Bush and Clinton

Dr. Seaborg and Vice President Bush with the Science Talent Search finalists, 1982 Vice President Bush at the Swedish Embassy with Ingrid Carlsson, Ulla Wachtmeister, Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson, Barbara Bush, and Wilhelm Wachtmeister, 1987

I first met George Bush when he was Ambassador to the United Nations during the Nixon administration. Here I am with him with the 40 Science Talent Search winners in 1982, when he was Vice-President. Here's an occasion at the Swedish Embassy where Barbara Bush is with George Bush and Ambassador Wachmeister, the Swedish Ambassador to the United States.

Dr. Seaborg briefing President Bush on cold fusion at the White House, 1989

I was called to Washington on April 14, 1989, to brief George Bush on cold fusion. I don't know whether you know what cold fusion is, but it was the idea that you could fuse nuclei very easily and get a lot of energy just by passing electric current through heavy water, whereas, of course, physicists had built huge machines and worked for decades trying to do this, spending billions of dollars. The chemists thought they'd really stolen a march on them. The idea swept the country and I was called to Washington to brief President Bush on it. It was a real dilemma. What should I do? I decided to take my background as a nuclear scientist and really come to the sensible conclusion that this work was not right, that it was really cold. You couldn't do it. So that's what I told him at that time. I said, "You can't just go out and say this is not valid. You're going to have to create a high-level panel that will study it for six months, and then they'll come out and tell you it's not valid," and that's what he did.

On this occasion, it was the week that Barbara Bush had been treated with Iodine 131 for her condition of Graves disease, which really alleviated it. I told George Bush, sort of casually, that I'm the discover of Iodine 131 and this helped capture his attention. He said, "You know, the doctor said because Barbara was radioactive with this Iodine 131 that she shouldn't get near the dog. But he didn't say anything about her getting near me."

President Bush and Dr. Seaborg at the Science Talent Search, 1991 President Bush presenting Dr. Seaborg with the National Medal of Science, 1991

Here I am greeting George Bush at the 50th anniversary of the Science Talent Search in 1991. Here I'm receiving National Medal of Science from President Bush in the Rose Garden at the White House in 1991.

Dr. Seaborg and Vice President Dan Quayle, 1990

This is Dan Quayle. I had the function of trying to explain to him the science exhibits of the Science Talent Search with the help of his wife Marilyn, who's pretty bright.

The 1993 Science Talent Search finalists with President Bill Clinton and Dr. Seaborg Dr. Seaborg with Vice President Gore

Here I am with the Science Talent Search winners two years ago, March, 1993, with President Bill Clinton. Where am I? In the back row! However, I did have a chance to meet with him, and he'd also been asked about cold fusion, and he said he didn't know quite what it was about so he winged it. I said, "Well, it's very cold. Next time you're asked, you can take a dim view of it."

I also met Al Gore on that occasion. I'd known him since he was a teenager because his father, Al Gore, was a member of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy that had close relations with the Atomic Energy Commission.