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?
Sandali Saint Laurent Donna - Pelle (315490BDA00),Men's/Women's Katy Perry Frauen Flache Sandalen Strong heat and wear resistance King of quantity Personalization trend,Cole Haan Frauen Fenley High Sandal Offener Zeh leger Platform Sandalen Schwarz,Damas Anne Michelle Plateado Sandalia con finas Tacón & Tira Para Tobillo L3413,White Mountain Womens Dreamy Peep Toe Special Occasion Ankle Strap SandalsSummer Black/Gold Womens Flat Open Toe Sexy Gladiator Sandals Shoes Size 6,Gentleman/Lady Topline Women's Catay Heeled Sandal High grade The latest technology Official website,Easy Street Zaira Fringe Wedge Sandals, Beige/TanMr/Ms Gladiator Sandalen rot GH-2776 rot 43322 Attractive and durable Sufficient supply Reliable reputation,Use-Custom-Brand Womens Pattaya Open Toe Casual Slide Sandals,Wolky Of Holland Frosty Comfort Wedge Peeptoe Ankle Strap Sandals US 6,aw124 EDDY DANIELE schuhe grau wildleder swarovski crystals damen sandalen,SAS Shoes Sandals Captiva Black 7 M In Box Wore Once,Avarcas Spagnolo Donna Sandali In Pelle Sling Pelle Sandali Spagna,New in Box Madden Girl Fun Summer Pom Pom Wedges Size 6.5Summer Pink/Gold Womens Fashion Sexy Gladiator Sandals Size 6,Gentlemen/Ladies Naughty Monkey Women's Clear Mind Sandal Good design a wide range of products Elegant and robust menu,Gentleman/Lady ANANIAS griechische Römer Leder Sandalen Fashion pattern high quality Breathable shoes,Yellow Box"Give" Ladies Suede Leather Thong Sandal,SAN MARINA SANDALEN ABSÄTZE 13 CM PLATTFORM LEDER SAMT SCHWARZ 40,aw07 EDDY DANIELE schuhe grün wildleder swarovski crystals damen sandalen,Black 10,Women's Shoes,Almond Toe Casual Slip On Wedge Office Shoes,Nuovo da Donna Nappa Piatta Caviglia con Spalline Vacanza Estate,Superdry Ladies Tythes Renner Printed Cork Fluro Pink Dark Navy Hibiscus,Man's/Woman's Lisanne Comfort Women's Sandals Beige fashion Attractive fashion Preferential price,Down To Earth Ladies Mid Cork Wedge Sandalsfemmes Leather Collection plat Sandales à lanières f0936,Mr/Ms Ladies Rockport Summer Label Mules-W Innovative design Latest styles Export,New Clarks Collection Breeze Mila Greystone Flip-Flop Sandals Women's Size 7M,New CARLOS by Carlos Santana Tessa Black sandals womens size 8,
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
Madden Girl by Steve Madden
|Heel Height:||Med (1 3/4 in. to 2 3/4 in.)||Style:||Sandals|
|Country/Region of Manufacture:||China||Width:||Medium (B, M)|
|US Shoe Size (Women's):||US 6.5/UK 4.5/EU 37||Material:||Textile/PU/TPR|
PS: You also put heavy emphasis on developing innovation and entrepreneurship. How do you make Silicon Valley happen all over the country?
Tory Burch Bianca Flat Slide Sandals $278.00 Mult SzWomen's Damiani's by Italian Shoemakers Sandals - 168M - Natural - New!,LADIES BRONZE LEATHER COLLECTION BUCKLE FASTENING SANDALS "F0897",Not Rated Women's Shakti Ankle Bootie, Cream, Size 7.5 9udG US / 5.5 UK,Mr/Ms Ladies Leather Collection Mules bargain Beautiful appearance business,WOMENS BROWN SLIP ON SANDALS SHOES = SOFFT = 9M soft = wwss,Gentlemen/Ladies Nine West Sassy Caged Gladiator Sandals Year-end special promotions Various types and styles various kinds,Sandalo Sandali Infradito Donna Donne ragazza Grigio Pelle Comfort Mare Fibbia Z,Sandalo Pons Quintana in pelle intrecciata acciaio,Man/Woman Havaianas Haut Argent tongs High quality and cheap High quality and economy Authentic guarantee,New Lipstik Toffee White Womens Shoes Casual Sandals Sandals Flat,Kenneth Cole Reaction Frauen Slim Brim Offener Zeh leger Flache Sandalen Gold Gr,LADIES ANNE MICHELLE GOLD SANDALS WITH ANKLE STRAP & DIAMANTE DETAIL F10301,Women’s Fashion Collection Flip Flops - Flowers,FEMMES / EN CUIR décontracté / habillé à enfiler été/VACANCES/chaussures bateau,Mephisto Marie Sparkling Wedge BLACK SUEDE Sandal CUT OUT WORK RHINESTONES SZ 40Dexter Dexflex Silver Gray Metallic Leather Sandal Size 11 Low Wedge Slides Shoe,Leather Collection Beaded Ladies Spot On Sandals,SOLILLAS FOR OFFICE Womens 40 Black Metallic Sparkle Slides Shoes Sandals Flat,Mr/Ms Sam Edelman Sandals 38 Brand New Elegant shape Impeccable General product,Men's/Women's Franco Sarto Women's Danara Slide Sandal feature Bright colors Amoy,Man's/Woman's Tahari Women's TA-Gia Louis, elaborate Comfortable touch Personalization trendStuart Weitzman Attitude Leather Platform Wedge Sandal Size 9 New In Box NIBUse-Custom-Brand Womens jess Low Top Slip On Fashion Sneakers Black Size 9.5 RMINNETONKA )WOMEN'S LEATHER UPPER WEDGES SANDALS SIZE 6M,Man's/Woman's tory burch flip flops 9 superior Online export store Sales online store,Black Leather Sandals Womens Gladiator Strap Biblical Jesus UK (3-8) EU(36-42)Ladies Leather Collection Sandals The Style F0R0143BY372 OLGA RUBINI zapatos marrón platino cuero mujer sandalias,Vince Camuto Frauen attena Geschlossener Zeh leger Knoechel Riemen Sandalen Schw
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.