Departing German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stood out among politicians for her commitment to science and evidence.Credit: Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto/Getty

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a theoretical quantum chemist from the former East Germany, will stand down after federal elections on 26 September. This will mark the end of 16 years in the post and a 30-year political career.

Merkel leaves behind a powerful legacy for research and for evidence-based thinking. Over the years, her administration has strengthened and internationalized German science. Every government is imperfect when it comes to protecting peoples’ rights, promoting security and well-being, and administering justice, but Merkel brought compassion and an insistence — unusual among politicians, even in the time of COVID-19 — that decision-making benefits from evidence. All of this will make her a hard act to…

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