October 18th, 2010
02:18 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama calls student science projects inspiring for the future

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama hosted the first White House Science Fair on Monday, saying it is time for student inventors to receive the same recognition as sports heroes.

After seeing some of the winning exhibits from science and engineering competitions across the country, Obama told an East Room audience that the
inventions on display and the students who made them are inspiring and demonstrate "the promise of America."

"I could not be prouder of you," Obama said. "I expect some of you to be back here as Nobel Prize winners."

The exhibits included a physical therapy chair for disabled children, a solar powered five-gear car, a hydro-power water purification system and a "smart" steering wheel that sounds an alarm when a driver takes one or both hands off.

Obama tried the smart steering wheel, noting that it would know when someone was texting while driving.

"So Malia and Sasha, once they start driving, I can have this thing on there," Obama joked about the presidential daughters.

Antonio Hernandez and Diego Vazquez of Cesar Chavez High School in the Phoenix, Arizona, area told Obama how their team worked with physical therapists to develop a chair that disabled students can use to receive physical therapy while at school.

The chair moves manually, heats and vibrates, and was built from scratch over six months with aluminum donated by companies, they explained. To raise money, mothers of the students sold tamales, they said.

"They didn't have money, but they did have a desire to work together, to help a friend and build something that had never been done before," Obama said.
"That's not just the power of science. That's the promise of America."

The science fair was part of Obama's push to improve the performance of U.S. students in math and science as part of reforms intended to reclaim the nation's standing as a world leader in education.

During the event, Obama announced he had taped a walk-on role for Discovery Channel's "MythBusters" program. A news release from Discovery Channel said the program, to be broadcast in December, will challenge the ancient myth that Greek scientist Archimedes set fire to an invading Roman fleet using sunlight reflected by mirrors.

Filed under: issues • President Obama
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. 15 Days until Socialism dies in the United States

    "They didn't have money, but they did have a desire to work together, to help a friend and build something that had never been done before," Obama said. "That's not just the power of science. That's the promise of America."

    And then you and the DemocRATS attack them and tax them to death for being successful business people. Dirty money grubbing thiefs that are out to ruin the country, especially if they contribute to your political opponents.

    October 18, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. stufthis

    Since the right wingnuts are opposed to science and education, the comments here are going to get ugly. But come on deniers of science, give it your best shot. Watch the myth busters on the right prove there is no gravity.

    October 18, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. stufit

    That is kinda what science projects do. Of course this idiot probably did not realize that before. Of course when I was in high school, we had to pay for the projects ourselves. You know, self reliance, personal responsibility, anathemas to Democrat liberals.

    October 18, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I wonder what Christine O'Donnell thinks about this since she doesn't believe in evolution. I like the fact that these young Americans are being recognized for their accomplishments. The children are our future. I find it appaling that republicans want to cut education spending.

    October 18, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Okay... and this is coming from a vocal critic of yours... Well Done, Sir.

    October 18, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    Science? What has science ever done for us? We should be teaching those kids intelligent design if we want them to be able to compete in the global economy. Have a nice day!

    October 18, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. CNN watcher

    This must anger Republicans. You know they reject all scientific fact.

    October 18, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Mike, Albany

    I wonder if any tea party members were at the science fair. Oh wait, they either don't believe in science or are so scientifically illiterate that they think scientists are creating mice with fully formed human brains. If nut cases like this end up in our legislative body, science will die, and America will complete its journey toward becoming a third rate nation. Before you vote, check to see what your candidate's views are on increasing science funding in the U.S. through agencies like the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, or the Department of Energy. America's technological future hangs in the balance.

    October 18, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. anthony

    AND somehow you commentors will find a way to spit your negative vile because the president's name is mentioned in a ticker, instead of just being positive that we have a president that can appreciate science. America.. we are truly a backward country after 8 years of Bush...

    October 18, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    As parents, as citizens we need to encourage and promote innovative ideas from our youth, and the zeal and dedication that it takes to suceed at all levels of schooling. It is beyond high time that we endowed scholastic achievers with the same 'pomp and circumstance' usuallly reserved for athletes, and artists. It is great that this administration is on board with this. The concept that being smart is cool has been buried andall but lost. In order for our nation to be able to move forward and compete equitably and globally we must bring it back to the forefront with as much verve, enthusiasm, and rewards as to make it a palatable and sought-after accomplishment.

    Congratulations to these bright young scholars.

    October 18, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    You never hear Palin talk about education because she and her family don't believe in it and their record shows this. They are lazy and pander off the American people. What man out there wants to support a man who quit his job, has no education and gets a free ride for he and his family.

    October 18, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. GOP Scorched Earth Politics

    Only the uneducated bigot GOP clones would have a problem with this in 3, 2, 1...here we go. America needs to reinvest in our Math and Science public education programs. Too much $ is spent on arts and music. We don't have enough engineers and losing our edge accordingly. Nothing is free, tea haters. Stop making excuses and start chipping in to make sure our schools get enough funding.

    October 18, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |

    How in the devil does stupid OBAMA know what they can or can't do. Go on vacation and take big rear mommy with you. We don't need any decisions being made until after Nov. 2010.

    October 18, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. LIP

    How about a Science Fair project that will put people back to work and revive an economy that started it's downhill slide four years ago when the Democrats took control of Congress.

    October 18, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  15. GOP Scorched Earth Politics

    Great post TOTAL FACT. Thanks you just proved my point. The Democrats are doing all the work while your side sits on the lazy chair and whines while offering no ideas of your own.

    October 18, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. Monster Zero

    Total Fact is a progressive liberal plant exposing racially insensitive remarks and it is wrong! Dislike the man for what he stands for, not the color of his skin.

    October 18, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. No more democrat lies, please

    Who are the crazies accusing republicans of hating science? If lies and accusations are they only ways that democrats can garner votes, then I'm voting straight republican–since I love and studied science and work for medical scientists and engineers–that are conservatives.

    Democrats need to run on their voting record–which unfortunately for them is awful.

    October 18, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Macho Macho

    Hey scorched ear Politics-I am an engineer and have been unemployed for 2.5 years now under our fearless leaders economic strategies. Nine years of my life to achieve professional registration and the best I can do now is sell paint at a Home Depot. So go BLO!

    October 18, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |