"It's engineering!" says President Obama
November 18, 2010
As part of the first-ever USA Science & Engineering Festival, President Barack Obama hosted the first White House Science Fair October 18, honoring student winners of STEM competitions whose work spanned cancer research, solar-powered cars, water purification systems, and robotic wheelchairs.
In such activities, said the President, "talents are discovered and passions are lit, and the future scientists, engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs are born. That's what's going to help ensure that we succeed in the next century." Obama explained: "The most common educational background of CEOs in the S&P 500 companies... the nation's most successful, most powerful corporations... is not business, it's not finance, it's not economics -- it's actually engineering. It's engineering!"
Among the 100 White House guests: the Discovery Channel's Mythbusters, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage; Bill Nye, the Science Guy; National Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh; Energy Secretary Steven Chu; and the Museum of Science's own Patti Curtis.
On October 23-24, over 500,000 people celebrated science and engineering at the Festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Some 550 exhibitors, including the Museum of Science and its National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®), offered 1,500 hands-on activities and 75 stage shows. More than 4,500 people visited the Museum's booth and watched its Amazing Nano Brothers Juggling Show, including representatives from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Hands-on activities involved designing and building flying broomsticks and figuring out puzzles.
The Museum was one of the first 75 organizations invited to be an official Festival partner. Two weeks of events leading up to the Festival in the Washington, DC, area involved 25 Nobel laureates and thousands of scientists, engineers, and students. Another 250,000 people explored STEM activities at satellite events across the country. Organizers are exploring the possibility of a Festival in 2012.