On Monday night the White House hosted its second Astronomy Night (the first was in 2009). While on the face of it this event may seem distinct from the Science Fairs, Maker Faires and Demo Days hosted by the White House, they are all done with a similar goal – making the case for additional commitments (by the government and other parties) to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. This time the special guests included Bill Nye the Science Guy, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from MythBusters, and several NASA personnel. You can watch Adam and Jamie talk with several attendees, and see the President’s remarks online.
I think one thing that might be gleaned from this is that science boosterism might get attention from an Administration if it is as closely linked to education as it has with the current President. But that’s a supposition.
As with the 2009 event, the President spoke briefly, and took a look at a celestial object via a reflecting telescope. This time it was a young student who guided the President rather than his chief science adviser, and it was for the better. Also for the better was the inclusion of more than 80 different events across the country, involving schools museums and National Parks.
On Wednesday the White House is taking advantage of the date – October 21, 2015 – to host an event focused on the future. (For those who haven’t figured it out, October 21, 2015 is the date in the future visited by characters in the movie Back to the Future Part II.) All morning tomorrow (sorry west coast people) there will be online presentations and discussions on various issues related to science and technology over the next 30 years (since it was 30 years ago when the film leaped into the future). Hopefully more than the Google Hangout will be archived for future viewing.