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 Adrienne Vittadini Women's Size 6M shoe Diverse new design Settlement Price Human border,Mr/Ms ladies leather shoes 8/42 Elegant shape Skilled manufacturing Contrary to the same paragraph,Gentlemen/Ladies Mens Clarks Hook & Loop Formal Moccasins - Un Abode Strap Crazy price High quality and economy Brand feast WN2830Cushion Walk shoes, Size 4E (wide fit). Very good condition.Kitson Los Angeles Ladies Slip On Shoes 6.5 NEW,SAS Tripad Comfort Roamer Women's Shoes blue Leather Mary Jane Loafers 8 M,Kenneth Cole Jone Ate Leather Wedge Shoe Size 8.5,Nina ankle strap block heel multi color jewels open toe designer inspi sandal 9W,Gentleman/Lady MANCINI-M1134AL=L feature Beautiful appearance Speed refund,Man's/Woman's Espandrillos, naturweiss,Größe 36 / 3 Outstanding features Let our goods go to the world General product,LADIES VINTAGE RAVEL QUIRKY BLACK LEATHER MARY JANE SHOES SIZE /36,PIETRO BIANCO BLACK LEATHER UPPER MADE IN UNKNOWN SIZE 10,PROFILE Shoes Blue Faux Suede Court Shoes Snake Print Trim Mid Heels UK Size 8,PRE-OWNED Ladies Beauty Girls Black Pattern Flat Shoes Size 39,Born Crown Women's Size US 8 Black Ruffle Accent Platform Ankle Strap Shoe,Gentlemen/Ladies Mens Thomas Blunt Moccasin Shoes Illinois-W High quality and low overhead Low price TRUEMan's/Woman's GNW Shoes Womans Theresa Size 9 use Used in durability classic style,Charlotte Russe, Women's High Heel Pumps Shoes, Size 8.Slip On,Blue,Men's/Women's Tommy Hilfiger Classic Suede Mens Midnight Navy Suede Boat Shoes Adequate supply and timely delivery Bright colors cheap price GG1859,Playboy womens Fur Top High Heel Closed Toe Shoes size 8,Man/Woman Loake 'Matthews' Mens Formal Slip On Leather Shoes Many styles Carefully selected materials Non-slip GB1811,New Boxed Ladies Beige Suede Diamante Peep Toe Sandals Women's LAST PAIR,Mens Via Dante 12 M Black Leather Tassel Kiltie Loafers A038Qupid Grey Perforated Peep Toe Buckle Closure Cone Heels Size 6,New women's ladies block high heel mules party sandals slip on sandals 3000-4,SHOE TREE COMFORT SHOES SIZE 4 BEIGESOFT SPOTS size 7 M Womens All Day Comfort Shoes Made is USA Slip onPRIMARK BLACK SHOES HEELS PLATFORMS SIZE 5 WORK PARTY,Newport News Shoes, Women's Style 25077, Black, Leather,Rampage Gracee Black Peep Toe Heels Women Size 9.5,
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?
New with box: A brand-new, unused, and unworn item (including handmade items) in the original packaging (such as ... Read moreabout the condition
|Shoe Size:||Various size|
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?
Men's Clarks Formal Slip On Shoes Label - Driggs Free,Gordan Rush Windsor Mens Black Leather Oxford Shoe - Size 13M,Man/Woman Uomo Clarks SCARME eleganti, Slip-on Kalden PASSO High grade cheapest Lightweight shoes WA1087,Redvolution flip flops Size 7 with sky blue straps Orig. MSRP $20LifeStride Seamless Heels, Women's Size 10 M, Black (REPAIR),Man/Woman Paprika High Heels Consumer first high quality British temperament,Asos Nude/Light Taupe Suede Court Shoes Small Concealed Platform UK5 SB30,Hush Puppies Geograhy Hombres con Cordones Derby Cordones Zapatos Casuales Cuero,Allen Edmonds "DFW" Loafers 9.5 EEE Black (534),Gentlemen/Ladies Ladies Size 5 Pumps Reasonable price Strong value Various latest designs,Gentleman/Lady Abloom Flat Ballet Pumps Size 7 Good world reputation First quality a lot of varietiesNaturalizer Dionne Black Dress Fashion Special Occasion Heels Women Size 8.5LifeStride Vertical Pumps - Women's Size 8M, BlackAG216 ARTISTI E ARTIGIANI chaussures noir cuir homme élégantesBrand new mens clarks shoes POLYSPORT EDGE IN BLACK LEATHER SIZE 12 UK FIT GMan/Woman Mens Loake Leather Formal Shoes 1369B durability cheapest British temperament,Marks And Spencer Ballet Pumps Size 5 Coral, Pale Lemon And Pale Blue X 3 Pairs,Aldo Toviel Women Blue Shoes - Size 10,WOMEN'S MADELINE STUART PAISLEY DRESS LOAFERS 7 1/2 M (B,M),Man's/Woman's new look shoe size 5 durable Elegant style Comfortable and natural' UOMO PSL 'Scarpe formali stringate - red02b,Harpelunde Men Buckle Strap Wedding Shoes Red Velvet Loafer Slippers Size 6-14,Gentlemen/Ladies Mens Faux Leather Wide Fit Walking Light Weight Driving Smart Formal Shoes Size Practical and economical Quality First Extreme speed logistics GR661,Spot On f9586 Mujer Negro Leopardo Piel Sintética Microfibra Zapato bajo (32a),Nine West 'Charmo' Brown Leather Open Toe Sling Back Heels Size 6,Chelsea & Zoe Panera Brown Womens Shoes Size 6.5 M Heels MSRP $120,Miss Selfridge Snake Print High Heels Size 5,MENS GENTS SIZE 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 PLAIN BLACK LEATHER CLASSIC BROGUE SHOESGentleman/Lady Loake Mens Formal Shoes 200B Charming design Fine art Different styles,Man/Woman Mens Clarks Extra Wide Slip On Shoes Scopic Step Big clearance sale First grade in its class Various RN2829,
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.