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Laureates Bemoan Brexit

Two new Nobel laureates say Brexit is bad for British science, the Guardian reports. Sir Fraser Stoddart and Duncan Haldane, who were this week awarded the chemistry and physics prizes, respectively, argue that top-notch researchers will be turned away from UK labs under such policies.

In June, UK voters decided in a referendum to leave the European Union. That decision left many researchers in Britain and the EU wondering what it might mean for scientists and international collaborations.

"I am very disturbed by the talk coming out of the UK at the moment," Stoddart now tells the Guardian. "Anything that stops the free movement of people is a big negative for science."

Stoddart, who is Scottish, works at Northwestern University, and has said that his Nobel was made possible through international collaborations, the Huffington Post adds. He shares the prize with the University of Strasbourg's Jean-Pierre Sauvage and the University of Groningen's Bernard Feringa for their work on tiny molecular machines.

"I would have a plan B if I was a young scientist in Britain," he says. "It's not going to be good news for British science."

Haldane, who works at Princeton University, says that he had been considering moving back to the UK — he left in the 1980, a move the Guardian reports was triggered by Thatcher policies — but he is concerned that he'd no longer have access to European Research Council grants post-Brexit.

"That's much better support than I can get here. These grants are specifically aimed at bringing established people back," he says. "Without that it makes it more difficult for people to come back."