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?
Mr/Ms Flower Primark Atmosphere Wedges Size 6 Guarantee quality and quantity Price reduction a wide variety of goods,New Look Womens Court Shoes Black Leather Brogues Size 7,Man/Woman size 6 dorothy perkins shoes Diverse new design Let our products go to the world Excellent stretching,Women's Touch Ups Dakota Silver Ankle Strap Open Toe Heeled Sandals Size 8 M,Man's/Woman's high heels size 4 bargain special promotion Preferred boutique,Footglove womens gold leather mid heel slingbacks new wide fit Eu 36,Boxing Now Women shining diamante Evening Wedding Ball PARTY SHOES Off-White,Nanette Lepore Women's Sling Back Pump Patent Leather Cute Bow Black 7.5 B,Fioni Women's Size 7 Strappy Black Chunky High Heel Sandals,Glo Purple Ruffle Open Heels Sandals w/ Ankle Strap Women's Size 7 MRiver Island - Khaki Heels - Size 5,Gentleman/Lady Black Suede Mary Jane Platform Heel Promotion Preferred material General productCL LAUNDAY BLACK JUNITA OPEN TOE ALL MAN MADE MATERIAL 2" HEEL PUMPS SIZE 9.5 MGentlemen/Ladies Womens Red Heels Size 6 Cheap Primary quality a lot of varietiesNaturalizer Brelynn Perforated Leather Wedges in Ginger Nut. Sz 10SZ NUDE SHIMMER DIAMOND JEWEL EMBELLISHED T BAR WEDGE SHOE / BEACH SANDAL,Diana Ferrari 11 Black Low Heal Buckle Stitching Shoe,Design Lab Womens Ariel Tan Tassel Strap Sandals Flats 8 Medium (B,M) BHFO 5222SEXY Women Block High Heels Sandals Peep Toe Zipper Chunky Shoes Ankle Boots,Carlos by Carlos Santana Frauen Posy Spitzenschuhe Klassische Pumps Blau Groesse,Daisy Fuentes Women's 9M Leather Upper Loafer w/Sparkly Decor NEW! (SBx-5),Nine West Patent Leather Cinnamon Brown Heels,WINE FRINGE CUT OUT SIMPLE HIGH HEELS STILETTOS ANKLE STRAPPY OPEN TOE FASHIONWomens Steve Madden Size 8.5 M Navy Blue Stilettos,Men's/Women's Wittner Black Leather Shoes Rich design Elegant style General product,Womens Ankle Strapy Pointed Toe Bowknot Shoes Vantage Flat 4Colors Pump Solid E1,Men's/Women's Concealed Platform high heel round toe court shoes Promotion Fine art Various WH474,Enzo Angiolini Brown Leather Strappy 3" Heel 8 M,BareTraps Kassie Memory Foam Woven Mary Jane Wedge Pumps Sky Blue 11US Display,Gentlemen/Ladies SALE* Spot On F10433 Ladies Silver Glitter Peep Toe Wedge Heel Court Shoes Elegant appearance Make full use of materials Known for its excellent quality HW290
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 without box: A brand-new, unused, and unworn item (including handmade items) that is not in original packaging or ... Read moreabout the condition
|Width:||Medium (B, M)||Style:||Wedge Platform Sandal|
|Heel Height:||Very High (4.5 in. and Up)|
|Heel Type:||Platform Wedge|
PS: You also put heavy emphasis on developing innovation and entrepreneurship. How do you make Silicon Valley happen all over the country?
Carvela Kurt Geiger Black Leather Court SHOES Heels Size //US 10 FabSteve Madden Women's Fuchsia Satin D'Orsay Stiletto Heel Pumps Size US 6.5 M,White House Black Market Women's Peep Toe Heels Size 7.5 M Patent Leather Pumps,Gentleman/Lady Witchery Heels Packaging diversity Good market Caramel, gentleGentleman/Lady heels size 7 Aesthetic appearance First grade in its class TRUE,Stuart Weitzman Sz 10.5 Gold Leather Sandal,River Island - Khaki Heels - Size 5,LADIES SPOT ON WHITE EMBROIDERED/GLITTER COURT SHOE F9603Enzo Angiolini Maryann Red Leather Lucite Pumps Heels Mules Pointed Toe Size 8M,Ladies Womens Black Mid High Heels Zip Casual Chelsea Ankle Boots Shoes Size 3-8Aerosoles SureGrip 'Arizona' brown leather slip on non-slip heel 9M,Gentleman/Lady Ladies Asian Indian Pakistani Shoes, Wedding Bling Crystal Wedding Sandals Heels Easy to use a variety of Brand feast RW3380,Gentlemen/Ladies BCBGeneration heels size 5 Year-end special promotions Elegant style A balance between toughness and hardness,Style&co Women's Heels Pre owned Tarah Black Size 7.5 M Fabric Slightly Used,femmes Spot On talon haut Sandales bout ouvertNine West Womens Black Heels 6.5 MLoft Ankle Strap White Sandal, 3" heel, size 8M, New w/o box,Lotus black leather mid heel shoes eu 39,Man/Woman Brinley Co Womens chaney Pointed Toe Ankle Strap Classic Pumps We have won praise from our customers. Latest styles Outstanding function WG194,Mr/Ms Ladies Strappy Shoes 3 Aesthetic appearance Elegant style a lot of varieties,Bruno Magli Tan Satin Peep Toe Slingback Heels Womens 7.5 AAA Made in Italy,Nine West Heel 9.5 Tan/ Beige Strappy,Cole Haan Heels/Open Toe Size-8.5 B Burgundy Leather Made in Brazil,WILD ROSE Teal~Gold Snakeskin Open Toe 3 3/4" Heels Rhinestone w/Buckle size 7,NEW BANDOLINO Shakin Women's Yellow Multicolor Wedges Shoes Size 8.5 M NEW,Chestnut nn Straps Side Buckle Sexy Womens Flatform Heels Sandals Shoes Size 8.5,Man's/Woman's ASOS Platform Shoes Size 7 quality First batch of customers Selling new products,IN THE STYLE Black High Heel Strap Shoes Size 6,LAUREN Ralph Lauren Sz 8 B Black Leather Pointed Block Heel Women's Heels EUCMen's/Women's Predictions Fancy Black Silk Strappy Heels durable Modern design Speed refund,
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.