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?
Diesel Shoes High Heels White n Red Eur 37 USA 7,Anne Michelle Pink Studded Strap Platform Heels Sandals Shoes 6,New Annie Shoes Womens Gold Pumps Size 9,SHINER! City Classified Women's Open Toe Ankle-Strap Chunky Block Heeled SandalsAerosoles Foxy Lady Black Leather Pumps Women Size 6 1/2 M New With Tag,Nine West Patent Leather Classic Pumps Wine Size 6,Etienne Aigner Womens Taylor Pumps 7 1/2 N Snakeskin Replica Leather Spain,Bandolino Pumps Womens 8 M Brown Faux Croc Patent Slip On Heels Career Shoe,New Bella Vita Womens 50-8314 DarkTanLeather Open Toe Heels Size 8.5 (A, N),Women's Clarks Artisan Brown/Animal Print Leather Wedge Ankle Strap Sandals 8 MDorothy Perkins Size 7 Mustard Court Heels,FRANCO SARTO Howie WOMEN'S SIZE 6.5 M LEATHER PUMPS HIGH HEEL SHOESMen's/Women's Woman party shoes We have won praise from our customers. Modern design Popular tide shoes,Unlisted NATURAL GLOW Ivory Peep Toe High Heels Sz.8.5M W/Original Box,Katy Perry The Sadiee Women's Pumps SZ 8.5,New Carlos Womens D8216l2 Doe Pumps Size 9,LifeStride Womens Brown Ankle Strap Heels Size 11 (411364),Tahari Robin Brown Snake Print Patent Leather Slingback Heels Womens 6.5 M,Corso Como Winonna Black Calf Leather Women's Fashion Heels Size 7M EUC,SAKS FIFTH AVENUE BROWN SUEDE & LEATHER CLASSIC HEELS SIZE 9M,Women's Kurt Geiger black patent leather high heeled evening sandals, size 6/39,Lucky Brand Womens Brown Slides Size 8.5 (367705),Pre-owned without box Jessica Simpson Pump in Purple Size 6K Clarks Tan Leather Sandals / Shoes Open Toe Slingback,Qupid Women's Black Brown Strappy Buckle Weaved Wedge High Heels Sz 9 - EUCAnne Michelle Slip On Heel Beige Linen Gold Greek Accent Piece Size 6 Women's,Enzo Angiolini Pre-owned ankle strap Seafoam Blue sandal w crystals 10,Jellypop Womens Beige Ankle Strap Heels Size 8 (414128),Jacqueline Ferrar Black Heels Leather Size 5.5M Vintage Never Worn READ INFO 80s,Madden Girl Bella Heels - Women's Size 9 - Blush Fab,
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:||“Item is factory new in its original packaging.”|
|Width:||Medium (B, M)||Brand:|
|Pattern:||Solid||Coordinating Accessories:||Shoe Storage Bag|
|Occasion:||Party||Theme:||50s, Bow, Butterfly, Diamond, Heart, Hello Kitty, Leopard, Party, Snake, USA Flag, Vintage|
|Heel Type:||Kitten||Country/Region of Manufacture:||Hong Kong|
|Heel Height:||High (3 to 4 1/4)||Fastening:||Buckle|
PS: You also put heavy emphasis on developing innovation and entrepreneurship. How do you make Silicon Valley happen all over the country?
New Women Pumps Platform Suede Shoes Maurices Heels Black sz 10 Halloween WitchLucky Brand Womens Pacora Neutral Pumps Size 7 (253490),Gentleman/Lady Topshop Black Stilettos Clever and practical Let our products go to the world German OutletsMichael Antonio LOVEY Nude Crisscross Heeled Fashion Sandal Sz10M W/Original Box,Sexy Women High Heels Sandals - Summer Shoes (Snake Skin Look),Etienne Aigner Women's Heels Mercedes Brown Fabric Heels Size 5.5,INC International Concepts Women's Brown Leather Heels Strappy Size 8 EUC,AK Anne Klein 'Wystere' black croc embossed platform black pump heel shoe 6.5M,New Kristin Cavallari Womens Rynekidsuede OliveSuede Ankle Strap Sandals SizeDOCKERS WOMEN'S BROWN LEATHER LOAFER SHOES SIZE 7.5 M,GUESS Womens Brown Ankle Strap Sandals Size 6 (380186),Gentleman/Lady Chaussure femme ÉLUE par NOUS . quality Lush design renewed on time,Ladies Shoes Heels white pearl snake man made materials Statutes 6M NEW,Men's/Women's Dainty grey wedge sandal heels Ideal gift for all occasions auction Reliable reputationNew Dexflex Comfort Women's Logan Hooded Low Heel Size 5 Black Peep Toe,Oasis Brown Open Toe Sandals size 39/6 heel approx 4" (SB5),227 Frassinelli Italia Turquoise Leather Shoes For Women Size 37,Brand New Ladies Fuchsia Pink High Heel Peep Toe Shoes SizeBernardo Womens Reggie Camel Pumps Size 8.5 (326086),Etienne Agner Classic White Pumps - Size 7 1/2 N - Made in Spain,CLARKS ARTISAN MULES HEELS(WOMENS OLIVE LEATHER UPPER SIZE 7.5M,VINCE CAMUTO Kanada size 9 Leopard Hair Calf Mary Jane Peep Toe Pumps Heels,Ara Elegance Ladies Court Shoe In Black Size 5,Sam Edelman Womens Delilah Black Stilettos Size 9.5 (158291),Prevata Black Suede Leather Pumps - 8B - Made in Italy,Nine West Womens 25024113 Natural Peep Toe Heels Size 6.5 (326476),New Women's Elegant Platform Wedge Shallow Coarse High Heels Single Shoes 2 Inch,Earthies Savona Mary Jane Wedges Size 8,Enzo Angiolini Womens Kitten Heels Size 8 M Green Mint Suede Leather (E4),Gentle Souls 'Beo' in Vin - BRAND NEW,
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.