Some of President Obama’s “best moments” as commander-in-chief have involved science, he said Wednesday. The president made history when he hosted the first White House Science Fair, and he reflected Wednesday on a successful six years for the program by saying, “I’ve just been able to see the unbelievable ingenuity and passion and curiosity and brain power of America’s next generation, and all the cool things that they do. “
The final science fair that Obama presided over coincided with the 273rd birthday of Thomas Jefferson, a president and Founding Father, who was also an inventor. “One of the essential elements that is embedded in our Constitution and the design of this democracy is this belief that the power of the human brain — when applied to the world around us — can do amazing, remarkable things,” the president said.
During his address to participants, Obama acknowledged the need to open up the doors for young women and other minority groups to STEM careers in the fields of science and technology, engineering and math, and computer science. He highlighted inventions by two young women, high school seniors Maya Varma and Olivia Hallisey, who created new tools that make the diagnosing of Ebola, asthma, and other lung diseases more affordable.
Other inventions at yesterday’s science fair included a subway rail vacuum, an Android social media app for the LGBT community, and a line of toys made using a 3D printer. “You are sharing in this essential spirit of discovery that America is built on,” the president told the young inventors that were gathered before him.