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?
Nautralizer Womens 6 M Nude Pumps Heels Shoes Dress Work Career J,Gentleman/Lady Dr Keller Neptune Mens Wide Fit Cushion Comfort Slip On Loafers Shoes Reputation first Impeccable Fashion dynamic WH883,Women's size 8.5S Proxy Diva LLUV women's flats // rustic southwest look shoesMen/Women Mens Anatomic Sergipe 2 Smart Slip On Shoes Adequate supply and timely delivery stable quality Breathable shoes VW1930Mr/Ms Mens Clarks Formal Slip On Shoes "Handle Work" Economical and practical Price reduction Immediate delivery GH985,Gentlemen/Ladies Mens Padders Shoes Baron-W Fine processing New design a wide variety of goods,MARC NEW YORK Mens POWELL Black Wingtip Oxfords US 10D; (NYPOWELL-001)Men's/Women's Ella Sandels,UK5 Beautiful color Online export store have funGentlemen/Ladies White Plimsolls \ Pumps Size 7 Elegant appearance Order welcome Excellent workmanship,Nina Women’s Black Logan Strappy Sandals Heels Shoes Size 7,new look slip on trainers Size 6NATURE'S OWN Sandals Black/Gold Strappy with Wedge Heels BNWOB UK Size 4,Gentlemen/Ladies Hombre Loake PULIDO Zapatos de vestir de cuero 771b bargain Highly praised and appreciated by the consumer audience Official website VR2225Man/Woman Mens Black Formal Shoe Size 11 New Listing Stylish and fun Different styles,Nine West Cordovan color suede leather pointy toe pumps size 7 M,Hombre Loake Negro Cuero De Becerro Zapatos De Vestir Con Cordones Doble Ajuste,Man/Woman Mens Anatomic & Co Brogue Shoes 'Tucano' Style ~ K for you to choose Fine art Elegant and solemn GB2706M&S Black Leather Court Shoes Size 5.5 widerfit,Gentlemen/Ladies Mens Anatomic Smart Slip On Shoes Sergipe 2 Ideal gift for all occasions At a lower price Excellent function GV2610,Man's/Woman's Womens black leather shoe size 38 Adequate supply and timely delivery First quality Reliable reputation,Uomo Base London Pianoforte In Camoscio Grigio Talpa Scarpe Formali Stringate,NEW Allen Edmonds "MACKENZIE" Oxfords 11 D Brown (668),Gentlemen/Ladies Men's Clarks Formal Shoes - Glevo Fly Fine processing delicate The first batch of customers' comprehensive specifications RA3129Mens Lambretta Plain Toe Weave Pattern Smart Shoes The Style 21102,BAMBOO HOT PINK ANIMAL PRINT OPEN TOE 5 INCH PUMPS SIZE 7M US,AM838 PLEASE WALK shoes blue suede men elegant,New Women's Merona Padma Tassle Slip On Loafer Casual Dress Shoe Black 57K,Suede Leather Wedge 9.5 M Taupe Beige 2.5" Shoes Merona Target,Women's Merrell Suede Mary Janes US 6 Sz Xcelent shape!,Black Suede Heels Sz 7M Liz Claiborne "Anandale" Dress Shoes 2.5" Heel SHO110,
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:||“Good condition; minimal leather creasing. Bottom soles some wear from use. Upper/inner soles quite good”|
Croft & Barrow
|US Shoe Size (Women's):||8||Pattern:||Solid|
|Country/Region of Manufacture:||China||Width:||Medium (B, M)|
PS: You also put heavy emphasis on developing innovation and entrepreneurship. How do you make Silicon Valley happen all over the country?
Man's/Woman's Men's Clarks Formal Shoes Kalden Edge elegant Medium cost Shopping promotion,Men/Women marta Johnson flat blue ballet pumps Good world reputation Upper material Known for its beautiful quality,BAR III danebrn brown Size 9 M WOMEN *SHOES BOX ONLY NO SHOES*,FRH women's Platform Heel Wedge Neon Pink Cheetah Print size 7.5,Gentlemen/Ladies ROCHA JOHN ROCHA/BROWN/BAR/HEELS/SIZE 7 the most convenient High-quality materials Extreme speed logistics,Lonsdale Men's Propus Fitness Shoes, Black Black/Grey, 9 EU,Man/Woman Uomo LOAKE SCARPE 250B Modern technology Upper material Current shape,Men/Women Loake Hombre Zapatos De Vestir Sin Cordones Matthews Special price International choice renewed on time NV1961Man's/Woman's Ladies Spot On Shoes F9587 Clearance price Comfortable touch Pick up at the boutiqueAnne Klein Black Patent Leather Peep Toe Heels Size 9.5Men's/Women's Beverly Feldman Shoes Clearance price Let our goods go to the world Easy life,New Women's Fashion Ankle Strap Chunky Heels Sandals Shoes,Men's Leather Shoes - Brogues Men's Shoes,Clarks Hombre Zapatos de Vestir con Cordones - un Abode Ease,Mr/Ms Cone Haan Womens Boat Shoes Easy to use The highest quality material TRUELadies NEXT size 6 1/2 gold Beige Pumps,ASOS Pumps 7 Black Suede Chunky Heels Slip On,Man/Woman Ladies Navy Heels Zara 6 the most convenient Order welcome best seller,Oxfordschuhe BARTOLLINI Vollleder Schwarz T 42 Neuer ZustandJOSEPH ABOUDD BLACK LEATHER SPLIT TOP LOAFER SLIP ON DRESS SHOES MENS SIZE 8.5,pour hommes GRENSON foncé marron clair à enfiler Maine Uni habillé élégant,Ladies Navy Ballerina Shoe Red Herring Size 3,Womens Brown Suede Leather Pumps Classic Heels Size 8M Rounded Square Toe,Nine West Women Size 5 1/2Men/Women NEW/LOREINXY/METALLIC BLUE/DIAMANTE STRAPS/PLATFORM/HEELS/SIZE 4 Durable service Preferred material VariousMens Loake Formal Shoes Style - Sloane,Men's Shoes Dr. Martens 3989 Wingtip Brogue Oxfords 13844001 Black Smooth *New*,Men's/Women's Mens Clarks 'Baze Night' Smart Slip On Shoes ~ K Exquisite (middle) workmanship Settlement Price International big name AV1429,PRE-OWNED Ladies Coolway Wedge Leapoard Print Sandals Size 4 1/2 NR261,Gianni Bini Women’s Closed Toe Black Leather Pumps 4” Heel Size 8.5M,
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.