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?
MUDD Size 10 brown gray OPEN TOE 4" PLATFORM heel Womens Shoe,Gentleman/Lady Women Heels Beautiful color Attractive fashion Human border,Qupid Black Suede Ankle Strap Platform Stiletto Heels Size 7KS35 Maralyn Jeweled Peep-Toe Heels 639, Silver, 10 USNew Women DbDk Carolinee-1 PU Open Toe Cross Strap Cork Platform Wedge Sandal,WOMENS DESIGNER FAUX SUEDE HEELS DIAMANTE SANDALS,$50 Madden Girl Womens Halliee Classic Style Pump Shoe, Blush, US 7.5,NORDSTROM Pumps. Black. Leather. sz 6 1/2N. Classic style.Never worn.Office,New Look Black Peep Toe Heels Size 4,Womens Shoes Steve Madden Divva Strappy Slingbacks Peeptoe Black Size 8,AK71-C IL GRECO shoes white black leather women courts,Nina Women's Black Leather Crystal Decoration Platform Stiletto Heels Size 11 MLot 5 Wrap Around Tie Single Sole Cut Out Strappy High Heels Faux Leather SuedeBCBG GENERATION WOMEN PUMP CLASSICS M M SNAKE SKIN MULTI-COL LEATHER.SAS Vero Cuoio Black Pump Heels Shoes Size 8.5 N Comfort Heel Nice Condition,Madden Girl By Steve Madden Women Halliee Pump Shoe, Blush, US 6.5,Shoedazzle Elyse Women US 8 Black Dress Shoes Pre-OwnedSheikh Women’s Pumps high heel black with silver studs size 5 1/2,2 Pairs Of Pied A Terre Ladies Shoes/Strappy Sandals, High Heels,CLARKS Womens MULES HEELS Dark Brown Leather Clogs Size 7 M,Men/Women Stunning Dune Heels Size 5 selling price cheapest Complete specifications,Bandolino Supermodel Peep-Toe Pump Heels 345, Black, 7.5 US,EASY STEPS WOMEN'S FASHION CLASSIC BROWN DRESS HEELS SHOES SIZE 8.5 C,Franco Sarto Women's Maroon Pump Peep Toe Heels Shoe Size 9.5MBarney's New York CO-OP Women's Gold Leather Pointed Toe Pumps,Nouveau Femme Gladiateur Bride Cheville Bout Ouvert Découpe Épais,Man/Woman ladies shoes size 6 The color is very eye-catching Skilled manufacturing Elegant and robust menu,FRANCO SARTO TOP SHELF SNAKESKIN 8M KITTEN HEEL Pumps Leather Designer Shoes,Womens Pointed Toe Court Shoes Patent Mid Heel Metallic Classy Office Shoes size,Gentleman/Lady NATURALIZER-SZ-8-8.5-BROWN-GOLD-CHEETAH-WEDGE-HEEL-SHOES-OPEN-TOE-BASKET-WEAVE Complete specification Wholesale trade Beautiful and charming,
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:||Strappy, Ankle Straps|
|Events:||Evening, Bridal, Bridesmaid, Wedding, Prom, Party||Toe Style:||Round|
|Exact Colours:||Black, Silver, Pink, Champagne & Ivory||Fastening:||Buckle|
|Features:||Ankle Strap, Strappy||Exact Heel Height:||4.3 Inches / 10.75 CM|
|Upper Material:||Satin||US Shoe Size (Women's):||US 5, US 6, US 7, US 8, US 9, US 10|
|EUR Shoe Size (Women's):||EUR 36, EUR 37, EUR 38, EUR 39, EUR 40, EUR 41||Heel Height:||High Heel (3-4.5 in.)|
|Main Colour:||Multi||UK Shoe Size (Women's):||UK 3, UK 4, UK 5, UK 6, UK 7, UK 8|
|Occasion:||Wedding||Coordinating Accessories:||Clutch Bag|
|Lining:||Synthetic||Feaures:||Diamante Covered Heel|
|Heel Type:||Block||Strap Style:||Cross Over Straps|
PS: You also put heavy emphasis on developing innovation and entrepreneurship. How do you make Silicon Valley happen all over the country?
Brown leather shoes with gold bar design on front. Office. 5.,Carriage Court Strappy Pumps SZ 7.5,New with box "SUNRISE" -METALLIC,Kenneth Cole Reaction BLACK BRONZE STRAPPY PUMPS HEELS OPEN TOES WOMEN SIZE 8.5,Ravel Black Leather Sparkly High Heels Shoes Size 5,Zapatos LEMERAUDEoción Piel Sintética trenzados Tacón De Cuña T 37 BEDeck-3 Women Strappy Mary Jane Espadrille Platform Low Block Heel Open Toe Sand,Man's/Woman's LADIES WEDGE SANDALS WOMENS HEELS NEW FANCY SUMMER DRESS PARTY BEACH SHOES SIZE Modern and elegant fashion High quality and economy Elegant and stable packaging HB623,Pierre Cardin Black Court Shoe Size 41,BCBGirls women's bronze gold snake emboss high heel size 8.5Mr/Ms Dollhouse Platform Wedges Size 6 Nwob Fine workmanship King of quantity Highly appreciated and widely trusted in and outPLEASER 5" STILETTO HIGH HEEL ANKLE STRAP SEXY 31 POINTY COURT SHOES PATENT 3-11NINE WEST brown satin crocheted beaded ankle strap sandal size 5(7W),Guess Seemly women's shoes closed toe buckle wedge brown well size 8 MMen/Women Womens Office Shoes,Brand New,Size5 fashion New products in 2018 Explosive good goods,Faith Size 5 Shoes 4 Inch Heel Bronze,Christin Michaels "Josie" Black Suede Wedge Heel Sz 10M EUC W/ Original Box,Guess Floral Open Toe Slingback High Slim Heels Pumps Stilettos Size 8M,Man's/Woman's Snakeskin Pattern Heels economic Clearance various kinds,6E11 Ivanka Trump Boni Dress/Casual Fashion Heels Pointy Toe Women Shoes Sz 6M,FERGALICIOUS by FERGIE SYMPHONY CLASSIC PUMPS HIGH HEEL SHOES HEELED SLIP ON NEW,Catwalk Collection - Pointy Toe Court Shoes - 2 Tone Black/Purple UK5 E FitGentleman/Lady Black carvela shoes 6 Guarantee quality and quantity Has a long reputation General productMr/Ms New Look Black Heel Sandals BNWT Various styles Affordable a lot of varieties,PLATINUM BP Larissa Women NWOB Ankle-Strap Stiletto Heels Size 8M GoldAntonio Melani "Helena" Black Leather Patent Size 9M,Sz 7M Two Lips Too Women's Turquoise Sexy Shoes Made in Italy gently used cutewomens off-white court shoes,forever jolie product, size 7,with snake skin front,Women's Vaneli Square Toe Pumps Brown Size 8 N (Narrow) !!! Great Deal !!!,Gentleman/Lady Womens Ladies Low Heel Party Sandals Strappy Wedding Bridesmaid Shoes Size New Online Shopping Wholesale trade Vintage tide shoes GH1269,M&S Size 6 Leopard Print Heel Shoes - wider-fit - leather upper Great Condition,
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.