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Obama Hosts Top Teenage Scientists

President Barack Obama during the White House Science Fair, Feb 7, 2012.

President Obama hosted some of America’s top young scientists Tuesday at the White House. The president also announced new steps to boost the country’s output of leading scientists.

Fourteen-year-old business owner Joe Hudy and one of his inventions, a compressed air cannon that shoots marshmallows, attracted President Obama’s attention at the White House Science Fair.

The president invited Joe and several other young scientists from across the country to share the products of their imaginations…

…including this portable disaster relief shelter designed by Jessica D’Esposito and her Indiana schoolmates, inspired by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

“We really saw how many people could actually use these, and so we designed this, and so this is extremely lightweight," she said.

Champion athletes are often welcomed at the White House. But Mr. Obama said academic and science achievement should also be honored.

“If we invite the team that wins the Super Bowl to the White House, then we need to invite some science fair winners to the White House as well," said President Obama.

Despite the presense of these young scientists, the U.S. now trails many other indutrialized countries in science and math.

So the president announced several new goals, to change that in the coming years.

“One million more American graduates in science, technology, engineering and math over the next 10 years," said Obama. "That is a goal we can achieve.”

To teach those students, Mr. Obama wants $80 million in the new government budget to train 100,000 new math and science teachers.

He also announced a $22 million initiative from private organizations and individuals to help train new instructors in science and math.

The president told the science fair participants they strengthen his faith in the country’s future.

“You guys inspire me," he said. "It is young people like you that make me so confident that America’s best days are still to come.”

The president is hoping that these young people and others like them can launch a return to America’s dominance of science and technology.