WASHINGTON, D.C.: TIME science correspondent Dick Thompson reports that Dr. David Satcher, President Clinton's nominee for surgeon general, is a first rate scientist who should easily cruise to confirmation. "It's dead locked certain," Thompson says. "He should be very good in his roles because he is a fantastic scientist -- so good in fact, he will stun people." Despite his qualification, Thompson adds that Satcher, who has directed the Centers for Disease Control since 1993, should not be expected to reinvigorate an office which has declined in importance over the years. "At the moment, there isn't a crisis big enough to make that position stand out," he says. Where will Satcher shine? As assistant secretary of health, a powerful position he demanded before accepting the unglamorous nomination of surgeon general.