at the table, no matter their level of importance. He ordered crepes and got a bonus of potato pancakes. And he cleaned his plate.
Larry helping with the boxes at AAAS
Written by Amiee Stern