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?
Nine West Womens Abla Strappy Grommet Ankle Block Heels Shoes BHFO 3005,Donald Pliner Black Suede Womens Heels Size 9M SALE!!!!,Womens Candies Catalina Sz 9.5 B Heels Shoes Buckle Strap,Women's Next brown bronze leather snake slip on heels shoesLondon Rebel Women Black Loafer Shoes Size5A1 Franco Sarto Wedges Sandals Open Toe Buckle Casual Black Women Shoes Size 10,Gianni Bini Women's Black Patent Leather Strappy Strap Stiletto Sandals Size 8 M,New CL by Chinese Laundry Womens Runwayburnished CharcoalBurnished Open Toe,COUP D'ETAT Slides Mules Brown Blue Fabric Heel Block Women Shoes US 7.5M,Ak Anne Klein Malik Women's Brown Suede Pointy Toe Kitten Heels Size US 8.5 M7 For All Mankind 9M Brown Beige Open Toe Caged Ankle Platform Pump,Franco Sarto Womens A-Montage Pink Pumps Size 5.5 (247222),AK Anne Klein 'Wystere' black croc embossed platform black pump heel shoe 6.5M,Women's Fioni Size 8 Black High Heels Snake Print Shoes,DREAM PAIRS Womens Gladiator Buckles Low Wedge Back Zipper Summer SandalsMen's/Women's Negro Tacón Cuña Sandalias Peep-Toe Guarantee quality and quantity High quality and economy Breathable shoes,Men/Women Dunlop Wedges 7 Various goods Ranked first in its class Exquisite workmanship,B.O.C. Womens Lyle natural Wedge Heels Size 7 (221603),Mr/Ms Trenery black leather shoes selling price Wholesale trade professional designIsaac Denim & Black Patent Leather Peep Toe Pumps Size 9BNew David Tate Womens Petal-001 Black Sandals Size 9 (AA,N),Naturalizer Womens E7761l1 Blue Pumps Size 6 (2E) (244092),Gold Gladiator Scrappy Sandals High Heels Roman,Clarks Artisan Womens Brown Leather Block Heel Loafers Size 5.5; EUC,Gentleman/Lady Dune strappy womens shoes Exquisite (middle) workmanship High quality and economy businessQupid Womens Black Snake Suede Dressy Stilettos Platform Pumps Sexy Shoes SZ 10LIFE STRIDE SOFT SYSTEM SHOES WOMEN'S SIZE 10 M (3.5 INCH HEEL) LUMA,BCBG GENERATION HEELS - BLACK STRAP HEELS - STYLE: BG-MAYA SIZE/WIDTH 10M N.I.B.,Ladies Navy Blue Gabor Sling Back Heeled Shoe Size,Ladies Monet Black/sparkle Dressy Evening sandles, size 10m. slightly used.,
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?
|Condition:||New without box : |
A brand-new, unused, and unworn item (including handmade items) that is not in original packaging or may be missing original packaging materials (such as the original box or bag). The original tags may not be attached. For example, new shoes (with absolutely no signs of wear) that are no longer in their original box fall into this category. See all condition definitions- opens in a new window or tab
|Seller Notes:||“Shoes are in Brand New Condition Without Original Box and / Or Original Box is not in New Condition. Bottoms have brand new condition. Insoles have brand new condition. Uppers have brand new condition”|
|Style:||Ankle Strap||Heel Type:||Block|
|Width:||Medium (B, M)||US Shoe Size (Women's):||8|
Does not apply
PS: You also put heavy emphasis on developing innovation and entrepreneurship. How do you make Silicon Valley happen all over the country?
Womens / Girls Rocket Dog Canvas Court Shoe Pumps in size,NEXT HIGH HEEL GRAY STUDDED BOOTS SIZE 6.5,Liz Claiborne Red Suede Leather Pumps 8.5,PRECIS brand/Crusade-39 -block heel shoes -genuine nubuck/suede-black- size 10,WHITE HOUSE BLACK MARKET Bonita Black rose sling back Shoes Heels size 9Jessica Simpson Women Black Shoes Size 6.5 Wooden Heels,BCBGirls Womens Shoes 9.5B Heels Pumps Peep Toe Clear box30Ivanka Trump Womens Benny Gold Pumps Size 7.5 (238256),LifeStride Womens Black Sandals Size 8.5 (369078),Man's/Woman's Qupid Women's Milia-123 Pump New market Upper material fine,Pierre Dumas Women's 2.5" Heels Black Fabric 7.5 M Shoes,Menbur Avance Bridal High Heels Grey Court Ladies Shoe Size 36 EU /,Naturalizer Sandals Wedge Heels Scrappy Black 7 M Vegan Suede Braided Jute,Jessica Simpson Metallic Mary Jane Heels With Elastic strap Silver sz 8 B,Zara Patent black strapped wedges Size 6 / 39 Great ConditionLadies Black Patent/ Black PU Spot On Shoes FM257Mr/Ms ladies going out shoes size 4.5 Charming design Pleasant appearance Famous store♡ Lila Catwalk Pumps Peep Toe Riemchen Sommer,Lane Bryant Gray & Pink Two Tone Strap Wedge Heel Sneaker Shoes Size 8,METAL MULISHA Scarpe/Footwear Lovemachine PUMP Schwarz MOTOCROSS ENDURO,Marc Fisher Black Open Peep Toe Gold Heels Size 6 Cut Out Career Dressy Shoes,Women’s Faith “Oregano” Black Patent Strappy High Heel Sandals Size,Hot Women's Mid heel shoes Pointy toe Match Xolour Stilettos Bowtie Pump Slip on,Teva Womens Black Ankle Strap Sandals Size 9 (366463)Anne Klein Women’s Size 8.5 Black Fabric Dress Pump Peep Toe Odelle,AGL Attilio Giusti Leombruni Ballet Pumps Flats Shoes Size 36.5 Black LeatherHokus Pokus Womens White Sandals Size 10 (405200),Colin Stuart Black Leather MARY JANES Size 6 ~ 4" Heels,Aerosoles Size 8.5 B Work Career Slip Ons Black Wedges Suede Good Condition,Louise et Cie Womens Harlow Metallic Pumps Size 9.5 (222448),
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.