“The impression this leaves is that Trump isn’t interested in science and that scientific matters are a low priority at the White House,” said Vinton G. Cerf, a computer scientist, vice president of Google and one of the chief architects of the internet. The dwindling of the White House science and technology staff for scientific research could have long-term consequences, Mr. Cerf said.
It is unclear whether the vacancies are the result of the Trump administration’s overall slowness in hiring or a signal that the president places less importance on science and technology than Mr. Obama did.
A White House official who asked not to be identified cast the issue as one of timing: Mr. Trump, the official said, is still reviewing candidates to be his chief science adviser, considers the science and technology office important and will soon have a new staff for it.
But critics see the empty offices as part of a devaluation of science throughout the Trump administration, including the reversal of Mr. Obama’s climate change policies and proposals to sharply reduce spending for research on climate change, science and health. They note that Mr. Obama appointed his top science adviser, John P. Holdren, a Harvard physicist and climate-change expert, in December 2008, weeks before his inauguration.
At the same time,…