Bob Dylan was conspicuously absent from the Oval Office, but President Barack Obama hosted four of America’s other 2016 Nobel Laureates, all of whom were migrants. Characteristically, Dylan left Obama — like the Nobel Committee — “Blowin’ in the wind.”
“Unfortunately, Bob Dylan will not be at the White House today,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Wednesday. Dylan has also indicated he will skip the Nobel award ceremony in December. But the self-confessed science nerd president was not deterred.
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With just a couple of months left in office and his successor Donald Trump promising hard-line immigration policies, Obama noted America’s magnetic ability to draw top talent from around the world. Obama was hosting Physics laureates Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz as well as fellow prize winners Oliver Hart, (Economic Sciences) and Fraser Stoddart (Chemistry).
All four were born in Britain, but live and work in the United States. “We are incredibly proud of them and it’s just a reminder that one of the things that makes America unique is our ability to attract talent from all around the world to study at some of our greatest universities,” Obama said.
“I spent a lot of time promoting science and trying to encourage young people to get involved in those disciplines that have driven American innovation and American progress as well as driven human progress and one of the best ways for us to be able to do that is to recognize the achievements of Americans who have received extraordinary honors.” This will be the last occasion for Obama to welcome the US laureates, because “The Times They Are A-Changin'” in the White House.