Windows that generate electricity by directing light to solar cells, lightweight high-power batteries that are not built but grown via engineering and more efficient lighting systems that rely on nanotechnology are some of the “extraordinary research” President Barack Obama encountered during his brief visit to MIT Friday.

Windows that generate electricity by directing light to solar cells, lightweight high-power batteries that are not built but grown via engineering and more efficient lighting systems that rely on nanotechnology are some of the “extraordinary research” President Barack Obama encountered during his brief visit to MIT Friday.


“You just get excited being here and seeing these extraordinary young people and the extraordinary leadership,” he said. “It’s a reminder that all of you are heirs to a legacy of innovation, not just here but across America that has improved our health and well-being and helped us achieve unparalleled prosperity.”


Giving a shout out to the students and faculty at MIT for their cutting-edge research, Obama challenged Americans to lead the global economy in green energy.


Hundreds of visitors crowded the MIT campus to hear the president talk about American leadership in clean energy as Congress gears up for clean energy legislation hearings and as world leaders prepare for the U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen in December. 


Walking into resounding applause at Kresge Auditorium minutes after a tour of MIT labs doing cutting-edge research, President Obama reiterated the urgency to immediately address the biggest challenge of our times – clean energy.


Obama said the work being done at MIT is just one example of the pioneering spirit that characterizes America and will help ensure a brighter and cleaner future for coming generations.


About 20 percent of MIT’s faculty is involved in energy research and the student led MIT Energy Club has more than 1700 members, said MIT president Susan Hockfield.


“We share President Obama’s view that clean energy is the defining challenge of this era to meet the doubling of global energy demands by 2050, drive new patents, new products, industries, jobs and to mitigate climate change clean energy is the only avenue,” she said.


Obama recognized and commended local politicians, especially the efforts of Sen. John Kerry and Gov. Deval Patrick in promoting climate bills and talked about the Recovery Act and stimulus bills he has promoted in Washington that makes “the largest investment in clean energy in our history.”


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