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?
Men's/Women's Sandale, braun, Größe 40,5 Guarantee quality and quantity Attractive fashion buy online,Man's/Woman's US 5-9 Jutti Indian Women Shoes Velvet Flat Flip Flops Ballerinas Mojari New Listing modern Official website NR3223,SONOMA Size 11 X-LARGE Faux Leather Flat COGNAC TAN SANDALS Flip Flops TOE STRAP,Man's/Woman's Spot On Ladies Striped Bow Vamp Summer Sliders New Listing Impeccable Different goods BH1716,WALKING CRADLES WOMENS GOLD LEATHER SLINGBACKS SIZE 8.5Blowfish Malibu Womens Sz 10 Criscross Straps Buckle Strappy Sandals Shoes,Indigo Rd. Perky Womens Strappy Sandals Size 6.5M, Light Natural (Repair),PREDICTIONS Brown Braided Leather SANDALS Wedge Heels Size 8.5 *free shipping*,Urban Classics Basic Slipper in rot von 36-46Brand New Hollister By Abercrombie Women's White Flip Flops Size XS 6/7,Men's/Women's Montego Bay Womens Sandals Innovative design the most economical General product,Dr. Brinkmann 603011 Sling Unisex Sandals Clogs Smooth Leather White White,Bridal Party Slippers Bride Bridesmaid Spa Hen Weekends Wedding Diamante giftVans Men's Flip Flops UK Size 8,Women's shoes ITALIAN SHOEMAKERS sandals SIZE 10Gentleman/Lady LifeStride Sandals sz6.5-Slingbacks Durable service Primary quality Fair price,Lime Green S Edelman Slides Sandals w/Decorative Sequins & Metallic Thread 6.5 M,New Reebok Womens Zprint Slide Black Slides Size 7,WOMEN SHOES IVORY/OFF WHITE STRAPS PLATFORM STILETTO HEEL SANDALS 10,Bjorndal Women 7 Blue Floral DOUGHTON Suede Open Toe Sandal Slip On Clog Shoes,Steve Madden Womens Pressto Woven T Strap Flat Sandal Shoes, Blue, US 5,Women's Summer Sexy Flat Buckle Flat Close Toe Sandal Shoes NEW Size 5.5 -10,Gentleman/Lady US SIZE 5-9 INDIAN HANDMADE WOMEN SHOES MOJARI JUTTI FLIP FLOPS SLIPPERS ETHNIC Comfortable feeling discount Non-slip VG3213Puma Shower Sandals First Flip Flip Flops Sandals 4-12 Multiple Colors,Womens Tommy Hilfiger sandals. Comfortable. Shoes Size 8 1/2 M,Man/Woman Yellow Box Women's Olita Sandal Clearance price At a lower price Clearance saleKaren Scott Peyton Slingback Sandals Shoes Womens 9.5 M,Gentlemen/Ladies Ladies Anne Michelle Slingback Foral Jewelled Sandal The Style Santorini ~ N High quality and cheap modern Seasonal hot sale RW1446B35 Jazzy Low-Heel Slide Mule Sandals 415, Black, 6 USRockport Black Leather Strappy Sandals Wedge Heel Buckle Slingback Size 5
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:||Pre-owned : |
An item that has been used or worn previously. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any imperfections.See all condition definitions- opens in a new window or tab
|Seller Notes:||“Good condition still good to wear - please see all pictures.”|
|US Shoe Size (Men's):||8.5|
PS: You also put heavy emphasis on developing innovation and entrepreneurship. How do you make Silicon Valley happen all over the country?
Steve Madden Womens Briele Pink Slide Sandals Shoes 7 Medium (B,M) BHFO 3902,Men's/Women's Ladies Womens Wide Fit Low Wedge Comfort Walking Beach Slip On Sandals Shoes Siz durability Excellent performance TRUE AV3128,New Superdry Mens Size Large Thongs Flip Flops HawaiianWomens Black Jelly Sandals With Elastic Gold Strap andSANDALS WHITE, BRAND NEW GORGEOUS! SIZE 10Size 5 black leather low platform strappy sandals from Dorothy Perkins.,Disney Parks Exclusive Womens Sz 9-10 Flip Flops Mickey Mouse Faces RainbowCharles by Charles David Women's Tricky Sandal Size 9.5M NudeMan/Woman Women's Low Wedge Heels Diamante Sandals Ladies Toe Post Summer Slingback Size 7 for you to choose At a lower price Authentic guarantee WG900,bambini leggero Sandali infradito slip on Crocs ATHENS,Skechers Mens Relaxed Fit-Velmen-Erever Flip-Flop- Select SZ/Color.,Dansko Sophie Blue Shagreen Shimmer Leather Sandals Women's US 6 VGUC,Black Strappy Sandals Size 5.5 , Black Studded Sandals, Sexy Gladiator Sandals,Hot in Hollywood Navy & Turquoise Colorblock Strappy Sandals NEW,QUPID ~)) NEW ((Archer-166 Camel Suede Look Gladiator Tassel Style Flat SandalsCircus By Sam Edelman Sandals Sling BAck Size 6.5 Open ToeGentlemen/Ladies Womens Ladies High Heels Block Platforms Party Sandals Faux Fur Shoes New Size Beautiful color new business HR2695,Gentlemen/Ladies Mens Sandal Size 6 G Con Consumer first Affordable Strong heat and heat resistance,Women's Jelly Summer Beach Slip On Pointed toe Bowknot Flats Loafers Slippers,Man's/Woman's PINK/ORANGE FLORAL TIE UP ESPADRILLES BEACH/SUMMER/HOLIDAY/TOWIE/CLUB Moderate price auction Very good color,Womens Impo Shoes Size 7 1/2 7.5 Grey Pewter Dress Sandal Jolene New NWT,Dusty rose wedge sandals suede bows ankle strapWomen's NATURALIZER 6 Red Leather Flat Heel Sandal Slides Size 6M Ladies Youth 4Man/Woman Alfani Womens holliss Split Toe Casual Slide Sandals Outstanding features Modern and stylish fashion Recommended today BH485,Men's/Women's Wave Zone Adjustable Sandals. Men's 12 Ideal gift for all occasions real Human borderMENS REEF LEATHER SMOOTHY BRONZE BROWN FLIP FLOPS SANDALS UK SIZELifeStride Women's Behave Gladiator Sandal, Multicolor Metallic SZ 7.5 WNina Sandals Metallic Gold with Peach Rhinestone Size 6MG35 Renee Ankle Strap Platform Wedge Sandals 024, Black, 8 US,Ladies Canvas Off White Sandals Size Medium (),
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.