Universities and researchers will want to protect funding and collaborations post-Brexit. But there is more at stake than that, says Philip Ball.
Presumably the 12 to 14 per cent of UK scientists who, polls suggested, voted for the UK to leave the European Union on 23 June calculated that the short-term pain would produce long-term gain, if not for science, then at least for other important national functions. I am sure that none will have welcomed the rampant xenophobia that has been unleashed, and that none question the values of openness and freedom of movement that make science thrive.
Yet while I want to think that Leave scientists cast their votes for reasons unconnected to the racist, deceitful, anti-intellectual tenor of the campaign, it baffles me how anyone could have thought that such a vote would not strengthen that platform. I’m genuinely puzzled how they overrode any qualms about keeping company with Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Rupert Murdoch and the English Defence League.