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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

As a fan of “Star trek” Obama became a fan of science


Science was always interested in the Professor-lawyer Barack Obama, who became President of the United States. He was the initiator of the study of the human brain and disease genes. He led the March on the Ebola virus. And last month, Barack Obama published an academic article in the respectable “Journal of the American medical Association” – on the improvement of legislation in the field of health.


photo: Alexander Astafyev

The White house still remember and can’t forget the boy of an armed drug-marshmallows in the shape of a gun. The boy’s name was John Hadi, and he was 14 years old. He was a member of the science fair 2012 at the White house. Obama met with him near made boy extreme guns.

“Can she hit that wall?” — asked John the President.

“Yes,” answered the boy.

“And cleave?” — interested in Obama.

“I don’t know.”

“Well, then let’s try,” fire President.

No sooner said than done. And now, for the first time since the British in 1814 burned the White house, gun Hadi shot on one of the walls of the Hall for state dinners. But medicinal candy to the wall is not stuck.

Since Obama settled in the White house, he – the President – has undergone, in the words of the poet, “some magic changes”. His hair turned gray. He became more skeptical of military solutions to complex international problems. His daughter-teenagers do not think it is cool and cool, i.e. cool.

But one of the “magic changes,” which not everyone notices Obama – his thirst for science. It marked the beginning of scientific exhibitions “fairs” in the White house. “If we honour the young athletes, why not to welcome young scientists?” — the President said-enthusiast. He often recalls the young participants of these “fairs,” including 12-year-old schoolgirl to Alan Simon, who recovered from a rare type of cancer of the liver, and then, still not having finished school, have helped scientists to find its genetic cause.

Never before in history has not been so active presidential Supervisory Board, as in Obama. He initiated the study of 34 different kinds of problems, from various advanced projects production to cybersecretary. Obama takes an active part in the work of the Board and customize its participants.

“The members of the Council – a very sophisticated scientists, which are difficult to infect with enthusiasm, says Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences. — But that’s what happens with them now and then”.

Dan Pfeiffer, the former chief Obama adviser, tells how he once attended a meeting of the Council. “The time spent could be used for other urgent and priority cases,” he recalls. — But the President insisted. And after the meeting went loaded with new energy.”

But the evidence of the President: “the Interviews that I conduct with representatives of Silicon valley and venture capital, enhance my interest in science and its organization, to my satisfaction.” But his remark about potential breakthroughs in streamlining genomes: “This is one example of what I can listen and talk for hours”.

Obama has always been a science fiction fan. Been a fan of the first “Star trek” since childhood. He grew up reading books like-comics, like “spider-Man”. His favorite movie last year – “Martian”.

When actor Leonard Nimoy, who played in the first “Star trek” commander Spock, Obama made a statement, which said: “before nerds became cool, there was Leonard Nimoy”. He described Spock’s those same words that people describe him: “Cool, logical, Bolshoi (“Eeyore”), cold-blooded, the centre of the optimistic visions in “Star trek” future of mankind”.

Before becoming President, Obama was more interested in science only sporadically. One day, turning to the scientists, the teeth on one of the halls of the White house, he confessed that “enough is chemistry and physics in order to make an impression in these Sciences” on them. Some scientists, who met with Obama before his presidency, too, talking about his then lack of training. “He had just started studying the Sciences,” says Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton Professor of geography and international relations.

But the enthusiasm Obama, according to many White house staff, was boundless when it came to the Sciences. Immediately after his election as President in 2008, Obama was seriously immersed in an oasis of science in a search for members of its scientific Council. “I was blown away by his greed and interest in the Sciences,” says Dr. Harold worms, the former Chairman of the presidential Council and Director of the National Institute of health in the administration of President Clinton.

But it says Dr. John Holdren, who became a presidential adviser on science and in this post remains the longest in the history of the White house: “I took this position, suggesting that a large portion of my time will be briefing the President only within the scientific framework. But soon I was convinced deep erudition Obama – in science and in technology and innovation. I worked with him as a teacher”.

In addition to articles in the Journal of the American medical Association” on the improvement of legislation in the field of health, he recently gave an interview to the magazine “Popular science”, where he covered, among other things, the question of its “steepness”.

Researchers from the National Institute of health were shocked by the visit to him Obama in December 2014, and a few months were under the impression. He was talking about a makeshift laboratory, which had just visited, using terms such as “gel electrophoresis”, “microplate and multiparametric”. Present at the same time, scientists broke out their “subdued roar.”

“I was familiar with his written speeches. So it was easy to see that it was impromptu,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases. — Boom-boom, and he begins to speak about the fundamentals of science so that all of us like somewhere sweeps.”

Yes, for such a “boom-boom impromptus” a required passion for science and her knowledge. President Barack Obama, bespectacled scholar, fluent in both.

Melor STURUA in Minneapolis

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