We are forced to look at our presidents in a glorifying and divinizing light so much of the time that we often forget they are people themselves. They are people who make mistakes, people who make jokes, people who have hobbies and are fascinated by whatever they happen to find interesting.
For example, many probably don’t even know that President Obama has a very big fascination with science. It stems from his childhood, as he enjoyed his science classes quite a lot, but he regrets the fact that he never got to specialize in a single field. But even presidents can nostalgically reminisce.
So this is how last Wednesday, the White House was filled with children showing off their best scientific inventions, as one of the favorite events of the presidential family, a science fair, took place there. Beginning in 2010, the fair is one of President Obama’s favorite activities, as he enjoys spending time with the tiny brilliant minds, asking them questions, encouraging them, and occasionally joking with them.
The fair was filled with interesting inventions with a huge potential, from a diagnostic test for Ebola, to a homemade spacecraft, and even a way of collecting energy from the ever-present ocean currents. Many of the inventions impressed and slightly frustrated the president, as he would have wished to have the possibility to achieve this level of innovation, creativity, and scientific prowess as a kid.
Of course, in typical Obama fashion, the President couldn’t help but joke with some of the participants. He good-humoredly told a an eighteen year old that came up with a protein that can detect and treat renal fibrosis that his only concern is related to her chances of getting into college, and he asked two sisters, one eleven and the other nine, whether their Lego spacecraft didn’t accidentally get cow poop on it.
But one of the inventions he found the most impressive and lauded the most belonged to a fifteen year old from Boca Raton, Florida. Young Hannah Herbst developed a device that can collect and pass on energy from ocean currents. Her design was inspired by her Ethiopian pen pal, as the girl wanted to come up with a way to help developing countries find a stable power source.
The event was also used to promote progress in the field of education, with the administration investing $1 billion in the development of science and mathematics, as well as in his goal of preparing 100,000 new math teachers by 2021. The President even sent a personal Tweet to an LA teen that got a perfect score on his Advanced Placement Calculus exam. So it was hard to miss this White House Science Fair.
Image source: Wikimedia