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?
SPERRY Top-Sider Sneakers Size 6M Boat Shoes Slip On Loafers Casual K9-CH171Girls Ladies Suede Skull Creeper Shoes SizeMr/Ms Mens Mark Designer Black Patent Pointed Slip On Wedding Party Shoes New Adequate supply and timely delivery Let our goods go to the world Known for its beautiful quality VA255,Star Artoili Men's Size 9 Kilte Buckle Loafers Leather Upper Handmade,Hombre CLARKS Cuero Zapatos Con Cordones Estilo Formal bampton gorra,AG999 WAYOUT chaussures noir cuir homme mocassinsMan's/Woman's Mens Maverick Brogue Shoes Label A2133 - D Special purchase Used in durability Perfect processing NH1620,Men's/Women's Mens Formal Shoes Clarks Frontside Spin Elegant appearance cheapest classic styleRiver Island Tassel Black Wedges Size3,Blossom Collection Osaka-1 Heels (Black with Decoration) Women's' Shoes Size 8,BABYPHAT SEXY SNAKE SKIN HEELS BOOTS WOMANS SIZE 10 excellent condition in boxMens Mcates Formal Tan Brogues by Catesby - .99,BRAND NEW LADIES STYLISH BLACK LEATHER SANDAL HEELS SHOES SIZE 4 - NEW LOOK,Salvatore Ferragamo Brown Sandals Slides Heels Shoes Women 6.5 (20)STUNNING Black faux suede & shiny sequin dot open toe platform pumps size 9M,ladies soft Slip On Shoes Size 6,Man's/Woman's Primark Atmosphere Black Sandals Size 7 Complete specification range delicate Lightweight shoes,Man/Woman BLACK SPARKLE POINTED TOE STILETTO SHOES Not so expensive High-quality materials Tide shoes list,MEN'S HANDMADE TAN COLOR OXFORD HIGH QUALITY LEATHER DRESS SHOES WITH BLACK SOLE,Allen Edmonds Riverside Cap Toe Black Leather Size 8D USAGentleman/Lady Joseph seibel shoes size Queensland Latest styles Different styles,Mens Steptronic Ireland Brown Grain Comfort Leather Formal Shoes G Fit Size,Uomo Clarks Scarpe stringate formali modello - Kalden VIBO,AMERICAN EAGLE Women's CLOGS Brown SHOES Slip on size 7 Harvey Leather upper,K BY CLARKS SHOES SIZE 6.5 39.5 VERY GOOD CONDITION,NEW M&S Limited Collection UK Size 5.5 REAL Leather Snake Skin Shoes RRPPre-Owned Women’s Manhattan Collection Black Heels Size: 9 - Excellent Condition,Florsheim Men's Light Brown Oxford Dress Shoes Size 10.5,Allen Edmonds "SEA ISLAND" Loafers 12 D Tan Suede (668),Mens Maverick Casual Shoes Style - A2079,
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:||UK 7.5|
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?
Ladies White, strappy High Heels/animal print Shoes, 7 ( 40 ) by Dune,MARIO ROSSI 4 J CREW GENUINE LEATHER MENS CASUAL DRESS LOAFERS SHOES SIZE 8.5,Hombre Grenson Mocasin Zapatos Formales - Nevada,Haflinger Womens Brown Leather Slip On Sandals Shoes size 8 M,Mujer Spot On Punta Cerrada Hebilla Sandalias Gel F80045,Alfani New Binddi Gray Womens Shoes Size 7 M Heels MSRP $89.99womens shoes sandals zara basic collection size white,White Platform 60s 70s Disco Dancer Saturday Night Fever Costume Shoes 10 11 12,BX218 J. BREITLIN schuhe grau leder herren elegante,Hombre Anatomic & Co Zapatos de Diario con Desprendible Plantilla Label Gurupi ~,Preowned but excellent condition - Predictions Ladies size 7.5 Ivory Flats Shoes,Manolo Blahnik Black Suede Sling Back Heel Shoes - Size 37.5,Men's/Women's Bally - gray, size 6 1/2 Modern and elegant fashion Let our goods go to the world Exquisite workmanshipNext women’s suede chunky heel with ankle strap. Size 6 worn once.Gentleman/Lady Men's Lambretta Formal Shoe Label-Joey High-quality auction have fun,Modello Blackrush - Handmade Italian Black Oxfords Dress Shoes - Cowhide Patent,Gentlemen/Ladies Mens Lambretta Smart Slip On Shoes Crowley sell Wholesale trade Cost-effective GV1150,Sperry Top-Sider Angelfish Womens Pewter Glitter Boat Shoes WMNS Sz 8M,Gentleman/Lady Navy blue pumps Excellent craft real As of the latest model,Brighton Rubens Ruched Brown Leather Slip On Heels Mules Ladies 9M Embellished,New So Fabulous Black and Silver Stiletto Cross Over Peep Toe Size 8 Shoes,Scarpe Uomo Pelle Nera Con Fibbia Made In Italy Calzoleria Toscana Misura 41,5,nae - Vegan Shoes on derby plain toe style. Zapatos veganos de vestir derbyGentlemen/Ladies Gold Carvela Shoes 5 flagship store Stylish and charming Explosive good goods,Easy Spirit SHOES WOMENS SIZE 8 MAbeo Comfort Bio System Women Black Leather 2.5 Inch High Heel Pumps Shoes Sz 7N,Clarks Cushion Soft Brown Shoes Size 7 Wedge Moveable StrapBX516 CESARE MAURIZI schuhe grau leder herren elegante,Kenneth Cole Reaction Hombres design 20067 Oxfords Blau Groesse 9.5 US /43.5 EU,Hombre Clarks Negro leather con cordones redondo formal punta zapato BAKRA,
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.