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President Barack Obama said outstanding scientists should be celebrated like sports stars and announced efforts to encourage young women to study engineering and technology while congratulating the winners of the White House Science Fair on Tuesday.

“As a society, we have to celebrate outstanding work by young people in science at least as much as we do Super Bowl winners,” Obama said.

The president said he has enjoyed greeting championship sports teams when they visit the White House, but the innovation he saw from young people showing off inventions in fields like robotics to medicine should be viewed by society with the same level of esteem.

The White House focused on highlighting the scientific accomplishments of girls and encouraged more females to get into the male-dominated field. Men currently outnumber women working and studying science, which the president said means “half our team we aren’t even putting on the field.”

The president also used the science fair to highlight some of the failed scientific experiments he conducted in his youth, one of which resulted in mice escaping in his grandmother’s apartment.

“Today I got to see what real young scientists can do, and they were just amazing,” Obama said. “And, by the way, there were no rodents lose in the White House.”