Photos: President Obama hosts final White House Science Fair

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.

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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. 

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13: Sisters Kimberly, 9, right, and Rebe (Photo by Ricky Carioti/ The Washington Post/Getty)
Sisters Kimberly, 9, right, and Rebecca Yeung, 11, of Seattle, WA., look on as President Barack Obama lifts their spacecraft science fair project during the sixth and final, annual White House Science Fair at The White House on April 13, 2016 in Washington, D.C. The president celebrates with student competitors and winners from a broad range of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competitions. The event was the largest White House Science Fair to date, with more than 130 students from more than 30 states, as well as student alumni from each of the prior five White House Science Fairs.
Photo by Ricky Carioti/ The Washington Post/Getty
President Barack Obama gives a fist bump to Jacob Leggette, 9, of Baltimore, Md., who creates toys using a 3D printer, while touring the 2016 White House Science Fair at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 13, 2016. (Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
President Barack Obama gives a fist bump to Jacob Leggette, 9, of Baltimore, Md., who creates toys using a 3D printer, while touring the 2016 White House Science Fair at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 13, 2016. 
Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP
President Barack Obama blows a soap bubble using a 3-D printed bubble wand designed by Jacob Leggette, 9, of Baltimore, Md., while touring the 2016 White House Science Fair at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 13, 2016. Photo by Jacquelyn Martin
President Barack Obama blows a soap bubble using a 3-D printed bubble wand designed by Jacob Leggette, 9, of Baltimore, Md., while touring the 2016 White House Science Fair at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 13, 2016.
Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Hannah Herbst, 15, of Boca Raton, Fla., shows her invention, BEACON, an ocean-energy probe prototype to President Barack Obama during the 2016 White House Science Fair in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington(Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
Hannah Herbst, 15, of Boca Raton, Fla., shows her invention, BEACON, an ocean-energy probe prototype to President Barack Obama during the 2016 White House Science Fair in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., April 13, 2016. Herbst was named America’s 2015 Top Young Scientist and won the 2015 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for creating BEACON.
Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Barack Obama, Rebecca Yeung, Kimberly Yeung (Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
President Barack Obama laughs as he hugs Rebecca Yeung, 11, from Seattle, Wash., next to her sister Kimberly Yeung, 9, as they show him their homemade “spacecraft” that features a photograph of their late cat and is made of archery arrows and wood scraps which they launched into the stratosphere via a helium balloon that records location coordinates, temperature, velocity, and pressure and reports the data back to the them, April 13, 2016, during the 2016 White House Science Fair at the White House in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP
President Barack Obama speaks with students that created an Android app called Spectrum that provides a social media network for the LGBT community as he tours the 2016 White House Science Fair in the Blue Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., Apri
President Barack Obama speaks with students that created an Android app called Spectrum that provides a social media network for the LGBT community as he tours the 2016 White House Science Fair in the Blue Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 13, 2016.
Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty
President Barack Obama talks with a team of young engineers from New York about their subway rail vacuum during the 2016 White House Science Fair in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., April 13, 2016.
President Barack Obama talks with a team of young engineers from New York about their subway rail vacuum during the 2016 White House Science Fair in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., April 13, 2016. Obama began the White House science fair tradition in 2010.
Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times/Redux
President Barack Obama greets students after delivering remarks at the White House Science Fair April 13, 2016 in Washington, D.C.
President Barack Obama greets students after delivering remarks at the White House Science Fair April 13, 2016 in Washington, D.C. Earlier, Obama toured science project designed by the students.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty

Barack Obama and White House

Photos: President Obama hosts final White House Science Fair