President Obama at the National Medal of Science ceremony. Photo: Jose Gil / Shutterstock.com
President Obama is a nerd. A lot of people describe themselves as nerds these days, and some people think it’s “in” to be nerdy, while others resent that because they used to be called nerds in school and it was hurtful when they were younger. But President Obama is unapologetically excited about science, and his terms in office have been full of scientific curiosity.
He has spearheaded a number of projects, forcing Americans to think about climate change in ways that we never used to do, and has had the most energetic and busiest science advisory committee in perhaps any administration.
President Obama also began hosting annual science fairs at the White House, saying that if he celebrates top student athletes, he should do the same for scientifically talented youth as well.
He’s long been a fan of science fiction, and grew up watching Star Trek and reading Spider-Man, even meeting Leonard Nimoy at a fundraising event during his first run for the presidency, and has written about his respect for the actor after his passing.
When he got into office, the President admitted that he wasn’t as well educated on science as he’d like to be, and he used his advisory committee as an opportunity to improve on that education. He has worked closely with his committee over the years, and both he and the scientists working with him left meetings feeling excited about what they were working on, which is apparently pretty rare for people in that position.
The President has also learned a lot, and taken to heart the scientific lessons he’s been taught by those around him, and by his voracious reading habits—so much so that he’s impressed scientists with his ability to not only comprehend what they’re talking about, but to really internalize it.
He even recently published an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association about how to improve Obamacare, which makes him the first sitting president to have a piece published in an academic journal.
All in all, President Obama is going to leave the White House a more scientifically informed place than he found it.