BERLIN – Joachim Sauer, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s academic husband, has blamed his compatriots’ “laziness and complacency” for Germany’s comparatively low vaccination rate, saying public rejection of science has never been as visible as now.
Sauer, who until his retirement in 2017 was professor of quantum chemistry at Berlin’s Humboldt University and seen as one of the field’s top researchers, has been reticent to discuss politics throughout his wife’s 16-year tenure.
He has been reluctant to play the role of political spouse, declining to accompany her on most trips and largely limiting his public commentary to his own scientific research and his passion for the composer Richard Wagner.
But in Italy this week to be inducted into the Italian Academy of Sciences in Turin, he briefly addressed the issue that has dominated his wife’s final two years in office.
“It’s astonishing that a third of the population is not following scientific evidence,” he told La Repubblica, as reported by its German partner newspaper Die Welt on Tuesday.