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?
Salvatore Ferragamo Women's Black Leather Slingback Ruby Heel Pumps Size US 7.5,Journee Collection Frauen ike Geschlossener Zeh Knoechel Riemen Klassische PumpsBigTree size 39 slim fit pumps Brand new stiletto heels shiny silverPleaser Women's Sexy-20/GPCP Pump,Gold Pearlized Patent,6 M US,KENNETH COLE Women's Cut Out Wedges/Platform Heels Size 7M,Brinley Co Frauen Pumps Rot Groesse 10 US /41.5 EU,Man's/Woman's white block heels size 7 Excellent value stable quality Superb craftsmanship,Nine west suede 4in black & gold heelsOpen Toe Anne Michelle Ankle Strap Shoe Wooden Beaded Women's Sz 7 1/2 PreownedMan's/Woman's Thalia Sodi Frauen Natalia Spitzenschuhe Klassische Pumps economic special function British temperament GN902,Man/Woman animal print heela size5 Packaging diversity New in stock Popular tide shoesGentlemen/Ladies Enzo Angiolini excellent quality Carefully selected materials Fine wild,Mac J Silver Slip On 3.5" High Heel Shoes Pointy Toe Pump 7-11Silver Slip On Open Toe Princess Party Wedges Women 2.5” High Heels Size 6M s ladies shoes size 7.5 wider fitWomen’s Size 5 Yellow Extremely High Heel,Platform Pumps Heels Bakers Jacinda Cheetah Print Ponyhair Heeled Shoes 9 $120,Man/Woman Black Teatro Occasion Heels Size 6 Queensland Online Highly appreciated and widely trusted in and out,Man/Woman ladies shoes size 7 Quality queen New style Human border,MUDD "WALNUT" Women's Black Slingback Heels, S.7M,Brand New With Tags - New Look Wide Fit Heels Size 6,Marrone / in vernice nera medio SANDALI TACCO ALTO,Women's Open Toe T-Strap Strappy Wedge Platform Sandal Shoes Size 5 - 10 NEW,Via Spiga Women's Brown Leather Ankle Strap Heels Sandals SIze 8.5 M US,Man/Woman wedges High quality and low overhead Good market King of the crowd,Marc Jacobs Heart Heels Vslentines Day Peep Toe Pumps Shoes 9–1/2 silk leather,Gentlemen/Ladies ladies nude heels size 6 the most convenient Affordable Famous storeGrey/silver High Heel Shoes Belle Women Size 4,HipOppoTamus Multi Color Leather Pumps - Women's Size 7 M - Made in Brazil - WOWJ. Jill Clogs Brown Studded Leather Wood Clogs Wooden Women’s Size 9,
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
|Style:||Platforms HIGH HEEL|
|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?
Man's/Woman's Ladies shoes durability Year-end sale retail price,Denim Blue Platform Beaded Ankle Straps High Cone Heel Pumps Shoe Size 7,LADIES "MOOTSIES TOOTSIES" BLACK SLIP ON SHOES size 10M,Steve Madden Womens White Open Toe Heels Size 9.5 (425141)Tiana-01 Slim Party Prom Stylish Sandals 4.5" High Heel Women Shoes Black 8.5,CHINESE LAUNDRY Women’s SZ 7 PERFORATED PLATFORM WEDGE SANDALS SHOESHot Bowknot Platforms Wedges Sexy Florals 3" Heels Pumps Womens Round Toe ShoesMan's/Woman's ladies shoes size 6 Louis, elaborate high quality Brand feastBlack leather low heel Linea Paola slingback pumps work career 6,Mossimo women black all man made materials slingback open toe heels shoes size 7,Gentleman/Lady MODA SPANA WOMEN SANDALS SIZE 6.5 Special purchase product quality Breathable shoes,MINNA-02 Buckle Wedges Party 4.8 Inch High Heel 1.2" Platform Women's Shoes Blue,Womens Stiletto High Heel Ankle Strap Sandals Peep Toe Party Prom Shoes Size 6,Girls Spot On Diamante Detail Mid Heel Riptape Shoes H3066,Man/Woman Womens Ladies Black High Heel Court Shoes Smart Formal Occasion Party Size New Many varieties low cost Vintage tide shoes HB1524,Men's/Women's Dorothy Perkins Heels - Size 5 Every item described is available low cost Current shape,Caparros Open Toe Ankle Strap Platform Pumps Shoes Heels 8B Bling Brown Sexy,HipOppoTamus Multi Color Leather Pumps - Women's Size 7 M - Made in Brazil - WOW,M&S AUTOGRAPH Shoes Square Toe Court Black Soft Leather Platform Shoes RRP,Madden Girl By Steve Madden Women Halliee Scarpin Pump, Blush Patent, US 6.B,Oubaoli size 39 matte light gold slim fit pumps Brand new stiletto heels,Gentlemen/Ladies Ladies Womens Mid Heel Court Shoe / Office / Formal Shoes - Orange - Size Diverse new design excellent Famous store WV169Dorothy Perkins Shoes Size 4 Black Back To School / Work,Vince Camuto Estera Wedge Sandals Beige Leather Snake Pattern Open Toe 7.5 B,BORN BROWN SUEDE LEATHER MULES SIZE 9 M,Summer womens Sandals Platform High Heels sandals Peep Toe party sandals ShoesWorthington Black Platform Wedge Heel 5.25" Platform 1.125" Women's US 9.5MGentleman/Lady Just fab women shoes Clever and practical Won highly appreciated and widely trusted at home and abroad International big name,& Other Stories Black Wooden Wedges - Size 38,East 5th Womens Size 6M Heels Pumps Shoes Peep Open Toe Brown Block 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.