Barack Obama

February 18, 2019

The National Society of Black Physicists honors President Barack Obama. President Obama is the 44th president of the United States, the first African American to be elected president.

barack obamaBarack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961) was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is an American attorney and politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the first African American to be elected to the presidency. He previously served as a senator from Illinois from 2005 to 2008.

Known as Barry, as a youth, Obama started out in St. Francis Pre-Education. From age six to ten, he then attended local Indonesian-language schools: Sekolah Dasar Katolik Santo Fransiskus Asisi (St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Elementary School) for two years and Sekolah Dasar Negeri Menteng 01 (State Elementary School Menteng 01/Besuki Public School) for one and a half years, supplemented by English-language Calvert School homeschooling by his mother. As a result of those four years in Jakarta, he was able to speak Indonesian fluently as a child. In 1971, Obama returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Dunham. He attended Punahou School— a private college preparatory school— with the aid of a scholarship from fifth grade until he graduated from high school in 1979. After graduating from high school in 1979, Obama moved to Los Angeles to attend Occidental College. In February 1981, Obama made his first public speech, calling for Occidental to participate in the disinvestment from South Africa in response to that nation's policy of apartheid. Later in 1981, he transferred as a junior to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in political science with a specialty in international relations and in English literature. He graduated with a BA degree in 1983 and worked for about a year at the Business International Corporation, where he was a financial researcher and writer, then as a project coordinator for the New York Public Interest Research Group on the City College of New York campus for three months in 1985.

After graduating from Columbia University in 1983, he worked as a community organizer in Chicago. In 1988, he enrolled in Harvard Law School, where he was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. After graduating, he became a civil rights attorney and an academic, teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. He represented the 13th district for three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004, when he ran for the U.S. Senate. He received national attention in 2004 with his March primary win, his well-received July Democratic National Convention keynote address, and his landslide November election to the Senate. In 2008, he was nominated for president a year after his campaign began and after a close primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. He was elected over Republican John McCain and was inaugurated on January 20, 2009. Nine months later, he was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

After winning re-election by defeating Republican opponent Mitt Romney, Obama was sworn in for a second term in 2013. During his term in office, America's reputation in global polling significantly improved. Evaluations of his presidency among historians and the general public place him among the upper tier of American presidents. A December 2018 Gallup poll found Obama to be the most admired man in America for an unprecedented 11th consecutive year, although Dwight D. Eisenhower was selected most admired in twelve non-consecutive years. The Barack Obama Presidential Center is Obama's planned presidential library. It will be hosted by the University of Chicago and located in Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago.

Obama left office in January 2017 and currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Michelle whom he has been married to since October 3, 1992. They have two daughters, Malia Ann, born in 1998, and Natasha ("Sasha"), in 2001. The Obamas have two Portuguese Water Dogs; the first, a male named Bo, was a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy and Sunny, a female.