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?
Montego Bay Club Sandals Womens Size 9 Black Blue Stone Embellished NMan/Woman Womens Flat Studded Cage Diamante Summer Sliders Sandals Shoes Ladies Size use Ranked first in its class Elegant and robust menu RR3066,Crocs Beach Line Flip Male Flips CrosLite Grass Green/Pearl White Green,CLARKS Womens Open Toe Mary Jane Casual Platform Sandals Size 8 M Bronze,Pedi Couture Med 7-8 Flip Flops Sandals Thongs Black Polka Dot Yoga Women Shoes,Fashion Toe Head Sandals Women's Slope Platform Shake Shoes,Zodiac black nylon slingback platform (3in&up) sandals size 10 M,Hombre Sandos Sandalias Tira en el Dedo 'P509'** JOLIE PAIRE DE SANDALES NOIR RIP CURL T 38 NEUVES **,MUNRO American Womens 9.5 M Slides Leather Black Casual Sandal,Men/Women ladies hotter sandals size 5.5 Guarantee quality and quantity First quality Seasonal hot sale,New Apostrophe Monica Brown Suede Strappy Heels Sandals Ankle Strap sz 9.5 M,Women's Teva 1008992 Green Strappy Sandals US Size 6Oka-B Brown Slide slide Sandals Size Women's LargeFADED GLORY Strapped Sandle GOLD. Well Cared For Womens Size 8,J Renee Women's Thong Animal Print Sandals Size 9,Men's/Women's Indigo Rd. Womens Elea Open Toe Casual Ankle Strap Sandals High security Quality First Popular recommendation BG507,MELLISA Red, White & Blue Flip Flops, W/Heart, Size 8, Very Good Condition.Forever 21 Gladiators Zip Front Ankle Flat Sandals Cinnamon Color Sz 6,BEAVER CREEK SLIP ON FOOTBED SANDALS WOMENS SIZE 6,DR SCHOLLS ADVANCED COMFORT SERIES BLACK SANDALS WOMENS SIZE 10,NEW 2018 LADIES SIZE 5/38 BLACK DIAMANTÉ ENCRUSTED BLOCK HEEL CLOG MULE SANDALS,American Eagle AE Yellow Ruffled Canvas Slingback Wedge Shoes Size 7,Italian Shoe Makers Size 8 Silver SandalsTONGS PUCCA POISSONS M 37 - 38 + SAC MER,Mr/Ms Northwest Territory SANDALS MEN'S SIZE 10 Guarantee quality and quantity Modern design Different goodsMens Jutti Mojari Indian ethnic Wedding Khussa Sherwani Shoes US size 10 AmMa,Gentlemen/Ladies Qupid Womens Athena Fabric Closed Toe Casual Ankle Strap Sandals quality Make full use of materials Outstanding style HG464Asos Slingback Woven Sandals Brown Neon Green Ladies US 6 Leather,Women Summer Sandals Ladies Shoes 9.5-10
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
|Size Range:||2-8||Main Material:||Synthetic|
PS: You also put heavy emphasis on developing innovation and entrepreneurship. How do you make Silicon Valley happen all over the country?
Man/Woman Gabor Black Sandals Size 4.5 Guarantee quality and quantity Brand Different goods,Birkenstock FLORIDA White Summer Beach Sandals / 38 USEDMan/Woman Ladies Anne Michelle Heeled Sandals Label F10471 durable Upper material Exquisite workmanship WV2065,Hombre PLANTILLA Tira Al Dedo Sandalias Sin Cordones Con Cork EFECTO Label -,ARA SCHUHE / MOKASSIN FÜR DAMEN GR ECHTLEDER IN SEHR GUTEN ZUSTAND.,Indian Ethnic Traditional Velvet Belly Color Black Golden Party Wear For Women,Man/Woman earth spirit size 7.5 sandals Complete specification In short supply Outstanding function,Not Rated Keep The Peace Sandals-Women's size 7.5 BlackLife Stride Slip On Womens Sandals Shoes Forum Black US 8.5 Wedge Heel Strappy,Ladies Black Sandals With Diamontè Ankle Strap Size 7,Soulcal & Co blue flip flop sandals size 39.5is,Dr. Brinkmann 600357 Zweiriemer Unisex Sandals Slides Nubuck Leather Ocean Blue,Donald Pliner Womens 8.5 Dressy Sandals Black Patent Leather Sling Back,Steve Madden Wedge Black Sandals Size 9.5Pesaro Womens Margaret Peep Toe Wedge Sandal Shoes, Cognac, US 7.5,Brown’s Landing Black Mules Adjustable Leather Flip Flop Sandals 11M EUC,Okabashi Womens M/L 8 9 Basket Weave Bronze Brown Slip OnsMen/Women Ladies Anne Michelle Sandals Style - L6750 Special price New in stock Great choice WB1903,Men's/Women's Unisex England Navy/Blue/Red Flip Flops F0776 Good world reputation Win the praise of customers unique,Women's Sandals Summer Flip Flops Zebra Pink Size 8 9,Lindsay Phillips DEVON Wedge Platform Slide Sandal Light Brown Size 11,Womens Ladies Elastic Strap Comfy Flat Bling Summer Toe-Post Sandals Shoes Sizes,Nine West Black Leather Slides Sandals Size 9 M - Wedge Heel Slip On “dedicateo”Aerosoles At First Plush Brown Strappy Slingback Woven Wedge Sandals 6M,Gentlemen/Ladies Maurices Wedge Sandal High grade Stylish and charming Popular tide shoes,Japanese men sandals flip flop Sumo,Birkenstock Boston EVA Male Clogs EVA Metallic Anthrazit Gray,Lalikaer Brown Leather Slingback Sandels Size 4,b.o.c. Brown Leather Wedge Sandals Size 9JUST BE Women's Hot Pink Black 2 Strap Lightweight Slide Sandals SZ 6,
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.