Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
May 10, 1996
When I reflect on the commitment to education that all of us share, I am reminded of something Mae Jaemison, the former NASA astronaut, said at a recent event here in Washington. She said, "When we talk about creating a scientifically literate work force, we're not talking about producing a million nuclear physicists."
As much as I value nuclear physicists, I could not agree more with Dr. Jaemison. Today more than ever, science and mathematics permeate our jobs, the issues we face as a society, and our daily lives. Some say there may have been a time when we could afford to look the other way when most students got turned off by science -- so long as the students at the top showed an interest.
If that ever was the case, it is definitely not so today. That is why more is expected of you and your colleagues than ever before. We look to you to engage all students, get them to roll up their sleeves, get their arms around science--touch it, experience it--and do some heavy lifting with their brain muscles.
It therefore gives me great pleasure to introduce a person who does much of the heavy lifting for research and education in America today, Dr. Jack Gibbons, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Jack is someone our nation has regularly turned to for leadership in science and technology. He pioneered studies of energy conservation in the late 1960's, and at the start of the first energy crisis in 1973, Jack was the founding director of the Federal Office of Energy Conservation. In 1979, the Congress tapped Jack to direct the Office of Technology Assessment, where he served until 1991. (I add with some sadness that OTA did not survive Jack's departure, because the Congress abolished the agency last year, in perhaps the ultimate example of a penny-wise and pound-foolish decision.)
Jack now serves as the point person on the Administration's science and technology team. This Administration, perhaps more than any in the nation's history, appreciates the potential of science and technology to create jobs, spur growth, cure disease, protect the environment, and bring about a brighter future for all Americans, especially our children and grandchildren. Jack therefore has had a strong hand in shaping policy in such diverse areas as economics, education, and the environment.
Please join me in welcoming "Mr. Science and Technology" and "Mr. Research and Education" -- Jack Gibbons.