President Obama “is a science geek,” or at least his top adviser on science says so.
John Holdren, assistant to the president on science and technology. said Obama is “enormously interested in and enormously well-informed about science technology innovation.”
“First of all he is a science geek,” Holdren said. “He is only president ever to have held a White House science fair and he has held four of them.”
Holdren explained that Obama reads a lot about science and technology and requires advising on host of different science topics, not just ones pertaining to a given policy debate going on.
“I can never predict what kind of question I will get from this president,” Holdren said.
“I like to say he is the most science-aware president since Thomas Jefferson,” he added.
To illustrate his point, Holdren shared a story about a time when Obama asked to have a one-on-one chat about fusion energy because of a conversation he had had with a member of Congress.
After talking about fusion energy for 20 minutes, Holdren said, Obama said, “by the way, how are we doing about honeybee colony collapse disorder.”
The disorder is an event in which bees mysteriously die or diasppear.
Holdren said Obama understood that this problem for honeybees could be a “canary in the coal mine sort of thing where we are seeing ecosystem events we don’t understand and need to be paying attention.”
Holdren’s work on the administration’s climate change agenda is not welcome by Republicans, and he has faced scrutiny on Capitol Hill during hearings over the president’s controversial carbon pollution rule.
Still, Holdren remains optimistic that action on climate change will work.
“If I weren’t optimistic I’d probably be doing something else,” he told NPR’s "Living Lab on the Point" program.