“Extraordinary research [is] being conducted at this Institute,”Obama said, citing work that could lead to windows that generateelectricity, batteries that are grown by viruses rather than beingbuilt, highly efficient new lighting systems and ways of storingenergy from offshore windmills so that it can be delivered whenneeded.
“You just get excited being here, and seeing these extraordinaryyoung people,” he said. “It taps into something essential aboutAmerica,” he said, asserting that the nation has “always been aboutdiscovery. It’s in our DNA.”
The President said that the clean-energy research he sawin the labs is “a reminder that all of you are heirs to a legacy ofinnovation, not just here but across America, that has improved ourhealth and our well being and helped us achieve unparalleledprosperity.” But Obama indicated that this prosperity was injeopardy, threatened in part by the very force that drives it. “Thesystem of energy that powers our economy also undermines oursecurity and endangers our planet.”
Discussing energy legislation that is presently working its waythrough the U.S. Congress with some bipartisan support, including abill jointly sponsored by Republican Senator Lindsay Graham andDemocratic Senator John Kerry, the President said he believed aconsensus was growing.
“We are seeing a convergence,” he said. The naysayers, the folkswho would pretend that this is not an issue, they are beingmarginalized. The closer we get, the harder the opposition willfight.” Young people, he said, “understand that this is thechallenge of their generation.”
President Obama’s visit to MIT was only the second in theInstitute’s history by a sitting president, following PresidentBill Clinton’s appearance for a Commencement address in 1998. Thiswas the first such visit to include a tour of laboratories andmeetings with MIT faculty members.
Grappen en grollen
Harvard-alumnus Obama had nog een paar sterke grappen over derivaal-universiteit in Boston. Hij noemde MIT eerst “the mostprestigious school in Cambridge Massachusetts.” Maar voegde toensnel toe: “well, in this part of Cambridge.” En hij gaf toe dat hijverwachte dat de MIT-studenten deze Harvard-man wel even zoudenlaten zien hoe zij een van hun beruchte practical jokes ten kostevan de rivaal zouden uitvoeren: “I might be here for a while – abunch of engineering students put my motorcade on top of Building10.”