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?
Fossil Maxine Size 8.5 Red Leather Wedge Slides Sandals Buckles,Gentleman/Lady Women's sandal by Lucky Brand economic Year-end sale a wide variety of goods,New Womens Bongo Diana Platform Dress Sandal Style 71894 Black 181i pr,Womens Ladies Flat Wedge Espadrille Aztec Strappy Sandals Platform Summer Shoes,Mr/Ms Barbour flip flops We have won praise from our customers. the most economical Popular tide shoes,Man/Woman IKRUSH Womens Brina Diamante Flip Flop Sandals High security Excellent performance renewed on time WG1552,JEFFREY CAMPBELL Handmade Ibiza Bijou brown open toe flat sandals slip on-SZ 7.5,J Sport BY Jambu NEW Taupe Leather Carina Slides Sandals Woman's Sz 7M,M178 FORNARINA SANDALES COMPENSEES BOIS T.37 TRES BON ETAT VALEUR,Giani Bernini Womens Raisaa Open Toe Casual T-Strap Sandals,Gentlemen/Ladies Fonseca Womens Designer De Ticuana Flip Flops Italian Final Year-end special promotions Good market Official website NB870,Men Eva Toe Post Surf Flip Flop Flat Summer Beach Sandals Shoe Size14th & Union Women's Size 5 Brown Peep Toe Wedge Heel Sandals Shoes NS-278,Hotflops Flip Flops Beach Sandals Slip On Thong Orange Black Football size 6-7,Dexter Womens White Strappy Wedge Heel Sandal Size 8 ribbon accentCIABATTE UOMO PANTOFOLE BIANCHE BLU MARE PISCINA FASCIA GOMMA STAMPA KING ESPREZ,Man's/Woman's SAS black leather sandals, 9 Ideal gift for all occasions Good market comfortable,Futurelle zapatos zapatillas sandalias de tiras mujer plataforma cuña plata,Gentleman/Lady Camprella Men's Toe Sandal Brown Clever and practical Pleasant appearance Highly appreciated and widely trusted in and out,Blossom Women's Pink Ankle Buckle Thong Sandals Flowers Sz 9Jeweled Slip-on Sandals Purple Suede Size 11WW NEW by Andiamo,NEW DEENA & OZZY FISHERMAN SANDALS URBAN OUTFITTERS EXCLUSIVE WOMENS 10 STRAPPYMan's/Woman's WOMENS LADIES DIAMANTE SLIP ON SLIDERS SLIPPERS SPARKLY SUMMER SANDALS SHOES SZ Reputation first Sufficient supply Acknowledgement feedback GB2488,SKECHERS Women Sandal Outdoor Lifestyle Brown Sport Thong Flip Flop Slide SZ 8,Man/Woman River Island Gladiators BNIB wholesale Stylish and fun Highly appreciated and widely trusted in and out,Rider Rio Womens Flip Flops / Sandals - Orange - JLR023,Flak Men's Newport Non-Slip Ultra Squishy Beach Sandals Size 9,Man/Woman BROWN SANDALS WOMEN'S SIZE 6 Various goods Latest styles Comfortable and natural,Nina New Voleta Ivory Womens Shoes Size 7.5 M Heels MSRP $99,Mr/Ms Mens Clarks Sandals Un Charter Fine processing Optimal price Elegant and solemn
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:||“Insole brand has been marked with a fine black line”|
|US Shoe Size (Women's):||11||Heel Height:||Flat (0 to 1/2 in.)|
|Width:||Medium (B, M)||Occasion:||Casual|
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?
AREZZO Designer Sandals Wedge Leather Multicolor EUC SZ 7 $249 FBB,NEW Ladies Women's Leather Designer Shoes Size 7 (40) by Cara London,B BOLARO BY SUMMER RIO SANDALS WOMEN'S SIZE 6 1/2,Gentlemen/Ladies Ladies Savannah Metallic Platform Sandals F0830 ~ K Excellent craft product quality Rich on-time delivery WB1985Gentleman/Lady Mens Adda Casual Mule Sandals KL029 Queensland a wide range of products Selling new products,Use Crocs Womens Sandals Brown Wedges Slip On Open Toe Shoes Summer Size 8,Shi By Journeys Sandy Womens Slingback Flat Sandals Size 11 MultiColor Z14,2018 Women Fashion Flip Flops Summer Sandals Ladies Beach Flat Shoes Slippers,KS35 Clemm Low-Heel Dress Sandals 453, Black, 8 US,Naya Leather / Bamboo Heel Sandals - Navy & Tan Size 6.5,Kaleidoscope Low Wedge Leaf Sandals Gold LN28 96,MENS CLOGS SPORT SANDAL GARDEN HOSPITAL NURSING PLASTIC CASUAL MULES SLIPPER NEWFERIA espadrilles sandale femme enfant made in france pays basque 46 NEUF,Nina Womens Shoes Sandles Sheen Sz. 6.5 M Slip On Party Wedding #B3NEW LOOK Womens OPEN TOE LEATHER SHOES / HEELS size U.K 7 / Eur 40,Women's Black Leather MIA Sandals, Size 8 1/2 M,Damiani's Slide Sandal Women's 9/ 40 Double Buckle Embossed Snake Brown ITALY,Clarks Espadrilles Sling Back Gold Size 7 Eu 40,Men's/Women's LADIES DOLCIS BERRY FLAT CANVAS CASUAL COMFY HOLIDAY ESPADRILLE PUMPS SHOES quality Affordable Direct business GR848,BNWT Mens Size 8.5 Brown Camo Print Thongs Flip Flop Sandals Beach Casual Shoes,New Naot Harbor Mens Comfortable Adjustable Durable Outdoor Sandals,New Jambu Womens Jb17myr73 Navy Ankle Strap Sandals Size 9.5,Bolaro By Summer Rio Beatriz Beaded Thong Rhinestone Rope Soles Sandals Size 10,Faded Glory Gray Leather Slip-on/Mules/Slides 1 3/4" Heels Size 10 Medium,Ladies Size 7 Sandals By Clarks Dark Grey Metallic Mid Heel,3601070 LTSPSA30 Women's Shoes Size 7 M Tan Leather Wedge Sandals H.S. Trask,Man's/Woman's Spot On Ladies Low Wedge Platform Sandals excellent quality In short supply retail price HR2232,Flip Flops for Women Men,Unisex Sandals. 8 US Men / 10 US Women, Black,Woman’s EUC Flat Sandals Like Green/ Yellowish Color Size 10 Breckelle’s,Nine West Womens Nwultana Light Silver Size 10 (204834),
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.