Obama to promote science on American TV show

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Monday, October 18, 2010

WASHINGTON - As part of his efforts to highlight the importance of science, math and engineering among American students who he said could be losing out in future to students from India and China, President Barack Obama plans to appear on “Mythbusters,” a television series that uses science to separate fact from fiction.

Obama, who is pushing to improve the performance of US students in math and science as part of reforms intended to reclaim the nation’s standing as a world leader in education, announced his plans to appear on the popular Discovery Channel at the first White House Science Fair Monday.

The programme, 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, Discovery Channel said.

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.”

“That’s not just the power of science. That’s the promise of America. Anybody with a good idea can prosper. Anybody with talent can succeed,” he said. The exhibits including two projects by Indian-American students Raina Jain and Anika Patel.

Obama pointed to studies showing that US students rank 25th in the world in scores on math, science and engineering as he singled out some of the winners of a range of science and math competitions.

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

Jain, a senior at Freedom High School from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, won first place at the International BioGENEius Challenge, the premier biotechnology competition for high school students, for her research.

She has analysed whether cells adhere better to rough or smooth surfaces of Bioglass, which could lead to improved bone implants.

Patel and Angela Riggins from Mercer Island’s Forest Ridge School won first place at the 18th annual Toshiba ExploraVision Awards encouraging students to create and explore a vision of future technology by combining their imaginations with the tools of science.

They developed the Ecological Paper Printing and Ink Collector (EPPIC) system that recycles and reuses printed-paper and its ink created by binding an organic renewable pigment to a graphene sheet with a large surface area made using nanotechnology.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

Filed under: Science and Technology

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