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?
After Midnight Men's Black Sequins Loafer Shoes with Tassels 6759,Man/Woman Mens Maverick Brogue Shoes Label A2133 - D Economical and practical The latest technology Very practical VW1590,JESSICA SIMPSON BLACK PATENT HIGH HEEL PUMP 7 M Strappy Stiletto Open Toe,Ladies Womens Mid Block Heel Zip Up Military Combat Ankle Biker Boots Shoes Size,Men/Women Mens Base London Leather Slip On Smart Formal Shoes Hollow MTO economic Win the praise of customers Characteristics RH1695Mens Zota Brown Copper Patent Leather SlipOn Dress Party Pointed Metal Tip Shoe,Next Black & White Striped Leather Heels,Gentlemen/Ladies Bostonian Vintage Alligator Crocodile Norwegians 8.5d Aesthetic appearance Good market unique,Man/Woman Mens Maverick Formal Slip On Shoes Labsl A1044 Various goods Carefully selected materials a wide variety of goods VV211,Clarks Black Grainy Leather Square Toe Wedge Shoes - Size 4.5,Gentlemen/Ladies Taryn Rose Women's Shoes Size 8.5M Cheap Price reduction Highly appreciated and widely trusted in and outMan/Woman Everybody Ballerina offen Echtleder rot, Gr. 38 Exquisite (middle) workmanship delicate Very practical,Ladies RIVER ISLAND black leather strappy shoes size 5 (Euro 38),Men/Women Golden Shoes - size 7.5 durability New style Exquisite workmanship,Men's/Women's Mens Loake Formal Shoes Fitting G Label - 202 Reasonable price Settlement Price comfortable WW2617,LITTLE ERIC Women's BLACK Suede Shoes Size 36 Made in Italy Green,Allen Edmonds "LEIDEN" Oxfords 11 D Walnut (385),Man's/Woman's Mens Base London Formal Shoes Label Suit MTO Good world reputation Primary quality Breathable shoes AH1704,N) Boutique 9 Cheetah Print Heels Shoes Pony Hair Women’s 5.5 Leopard,Zapatos oxford Christian PELLET En Piel Negro T 41 MUY BUEN ESTADO,RIEKER TAN LEATHER MID HEEL SLIP ON LOAFERS SHOES SIZE,Gentlemen/Ladies Natazzi Mens Air Grant Penny Suede Leather Shoes Original Slip-On Driving Loafer Practical and economical low cost Different goods RH2535,Black White Saddle Shoes 1950s Halloween Costume Shoes Womans size 6 7 8 9 10 11Chatham Mens Ripon Leather Derby Shoes In Burgundy in Size UK7 to UK15,Vito Rossi Mens Benito Chukka Mid Top Plain Toe Derby Shoes Sneakers BHFO 8801,LADIES BLACK STUNNING EMILIO LUCA SHOES WITH HEEL Size 8 Worn OnceCami Shoes Black Pink Boucle Fabric Rounded Toe Heel 6.5B Medium,'Uomo Lambretta' Punta Quadrata Scarpe Stringate Formali - 209621Foot Smart Berry Women's Pumps Wedge Heel Sz 10 New LeatherNuture brown leather Sz 8M Mary Janes with top stitching 2.5" Heels soft insole,
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:||“Capezio Women's 8M Gold Jenny BONE Slip-On LOAFERS Leather FLATS Shoes”|
|US Shoe Size (Women's):||8||Occasion:||Formal|
|Heel Height:||High (3 in. and Up)||Width:||Medium (B, M)|
|Heel Type:||Confort||Fastening:||Slip On|
|Country/Region of Manufacture:||Unknown||Item:||GO55184R|
|Style:||Comfort||EUR Shoe Size (Women's):||EUR 38|
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?
Hot Kiss Women's Size 6M Shoes High Heel Buckle Heel Open Toe (H),WOMENS HIGH HEEL SHOES NEW LADIES STRAPPY EVENING PARTY DRESS FASHION SANDALS,Merona Black Leather Mule Slip On Shoes with Buckle Design Womens Size 7 1/2 B,Man's/Woman's JORI Sicherheitsschuh hoch Achim S3 Gr.45 Quality queen Optimal price Fine wild,Hombre Base London Formal shoes-noel ZAPATO OXFORD,Women's Size 5 Shoes Silver Loafers Flat,Men/Women Espandrillos, naturweiss,Größe 39 / 6 for you to choose Let our products go to the world Direct businessEast Spirit Black Pumps Size 7 Narrow 7N 7AA Block Heels Aristocrat,Ladies Brown Leather Vintage Looking Footglove Shoes Size 4.5 Brand NewPSL PS506 Mens Black Leather Formal Shoes,oferta Hombre Norwich HP Marrón Oscuro Cuero Zapatos Con Cordones de Hush,hommes Anatomic & Co élégant Mocassins 'Barbosa' ~ K,Kinloch Dual Fit Shoes - Cream/Beige and Floral,Gentleman/Lady Irregular choice size 5 38 service Quality and quantity guaranteed Exquisite processing,Man's/Woman's Spiked Black Size 6 Heels Ideal gift for all occasions Comfortable touch Preferential price,Super!! Call it Spring GORGEOUS Multicolor Open-Toe PLATFORM Pump STILETTO 6.5,Mens DB Shoes Slip On Extra Wide Fit Label 859-W,JIMMY CHOO dress shoes leather black WingtipMen's/Women's Van Heusen Black Leather Slip-On Men's Dress Shoes Size 9 M Ideal gift for all occasions Preferred material Maintenance capability GG847Spot On Ladies Flat Shoe F8760 In Black and Lt Gold UK3x8 (R5B),FRANCO SARTO Slingbacks Black Women's 9M 3" HeelNaturalizer Karis Light Beige Leather Peep Toe Dress Pumps Heels 6.5 NEW $89Shelleys London Brown/Gold Tie Strap High Heel - Size Unworn,Men's Amali Cognac Paisley Print Slip Ons Shoes US Sizes 8.5 - 12,MENS HUSH PUPPIES TRANSIT EXTRA WIDE MEN BLACK BROWN LEATHER WORK SLIP ON SHOESMan's/Woman's London Brogues Lincoln Derby Mens Leather Brogue Shoes ALL SIZES AND COLOURS Aesthetic appearance luxurious Outstanding style VH2333,Clarks Ladies Brogues Navy size 6 1/2,Etienne Aigner Sz 8M Light Pink Crochet with Bow Heels,River Island Black Heels 2 Straps Buckle Size 4 Shyla,Prada 3xz182 Platform Sandal Wedge Heel Size 40.5 Quilted Fabric (damage)
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.