Ahmed Mohamed and Bill Nye stirred up some controversy at the White House's Astronomy Night on Monday.
Students gathered on the lawn of the White House to gaze at the stars and chat with scientists, NASA astronauts, and a slew of celebrities on Monday night. According to a report from the Examiner, however, the seemingly peaceful event still faced its fair share of controversy.
Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas teen who was punished for bringing a homemade clock that resembled a bomb in to school, greeted the President at the event. The boy has also recently met with the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the UN International Court of Justice as a war criminal for genocidal acts carried out in Darfur.
People who saw Ahmed’s list of presidential friends rose questions about the morality of hanging out with a wanted international war criminal, but the topic didn’t come up at the event. The boy says he is currently working on a generator that he hopes will be useful to astronauts in the future.
Not to be outdone, Bill Nye the Science Guy was also present at the event. Nye is the head of the Planetary Society, a group that advocates for increased investment in space exploration. NASA officials blasted Nye for not bringing up the issue of federal funding at the event.
The Obama administration has repeatedly cut NASA funds despite their public stance on space exploration, and many involved in the astronomical community are frustrated by the lack of support.