Celebrating science with the Geek in Chief at the White House Science Fair

Today in Washington, President Obama hosted the second annual White House Science Fair. Video of his comments is embedded below, along with a storify of exhibits and students from the day.

“The young people I met today, the young people behind me — you guys inspire me. It’s young people like you that make me so confident that America’s best days are still to come. When you work and study and excel at what you’re doing in math and science, when you compete in something like this, you’re not just trying to win a prize today. You’re getting America in shape to win the future. You’re making sure we have the best, smartest, most skilled workers in the world, so that the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root right here. You’re making sure we’ll always be home to the most creative entrepreneurs, the most advanced science labs and universities. You’re making sure America will win the race to the future.

So as an American, I’m proud of you. As your President, I think we need to make sure your success stories are happening all across our country.

And that’s why when I took office, I called for an all-hands-on-deck approach to science, math, technology and engineering. Let’s train more teachers. Let’s get more kids studying these subjects. Let’s make sure these fields get the respect and attention that they deserve.

Now, in a lot of ways, today is a celebration of the new. But the belief that we belong on the cutting edge of innovation — that’s an idea as old as America itself. I mean, we’re a nation of tinkerers and dreamers and believers in a better tomorrow. You think about our Founding Fathers — they were all out there doing experiments — and folks like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, they were constantly curious about the world around them and trying to figure out how can we help shape that environment so that people’s lives are better.

It’s in our DNA. We know that innovation has helped each generation pass down that basic American promise, which is no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you can make it if you try. So there’s nothing more important than keeping that promise alive for the next generation. There’s no priority I have that’s higher than President — as President than this.

And I can’t think of a better way to spend a morning than with the young people who are here doing their part and creating some unbelievable stuff in the process. So I’m proud of you. I want you to keep up your good work.-President Barack Obama

 

 

Later in the day, Bill Nye, “The Science Guy,” Neil Tyson Degrasse and Tom Kalil participated in a live Twitter chat:

Reflections from Manor Govfresh: Voices of Open Government and Gov 2.0

If you’re looking for the faces of government 2.0, look no further. The video above, released today by Manor New Tech High‘s “Digital Dojo,” features more than a dozen voices (including this correspondent) talking about what Manor.Govfresh meant to them and what open government means to the country.

“I am very excited to be at Manor Govfresh because it’s the first time I’ve ever been to a conference that doesn’t just talk about change but actually does it,” said White House deputy CTO for open government Beth Noveck. “What’s exciting about Manor Govfresh is that it’s brought together so many people who are interested in municipal innovation and using technology to actually make a difference in local communities here in Manor, Texas, in Deleon, Texas, and across America, to actually make government work better.”

When you watch the video, of course, you’ll hear many more voices than Noveck’s, which is of course the point. The movement towards open government at the local level puts the growth of government 2.0 in context. As Stacy Viselli said this morning in a comment on Radar, “Communities and neighborhoods have been moving their organizations online for a while now and are looking for ways to do more. It creates an optimum environment for collaborative projects that include local governments, business, civic associations, nonprofits, and community foundations. Sometimes it’s not about the data so much as it is about providing a platform that empowers communities do what they are already doing–better.”

For more on how local governments are using technology to deliver smarter government, read about how Gov 2.0 is growing locally. And for more on Manor Govfresh, read about harnessing the civic surplus for open government.