Contact: Ginger Pinholster
American Association for the Advancement of Science

United States President Bill Clinton liberated his self-described “inner nerd” in an exclusive interview in the 22 December issue of the journal Science, discussing how science and technology are likely to change the world and how he might continue his involvement with science after his term ends in January.

“I think the language of science-and the necessity of understanding at least the basic concepts of science-will become a much more pervasive part of the average citizen’s life in the next 20 to 30 years than it ever has been,” Clinton told Science Editor Ellis Rubenstein.

Clinton said he was pleased with his administration’s record for basic research spending, which included increases for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. He cited climate change, the human genome, and nanotechnology as research areas that deserve continued support.

The President commended NASA for improving its efficiency, and said he would like to see their budget increase now. When queried about the cut in defense spending, he said he expects civilian research will have important defense implications.

Clinton stressed the need for international collaboration, and acknowledged the “brain drain” experienced by other countries whose students continue to work in the United States after studying here. The President said he’d like to see the United States acting as a “global lab,” helping to finance educational, research, and operational exchanges.

A major challenge for science education for schoolchildren is getting qualified teachers, according to Clinton, who proposed that possible solutions may be either paying teachers more or bringing people in to teach single classes.

When he leaves office, Clinton said he hopes to stay active in science-related projects. In particular, climate change and the breakdown of certain countries’ public health systems are two areas he expects to be involved with in the future.


For a copy of the Science interview with President Clinton, please call 202-326-6440, or send email to