Along with running the free world, President Barack Obama has spent the past seven years guiding U.S. science and technology policy. The initiatives and goals he puts in place—in clean energy, space, medicine, education, nanotechnology, and more—help direct research, which in turn directs the future. With one year left in the Oval Office, the president talks about what he’s achieved, what’s left to do (a lot), and why being a nerd is one of the best ways to serve your country.By Cliff Ransom Photography by F. Scott Schafer
Popular Science: You have been a very pro-science president. Why do you see science and technology as being so important?
Life Stride Women's Shoes White Leather Open Toe Slide " 2.5 Heel Size 7.5M,White Champneys Flip Flops Still In Original Wrappings Medium Size,BCBG Generation Womens Shoes Size 7B Gold Metallic Rhinestone Studded Low Wedge,Man/Woman Ladies Ankle Strap Sandal Savannah sell Settlement Price Modern mode,Ladies Spot On Wedge Sandals The Style F2228Women’s Sz. 9M Clarks Sandal 81938 Beige Leather Sling Back Sport,Men's/Women's Sandaletten 39 Leder von Supremo Braun excellent quality online shop TRUE,MOBILS By Mephisto Brown Slides Sz 9 (39 EU) Women Sandals,Black Suede Open Toe Dressy Ankle Strap Sandal flower by Wurl Size 7.5 WENDY,Clarks Womens Blue Thong Flip Flops Sandals Size 8.5 M,Mr/Ms Ladies Savannah Sandals - F10431 Complete specification range Primary quality VariousSpot On Girls Sandals H0120 Nude/Tan X 2 (R21B),Size 4 silver glittery platform, stiletto heel sandals fom Essex Glam,Men's/Women's Ladies Savannah Gladiator Summer Sandals F0974 Many styles Good market British temperament,Vtg 90s SBICCA CALIFORNIA WHEAT COLORED PLATFORM WEDGE SANDALS 8 Tan RARE!Easy Spirit Anti-Gravity Womens Sandals Sz 8 M Leather Slip On Elastic Adj Brown,Amanda Blu Black Suede Leather Wedge Flip Flops w/ Bling Flowers Womens Size 9,New Ladies Women Summer Wear Stone Strappy Open Toe Comfort Sandals UK Size 3-9,schwarz mit rosa eingefasster Rosette Sandalen flach/Zehentrenner,Womens Roman Open Toe Platform Casual Creeper Wedges Sandals Shoes Pumps Size 40,Savannah Mujer Pedrería Slider Zapatos sin Talón,Man's/Woman's Havaianas Libertà Sandali Neri Excellent value Modern and stylish fashion A balance between toughness and hardness,Gentleman/Lady Ladies Spot On Sandals Label F0521 main category New style a wide variety of goodsPesaro Sandalen Gr. 38 schwarz/gold elastische GummiriemchenMujer Spot On Beis Sandalias De Tiras F1390,CLARKS ACTIVE AIR LADIES TAN LEATHER WEDGE SANDALS FLIP FLOPS SIZE EXCELL,Sz 40 Jade Green Summer Sandals - NWOT,Gentleman/Lady Ladies Anne Michelle Heeled Sandal 'L3403' Quality products Fast delivery Exquisite processingLadies Gluv Strappy Slingback Manmade Summer Sandals - LuganoMen's/Women's Ladies Spot On Sandals F10147 Reasonable price New style various kinds,
PS: Among your White House initiatives, you’ve focused heavily on improving STEM education in America. What’s your proudest achievement on that front?
BO: There’s a lot to be proud of. We now graduate 25,000 more engineers per year from our colleges and universities than we did when I took office. We’re more than halfway toward our goal of preparing 100,000 new math and science teachers by 2021. We’ve secured more than $1 billion of private investment for improving STEM education, and commitments from college and university leadership to help underrepresented students earn STEM degrees. There’s also something that’s harder to measure, but every bit as important: all the young people, including minorities and young women, who are more excited than ever about pursuing their passions for STEM.
One of the new traditions I’ve started as president is the White House Science Fair. We ought to celebrate science fair winners at least as much as Super Bowl winners. And when young people are excited about science, technology, engineering, and math, that’s not just good for them. That’s good for America. We want the next game-changing industry or life-saving breakthrough to happen right here in the United States.
PS: Do you consider yourself a nerd and, if so, what’s your nerdiest pastime?
New with box: A brand-new, unused, and unworn item (including handmade items) in the original packaging (such as ... Read moreabout the condition
|Material:||Leather Look||Exact Heel Height:||3,5|
Does not apply
|Exact Color:||black / red / yellow|
|Main Colour:||black tones||Heel Height:||Medium Heel (3-5 cm)|
PS: You also put heavy emphasis on developing innovation and entrepreneurship. How do you make Silicon Valley happen all over the country?
Nu-pieds camel et fushias aspect cuir et croco avec bride cheville,Men's/Women's Tongs Femme Fox Jail Break Noir-Blanc Selling Quality First Most practical,Style & Co. Womens PRAVATI Open Toe Special Occasion Ankle Strap Sandals,WOMENS LADIES FLAT PEEPTOE POM POM T-BAR ESPADRILLES PUMPS SANDALS SHOES SZ 3-8Women’s crocs Sz 8 Black White Slides Sandals,New SODA Women Shoes Flip Flops Basic Plain Beach Thong Sandals Casual FELER,New Women Ect1 Black Gold Metal Plate Toe Ring Flat Slide Sandals 5.5 to 8.5,Man/Woman DONNA SAVANNAH PUNTA APERTA ZEPPA SCARPE Rich design Fast delivery Full range of specificationsLilley Womens White Diamante High Wedge Sandal - Sizes 3,4,5,6,7,8,Antonio Melani Colbie Womens Black Leather Slingback Wedge Sandals US size 11m,DESTOCKAGE CHAUSSURES ESPADRILLE TAILLE 36 / ESPADRILLES MULTICOLORE H73,New Eddie Roy Tan Wedge Sandal Shoes 6.5LADIES LEATHER PINK GLADIATOR STYLE FLAT SANDALS, UK SIZE 5,Italian Shoemakers Kristen Black Polka Dots Wedge Heel Sandals Size 7.New Women Sandals Flat Strappy Gladiator Shoes Style Back Zip Sequins Design,FEMMES ANNE MICHELLE SANDALE AVEC DÉTAIL DE DIAMANTE & BRIDE CHEVILLE 3 COULEURS,BOC Born Concept Womens Clog Slip Ons Size 7/38 Leather UpperMen's/Women's GRANDCO SANDAL V STUDDED WHITE Good world reputation Cheaper than the price cheaper,Ladies Beautiful ❤ Black PVC Gladiator Sandals. With Gold Studded Detailing. UK6,Men's/Women's Nine West Black Sandals 10 M Various goods Online export store Various latest designs,designer ladies stripped bee decoration flat causal slipper sandal beach slipper,NEW WOMEN'S JELLY THONG FLIP FLOP RHINESTONE AND BOW ACCENTED FLAT SANDALSMen's/Women's Ladies Spot On Sandals F10147 Reasonable price New style various kinds,Womens Crocs Kadee 2 Flip Turqoise Comfort Flip Flops UK Sizeveedee sandals 5/6 with rhinestone accents WhiteQuick Step Black Suede Toe Post Flip Flop Sandals, Size:,Roxy GUINEA Women's Multi-Colored Textile Sandals Size 9M,Womens The Realm Black/Pink Flip Flops (4K),Womens Mossimo Genice White Perforated Flip Flop Sandals NWOB A126,"SALE" Ladies Flat Crossover Mule with Chinese Style Print F0R0096,
BO: When it comes to precision medicine, advances in technology, data science, and clinical research are already curing diseases that were once thought to be incurable. It’s entirely possible that a decade or two from now, treatments would be tailored not just to the disease, but also to the individual patient. We’re being careful to protect patient data and to make participants partners in this work. Because if we embrace precision medicine in the right way, the possibilities for better treatments are practically endless.
The BRAIN Initiative is another project whose time has come. Right now, we can identify galaxies billions of light-years away. We can study particles smaller than an atom. But we still haven’t unlocked the mystery of the 3 pounds of matter that sits between our ears. I believe that with America leading the way, we can change that. Hundreds of scientists and dozens of universities, companies, foundations, and other organizations have stepped up to help us tackle this challenge.
PS: You’ve also advocated the development of a private space industry to work alongside and complement government efforts. What is your vision for space exploration and commercialization? Who does what?
BO: I’ve laid out a vision for space exploration where our astronauts travel out into the solar system not just to visit, but to stay. To build a sustainable human presence in space, we’ll need a thriving private-sector space economy. I see the expanding space industry as an addition to, not a replacement for, the extraordinary work of NASA. With industry taking over tasks like ferrying cargo and crew to the International Space Station, NASA can focus even more intensely on the most challenging exploration missions, like landing astronauts on Mars or learning more about Earth and the rest of our solar system.
As we set our sights toward other planets, we can also create good jobs here on this one. American companies have begun to reclaim the lucrative market for launching commercial satellites. That’s just one example of the way that a growing space economy can help American workers succeed.
PS: If you were to end up on Mars, who would you want as your companion: Mark Watney from The Martian, or Ellen Ripley from Alien?
BO: As long as it’s a hypothetical question, can’t I pick both? If I’ve got Matt Damon growing potatoes and Sigourney Weaver taking care of any unwelcome intruders, I like my chances.
PS: It’s been barely two months since a climate agreement was struck in Paris. How do you think the agreement will be remembered 20 years from now?
BO: I believe the Paris agreement can be a turning point for our planet. It’s the biggest single step the world has ever taken toward combating global climate change. When I traveled to Paris at the beginning of the climate conference, I said we needed an enduring agreement that reduces global carbon emissions and commits the world to a low-carbon future. That’s exactly what we achieved.
The American people should be proud because this historic agreement is a tribute to American leadership. The skeptics said that taking action to transition to a clean-energy economy would kill jobs. Instead, we’ve seen the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history. We’ve driven our economic output to all-time highs, while driving our carbon pollution to its lowest level in nearly two decades.
These kinds of concrete steps helped bring more countries to the table. With our historic joint announcement with China last year, we showed it was possible to bridge the old divides between developed and developing nations that had stymied global progress for too long. And that accomplishment inspired dozens and dozens of other nations to follow our lead and set ambitious climate targets of their own.
BO: Before you can solve a problem, you have to understand it. That’s why we’ve fought hard to protect the funding for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a government-wide effort to help us see what’s happening in the present so we can better predict the future. Thanks to their efforts, our satellites, aircraft, ships, buoys, and terrestrial-monitoring systems are providing indispensable insights and strengthening the models that tell us what to expect going forward.
My administration hasn’t just helped to advance climate science—we’ve also made good use of the results. We used the most up-to-date insights from climate science as the basis of our national Climate Action Plan. And we’ve begun to develop accessible climate databases and tools that help governments, businesses, and citizens protect themselves from the effects of climate change that we can’t avoid.
President Obama, photographed on January 4 at the White House
BO: Fifteen of the planet’s 16 warmest years have come in the first 16 years of the 21st century. The warmest year yet was 2015. The Pentagon is warning us that climate change will threaten our national security by fostering instability overseas. Here at home, we’re seeing longer and more dangerous wildfire seasons, coupled with devastating droughts. Last year I visited Alaska, where towns are literally being swallowed up by rising sea levels. Miami now routinely floods at high tide. So this debate is over. The question now is what we do about climate change because there is such a thing as being too late. And I think that regardless of their party, if candidates for elected office want to resign your children and grandchildren to a world that’s broken beyond repair, then there’s simply no way they deserve your vote.
BO: Well, here’s what we’ve done. Over the past seven years, we have transformed America into the global leader in fighting climate change. We’ve set new fuel standards for cars and trucks, invested more than any administration in history in growing industries like wind and solar, taken unprecedented steps to protect our natural resources, and set limits on the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can dump into the air. Most important, we’ve proved that we don’t have to choose between a growing economy and a safer planet for future generations. We can have both.
But in the end, when I think about our efforts to combat climate change, I don’t just think about CO2 emissions levels or degrees of global temperature rise. I think about my two girls, and the grandchildren I’d hope to have one day. I imagine myself pushing a little boy or girl on a swing set, out in the open air, looking up at the sun. In that moment, I want to know that the planet’s going to be in pretty good shape. And I want to have contributed to that.
Because that’s our goal: to leave behind a better, safer, more prosperous world for our kids and grandkids. That’s our most important mission in the time we have on Earth. And after seven years as president, I’ve never been more confident that together, we’ll succeed.