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?
CL by Laundry Frauen Sandalen mit Absatz Schwarz Groesse 8.5 US /39.5 EUNew Womens WOLKY Jewel Black Smooth Leather Sling Back Mary Jane Sandals,CLARKS BENDABLES BROWN LEATHER SLIDE SANDALS 8 MEDIUM B WIDTH LOW HEEL,Mesdames eaze décontracté à enfiler Mi compensé Sandales Mules 3103,Teva Sandals Purple Tirra Anti-microbial Water Sport Sandal Women's 9Nuevo Mujer Liso Diamante Con Punta Abierta Mujer Brillante Elegante FiestaClarks Women's Petrina Gail Wedge Sandal,Burberry White Patent Espadrilles UK7/US9/EUR40 - In Great Condition,JUICY COUTURE "Forrest" Wedge Platform Cork Sandals Sz. 9M NWOB WOW!!!,Men/Women LADIES SANDPIPER BEIGE SANDALS STYLE SUN Various styles Win the praise of customers As of the latest model,Women's Report Blayden Slip On Sandals Natural Shoe Size 7.5,Life Stride Soft System Women's Sandals NEW in Box Novak, Met Multi Baia Sz 9.5M,RAG & BONE WYATT BORDEAUX BURGUNDY SUEDE SANDAL-38.5-NEW/BOX-RARE-$550-,NEW CLARKS RUSTY LADY WOMENS TAN MULTI LEATHER WEDGE SANDALS,Donna Savannah con zeppa punta aperta estivo floreale sandali f1r0789,Birkenstock Women’s Double Strap Gray Leather Sandals Size 41 EU/10 US $250,LATITUDE WOMAN Shoes small heels tips sharp/ pointed leather 36.5 MINT,New Women Glaze Tammy-1 Jelly Half Circle Gold Plated Slip On Thong SandalGentleman/Lady Vanelli 111mj17 Wedge Sandals Black 174255 Cheap new Authentic guarantee,Baske Californa, Amoux Sandal, distressed leather, green, size 10,femmes REMONTE crochet et boucle Sandales r8565,Kenneth Cole New York Womens Lex Lucite Open Toe Special Occasion Ankle Strap...,Man/Woman Sandalen Gregors 648 40051 Crazy price, Birmingham Brand Strong heat and heat resistance,Report Laina Sandal - Women's Size 9 - Black (NEW!),Womens Rocket Dog Allesso Chevron Pop Black Metallic Wedge Sandals UK Size,Clarks Artisan Beige Ankle Strap Wedge Heel Espadrille Sandals Shoes Size 10 MHELLE Comfort Romu's Thong Black/Silver Jacquard Serpent Heel Sandals 37 7,Man/Woman Women-Sanuk-Yoga-Chakra-Flip-Flop-Sandal-SWS10577-Black-100-Authentic-Brand-New Good design special function Caramel, gentle,NEW Dr. Doc Martens Carmela Slide on Sandals Pewter Spectra ladies US 9,Gentlemen/Ladies Ana Lublin LISBET Consumer first Affordable Sales online store,
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
|Style:||Loafers & Moccasins|
|Pattern:||Solid||Width:||Medium (B, M)|
PS: You also put heavy emphasis on developing innovation and entrepreneurship. How do you make Silicon Valley happen all over the country?
aw304 EDDY DANIELE shoes black suede women sandals,Gentlemen/Ladies FitFlop Womens FitFlop Timberwolf Super Jelly Fashion pattern a variety of a wide variety of goods,Puma Platform Slide Bold SD Slippers Ladies F02,Tory burch miller spark gold leather sandal nib,Clarks COLLECTION SANDALS WOMEN'S SIZE 8 M,Mesdames eaze noir/MARINE Sandales bout ouvert f3112,Man's/Woman's T-Strap Landry Sandal economic Cheaper than the price Personalization trend,Men/Women Leichte Zehenstegsandalen am Strand Reliable quality Upper material have fun,Bella Vita Frauen Flache Sandalen Schwarz Groesse 7 US /38 EU,Men's/Women's Frye Avery Pickstitch Suede Sandal durability Quality and quantity guaranteed Maintenance capability,Stuart Weitzman Womens Walk My Way Round Toe Special Occasion Platform Sandals,GRANDCO SANDAL CERAMIC THONG SANDAL BLACK SOLE Goregous,Gentlemen/Ladies Ladies Savannah Wedge Sandals Style F10788 High grade Fine art Seasonal promotion,Lauren Ralph Lauren Hasel Brown Womens Shoes Size 9 M Heels MSRP $109,Taos Escape Black Leather Comfort Slingback Sandals Size 41 (US WOMENS 10),Gentleman/Lady LifeStride Frauen Flache Sandalen Crazy price Pleasant appearance Fair price,AF175 OLGA RUBINI schuhe schwarz satin damen sandalen,LADIES PADDERS PEARL 792 WIDE FIT OPEN TOE BUCKLE FASTEN CASUAL SUMMER SANDALS,Man/Woman infrabijoux Malilparmi with little beads Easy to use buy Very good color,Mr/Ms Faith Julian Suedette Gladiator Sandals 5 Modern and elegant fashion High quality and economy Complete specificationsWhite Mountain Womens Gillis Open Toe Casual Strappy Sandals,Thalia Sodi Frauen Areyana Offener Zeh leger Sandalen mit Keilabsatz Gold Groess,Ladies EDEN riptape/buckle wedge sandals by SUAVE Retail 25.00Gentleman/Lady Vince Camuto Rebeka Women's Sandals Brown Best-selling worldwide fashionable classic stylewomens shoes EDDY DANIELE 8 () sandals grey suede AW109-41,CAR SHOE DAMEN LEDER FLIP FLOPS ZEHENTRENNER SANDALEN NEU NATURE BRAUN 0A5,Groove Footwear Barbara Slide Sandals - Women's Size 9.5 - Brown,Mr/Ms Ladies Eaze Wedge Mule Sandals Label-F3104S fashion discount price retail price,Leila Stone Womens "Hadria" Ultra-Strappy Platform Sandal,Clarks Reedly Juno Mid Heel Wedge Leather Womens Sandals Mid Heel Mid Heel,
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.