Obama spotlights science in his State of the Union address

By Philip Yam

President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night had to hearten the science and technology community. The effort to "win the future," in which the U.S. can compete globally and thrive economically, requires some major investment in research. "We need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world," Obama stated.
For innovation, Obama noted how, when Sputnik was launched in 1957, the U.S. did not have the science to beat the Soviet Union to the moon. The space race triggered a series of innovations that created new industries and millions of new jobs. And he gave shout-outs to Google and Facebook in noting how the more recent rise of the Internet enabled new businesses to flourish. "This is our generation's Sputnik moment," he said, and he promised in the next few weeks to send a budget to Congress that will address the need for innovation.

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Scientific American editors respond to Obama's State of the Union address [Video]

By Eric R. Olson

President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday night touched on topics that are near and dear to us at Scientific American, including technology, green energy sources, health care and innovation. Four of our editors give their thoughts on Obama's speech and provide some context in the video below:



 Obama's State of the Union: The facts about clean energy and broadband access

By Larry Greenemeier

It's debatable that the U.S. is feeling the same sense of unity and resolve toward technology that it did more than 50 years ago when the Soviet Union launched its Sputnik satellite and won the race to space. Regardless, as President Obama pointed out during last night's State of the Union Address, a Sputnik-like response is in order if the U.S. is to develop the technology needed to address a number of significant challenges the nation faces in the coming years—in particular clean energy and ubiquitous broadband communications.

Understandably, given the breadth of topics he needed to cover, the President mentioned but did not provide much detail about several key technology initiatives underway. Scientific American fills in some of the blanks related to key statements Obama made last night.

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