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?
OKA B Black Slingback Jelly Flat w/ Beaded Detail SZ 9Gentlemen/Ladies Mens Lambretta Slip On Shoes Shellan Fashion pattern Has a long reputation Full range of specifications,Geoffrey Beene Williamsburg Black Leather Sneaker Smart Casual Size 7 AU,Van Dal LENA Chocolate and copper suede court shoes, D,Loake COSIDOS Premium Zapato De Hombre 3 OJO DOWNING Marrón Ante,Men's/Women's River Island Pumps excellent quality modern classic style,Man's/Woman's CLARKS SPRINGERS/DARK BLUE/LEATHER/HEEL/SANDALS/SIZE 6 Special purchase Reliable performance Direct business,Johnston & Murphy Mens Wingtip Dress Shoes Sz 9 D Black Excellent 58182,GIO GINO Formal New Arrival Branded Mens Stylish Look PU 90735 Shoes Tan,Mr/Ms SINDECA BURGUNDY PATENT LEATHER SHOES 8.5M/260 feature Let our products go to the world TRUEcatherine malandrino shoes high heels womens size 6Mudd Womens Brown Slid On Pumps With Buckle Fastening And Extra Padding Sz 6 1/2Summer SALE! Tamaris Womens Court Shoes/Heels Size,Gentleman/Lady STRAßENSCHUHE HERREN BRAUN FUTTER LEDER Beautiful design a wide range of products Acknowledgement feedbackMan's/Woman's womens size 10 heels High grade luxurious At an affordable price,Gentlemen/Ladies Red Ballet Flats - 6.5 Quality products Quality First Characteristics,Lifestride Seamless Heels - Women's Size 8.5 M, Navy (REPAIR)Men/Women shoes women high heels Wear resistant Used in durability Speed refund,Men's/Women's Mens Loake Formal Shoes Fitting F Oban flagship store New in stock Pick up at the boutique VV2614*ALFANI* SIZE 9.5M WOMEN'S NAVY OPEN TOE SPARKLY HIGH HEEL DRESS SHOESJULIUS MARLOW SIGNATURE SERIES SZ 42/ UK8,SIZE 7.5 M FIONI BLACK 4" STRAPPY HEELS,Antonio Melani Heels Hallie 9.5 M High Heel Strappy Sandals Black Leather Shoes,BLACK CARRANO leather shoes size 6 (EU39)DIVA LOUNGE Womens Sz 7.5 METALLIC FUCHSIA PINK PLATFORM DRESS HEELS SHOES NIB,Man/Woman Mens Thomas Blunt True Moccasins Detroit 9672 High-quality Known for its good quality fine BB2195,Life Stride 2" Black Heels, Womens, Shoes,Men's Clarks Formal Shoes The Style - Hold Roll,Gentlemen/Ladies PAVERS real leather shoe size Easy to clean surface Let our goods go to the world Popular tide shoes,Men's/Women's Gordon Rush loafers Beautiful design High quality and economy Simple
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:||“These shoes are in used condition. Few light marks and scratches. Bottom soles have been used, inside soles show signs of wear. Light wrinkling of leather. Overall clean inside and out. Please look at all photos. No box, shoe tree's not included. Thank you for your time and consideration. J5”|
|Style:||Loafers & Slip Ons||Color:|
|Width:||Medium (D, M)||Brand:|
Johnston & Murphy
|US Shoe Size (Men's):||8|
PS: You also put heavy emphasis on developing innovation and entrepreneurship. How do you make Silicon Valley happen all over the country?
Man/Woman Men's Clarks Formal Shoes Gadwell Over Online Shopping Preferred material Modern and elegantAuth JIMMY CHOO Grove Silver Black Glitter Patent Leather Men's Shoes US 6.5,Man's/Woman's Mens Hush Puppies Formal Oxford Shoes Rockford Oxford Easy to use Trendy Shopping promotion WB967,Gentlemen/Ladies Spot On Ladies Flat Ballerina Shoe feature Lush design VariousWomens Enzo Angiolini Brown Open Toe Pump in Size 7,UK NEW SEXY frangia tacco spesso nappa camoscio sintetico rotondo caviglia,Mr/Ms Ladies Shoe Size 6,Purple, Party/Prom/Casual (ABK10/7/17-7) Complete specification range Trendy Selling new productsCole Haan Pinch Buckle kiltie loafers slip ons shoes size 11 D,Men's/Women's STRINGATA DERBY BLU SCURO MORESCHI Elegant and sturdy set meal High-quality materials Recommended todayMan/Woman Mens Unstructured by Clarks Leather Slip On Smart Shoes Label - Un Gala Free Clearance price comfortability Elegant and stable packaging RR3115Womens Size 6M Cream/Natural Light CLASSIC Keds Champion Crochet Shoes Flat,New Black Ella Moss Black Leather Pumps, size 10 M,Women's black shoes by Loreinxy ladies high heel Diamanté stilettos size 7,Uomo Base London GRANELLO stringate in pelle marrone Scarpe formali SCOZZESE,JOHNSTON & MURPHY LEATHER LOAFERS MEN'S SIZE 11.5 M MADE IN BRAZIL,Hombre Clarks Leather Zapatos Oxford G-Fitting Gilmore LimiteMan/Woman Atmosphere Backless Loafer Size 4uk Reliable quality discount price Beautiful and charmingbebe Behave Ankle Straps Heels Sz 7 M,Soft Flexible Ladies Shoes Heels by Highlights Brown Faux Croc Size 7 1/2Ellen Tracy ET Banner Women's 6M Brown Suede Point Toe Pumps Stretch Vamp EUC,Mens Clarks Slip On Black Leather Shoes - Handle ToughBASS ROMANIA BROWN LEATHER SQUARE TOE OXFORD DRESS SHOES MEN'S 10M MEDIUM 140693,Gentleman/Lady Men's Maverick Formal Slip On Shoes Label - A1055 High security Low price Exquisite processing WV553,WOMENS LADIES WEDGE JELLY SANDALS LOW HEEL FLIP FLOPS DIAMANTE TOE POST SIZE,Alfani Tomina Blue Womens Shoes Size 8 M Heels MSRP $59.99,NINE WEST NEW WOMEN'S LEATHER SHOES KITTEN HEELS SIZE 8.5M BUY ONE GET ONE HALFTURQUOISE LADIES WEDDING PARTY SLIPPER/MULES/BACKLESS SMALL HEEL SIZE 9,Johnston & Murphy Tilden Black Mens Shoes 10.5 M Loafers & Slip-Ons MSRP $155,Uomo LOAKE ALLA MODA SCARPE in pelle con lacci Gunny,Man's/Woman's Mens Bugatti Formal Shoes The Style 311-18801-1000-1000 -w Aesthetic appearance Trendy Quality and consumer first WR2726,
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.