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?
SUPERB MENS DESIGNER ADIDAS TREFOIL SLIDE SANDALS RRP .99,SOLDES femmes réglable Bracelet Boucle Mules Sandales Assise plantaire en -,O'Neill Women's Bondi Flip Flop, Smoke Blue, 10 UK/10 M US,Nike Benassi JDI LTD Limited Slide Sandal Removable Swoosh Size 8 AQ8614 100New Women's Fashion Open Toe Strappy Buckle Low Wedge Sandal Shoes Size 5 - 10,Navy Blue Animal Style Flip Flops Flat Sandals Women Casual Beach Shoes Sandals,Circus by Sam Edelman Katie White Womens Shoes Size 9.5 M Sandals MSRP $59,Cato Gold Slip On Wedge 2" Heel Sandal Womens Sze 11 Footwear Solid Pattern,Gentlemen/Ladies Leather Beaded Masai Flip-Flop Sandals Crazy price Beautiful Elegant and robust menu,Women's ethnic jaipuri rajasthani Multi Color Kolhapuri chappal flat,Size 11 Natural Rubber Sandals Flip Flops Shoes Slipper Comfortable White BlueLAUREN Ralph Lauren 9.5 B Black Leather Wedge Sandals Heels Gold DetailsPaninari Made in Italy Turquoise Blue and Ivory Slide Sandals Sz 7,NWT- LADIES- DR.SCHOLL'S WHITE LEATHER SUMMER SANDELS- SZ- 7 1/2 W,india rose ladies girls retro new wedge summer festival slip on shoes 6 uk,Womens blue suede sandals, 3",wedge, size 5 by clarks, not worn,Clarks Artisan Inca Amy Sz 6M Mules Clogs Brown Tan Nubuck Low Heel,Eddie Bauer Leather Cork Sandal Double Ankle Strap Size 10 Boho ChicWomen Genuine Leather Flip Flops Sandals With Indian Beads Size 9 US = 40 eur,Women Flip Flops Summer Fruit Design Print Sandals Ladies Beach Flat Slippers,Size 6 black patent strappy, stiletto heel sandals from Anne Michelle.Air Walk Women`s Brown And Blue Flip Flop Sandals Sandals Size US 6 MM 240,Sandales femmes Style Spartiates simili cuir A Prix Sympa Pierre-cedric !NeuvesMen's/Women's skechers gogo max size 10 Beautiful color Skilled manufacturing renewed on time,'Hombre REFLEX' Plano SLIDER Zapatos Sin Talón - a0r054Men/Women Bar III Womens Vadya Open Toe Casual Strappy Sandals Ideal gift for all occasions high quality Superb craftsmanship WB2942,J Crew glittery pool slides new euro 38,Women's Reef Krystal Star Wedding White NEW Size 10 11Skechers Womens Outdoor Lifestyle Black Active Sandal Size 6 Multicolor StrapsMr/Ms Bartolini Sandals Size 10M Excellent Condition Good design High quality and economy cheaper
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?
|Condition:||New without box : |
A brand-new, unused, and unworn item (including handmade items) that is not in original packaging or may be missing original packaging materials (such as the original box or bag). The original tags may not be attached. For example, new shoes (with absolutely no signs of wear) that are no longer in their original box fall into this category. See all condition definitions- opens in a new window or tab
|Seller Notes:||“NEW WITH TAGS”|
|Country/Region of Manufacture:||China|
|Style:||SANDALS||Country of Manufacture:||China|
|US Shoe Size (Women's):||6||Heel Type:||Block|
|Width:||Medium (B, M)||Occasion:||Special Occasion|
|Heel Height:||Flat (0 to 1/2 in.)||Fastening:||Buckle|
PS: You also put heavy emphasis on developing innovation and entrepreneurship. How do you make Silicon Valley happen all over the country?
Black Bamboo Fashion Rhinestone Flip Flops Casual Womens Sandals Dress Shoes,NIB Nine West Travani flip flops blue 6M womens,Gentlemen/Ladies LADIES WHITE DIAMANTE FLIP FLOP SANDALS MULES SLIDER FLAT SHOES HOLIDAY PUMP 3-8 High grade Sufficient supply German Outlets WN788,Hallmark Class of 2012 Men's Extra Large Flip Flops on a pop out card NEW,Pool Shoes Slippers Slippers, F Ck off, Black White Size 40 41 42 43 44 45,Womens Size 37 US 7 BIRKENSTOCK TULA Aqua Mules Style Fashion SandalsAéropostale Bright Yellow and White Stripes Flip Flops Size 9,DOLCE VITA Black & Gold Strappy Flat Sandals Thongs Super Cute! Brand NEW! 8 MLadies Barratts summer wedge sandals size 6 (NEW),NEW CROCS ISABELLA GRAPHIC ICONIC FLIP FLOPS THONG SANDALS SIZE 11 204196Gentleman/Lady Ladies Jade EZE Toe Post Summer Mules The Style - 36322 Attractive and durable The highest quality material Valuable boutique RW2665,Polaris Men Foot Wear- Real Leather- Orthopaedic- Size 44,MADIGAN CIABATTE INFRADITO SANDALI MARE PISCINA CASA DONNA TAGLIA 39 ARGENTO,Easy Spirit Womens Silver Slingbacks Size 6.5 (303558),Comfortview Women's Blue Tan Slip on Sandals Slides Comfort Shoes Flip Flops 8.5,White nn Bamboo New Fashion Rhinestone Flip Flops Casual Womens Shoes Size 6.5,DREAM PAIRS Women's Elatica Elastic Ankle Strap Flat Sandals,Men's/Women's REEF - INFRADITO JUNIOR - KIDS TODOS - BLU - BLUE - 5021 Strong heat and wear resistance Elegant and sturdy packaging buy online AG506,HAVAIANAS Men Diamond Design US 12 Flip Flops /46Nike Men's Air Jordan HYDRO III RETRO SLIDES Black/University Red 854556-003 cVICTOR ALFARO ~ "Genny" Black/Taupe Grey Wedge Sandals Sz 9B/M * GOOD-VERY GOOD,New without Box Croft & Barrow Sandals Womens 8.5MLN~ Tuscany Easy Street Italian Womens Shoes Sandals 8M Tan Slip On Wedge Italy,SONOMA Womens Sandals Leather Adjustable Fit Straps Flat Tan size 9.5 NEW,LADIES MEDIUM It's a Flip Flop Kind of Day Flip Flops SANDALS BEACH PRESENT GIFTMan's/Woman's Jelly Ballet Flat Shoes Summer Women's Slip On Jelly Sandals economic Carefully selected materials fine AR2406Men's/Women's Havaianas Uomo Infradito Reliable quality Low price Elegant and solemn,New Woman's Steve Madden Flip Flops Size Small And Large Lot,G.H. Bass & Co. Womens Jolie Sea Rock Strappy Sandals Size 7.5 (235370)Men/Women Frauen Flache Sandalen Charming design Stylish and charming Direct business
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.