President Obama today shined the spotlight on 100 students from 30 states whose work in science, technology and engineering he says should inspire others to excel in the field.
"As a society, we have to celebrate outstanding work by young people in science at least as much as we do Super Bowl winners," he said.
Obama said this year's White House science fair put special emphasis on "amazing girls and young women" to encourage more to pursue careers in science.
He ticked through the stories and inventions by many students in attendance.
"I have a confession to make. When I was growing up my science fair projects were not as successful as those here," Obama joked.
He said he killed a bunch of plants in one project; in another, he said mice escaped in his grandmother's apartment.
"They [these students] were just amazing. And by the way, no rodents lose in the White House," he said.
Obama also got an up close look at several of the exhibits. He tried on a "concussion helmet" designed by one young lady; chatted with three 6th graders about their "app" that helps disabled kids navigate from class to class at school; and viewed a robot designed by Natick, Mass., HS students that helps with icy water search and rescue.
Obama tried and tested the robot, and the kids joked that he was now certified in ice rescue.
"I love this event. This is one of my favorite things all year long," Obama later told the crowd.
Also in attendance were Education Secretary Arne Duncan, NASA administrator Charlie Bolton and Bill Nye the Science Guy.