Among the students and celebrities attending Astronomy Night at the White House was Ahmed Mohamed, a Texas teen who made headlines for taking a homemade clock to school in September and getting handcuffed for it.
Mohamed, 14, whose efforts briefly brought him notoriety as a symbol of youthful scientific curiosity in a time of ethnic and racial suspicion, did not bring the clock that got him arrested and suspended from his Irving, Texas, school. He was, though, able to speak briefly with President Barack Obama.
Mohamed called their meeting a short but "very long journey into the experience of learning."
"We talked about Mars and 2030 and I talked to him about the generator that I'm making and how it could help people on Mars," he said.
Mohamed's evening, which featured telescopes on the White House lawn, astronomical exhibits and appearances by U.S. astronauts, came at the end of a month of visits to Google's California headquarters; Mecca, Saudi Arabia; and meetings with Jordan's Queen Rama, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
Of his experiences, Mohamed commented, "I learned that people would always be there to support you when there's injustice. There's a ton that I learned. I'm trying to get a message of how you shouldn't judge a person by what they look like. You should always judge a person by their heart."
By Ed Adamczyk
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