Disclaimer: I have a chemistry doctorate and computer science master’s.
The present administration seems to be on course to make America a second-rate scientific power. Rick Perry, the secretary of energy, famously couldn’t even remember the name of that department in his “oops” moment regarding the departments he would eliminate. He does, however, have a science degree, a 1972 B.S. degree in animal science.
His apparent primary qualification for the Energy Department is his enthusiasm for the development of petroleum, not any scientific background.
Sam Clovis, the nominee for the chief scientist at the Department of Agriculture, is not encumbered with any kind of hard science. His bachelor’s degree is in political science, followed by an MBA and then a doctoral degree in public administration. As seems to be de rigueur in the Trump administration, (example, Scott Pruitt of the Environmental Destruction Agency), he is a climate change denier. Aside from that, Clovis has no discernible scientific qualification to be chief scientist.
Some would claim that having scientists making decisions on the management of scientific research is a conflict of interest. Perhaps it is as big a conflict of interest as having a bunch of lawyers making our laws.