Obama honors science, technology scholars
President Obama took time out today to honor scientists who are unsung American heroes in a variety of fields.
"Thanks to the men and women on the stage, we are one step closer to curing diseases like cancer and Parkinson's," Obama said. "Because of their work, soldiers can see the enemy at night and grandparents can see the pictures of their grandchildren instantly and constantly. Planes are safer, satellites are cheaper, and our energy grid is more efficient, thanks to the breakthroughs that they have made."
"And," he added, "even though these folks have not sought out the kind of celebrity that lands you on the cover of People magazine, the truth is that today's honorees have made a bigger difference in our lives than most of us will ever realize."
From the White House:
Today's recipients in National Medal of Science include:
-- Dr. Jacqueline K. Barton (Pasadena, CA) for research on ways to use DNA molecules to direct the flow of electric charges over long distances, an unusual property of DNA that may facilitate the development of new medicines and could lead to DNA's use in industrial processes.
-- Dr. Ralph L. Brinster (Philadelphia, PA) for his fundamental contributions to the development of gene-altered mice, whose availability for research helped generate a revolution in biology, medicine, and agriculture.
-- Dr. Shu Chien (San Diego, CA) for deepening our understanding of how the activity of genes inside cells can be affected by physical stimuli outside those cells—an understanding that is providing new insights into basic mechanisms of health and disease.
-- Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch (Cambridge, MA) for his investigations into biological mechanisms that can affect the activity of genes in cells and organisms, including work that may provide the foundation for innovative new therapies for a wide range of diseases.
-- Dr. Peter J. Stang (Salt Lake City, UT) for work on the processes by which individual molecules assemble into larger chemical systems—a field of study with biological and industrial applications ranging from improved petroleum refining to the development of synthetic molecules capable of photosynthesis for use in solar energy technology.
-- Dr. Richard A. Tapia (Houston, TX) who, in addition to his research on numerical analysis and other aspects of mathematics, has devoted himself to improving science and math education and supporting students from groups underrepresented in those fields, including women and minorities.
-- Dr. Srinivasa S.R. Varadhan (New York, NY) for his groundbreaking research in probability theory, which has potential applications in many areas of study including population dynamics, finance, and traffic engineering, including highway planning and management.
Today's recipients in National Medal of Technology include:
-- Dr. Rakesh Agrawal (West Lafayette, IN) for his many innovations relating to liquefied gas production, which have resulted in significant energy and cost efficiencies and advanced the science of electronic device manufacturing while enhancing the supply of industrial gases for a wide range of industries.
-- Dr. B. Jayant Baliga (Raleigh, NC) for the development and commercialization of a range of power semiconductor devices that are extensively used today in lighting, medicine, and renewable energy generation systems, including hybrid and electric vehicles and solar energy sources.
-- Mr. C. Donald Bateman (Redmond, WA) for developing and championing flight-safety sensors that are used in aircraft worldwide, including ground-proximity warning systems and wind-shear detection systems.
-- Ms. Yvonne C. Brill (Skillman, NJ) for innovation in rocket propulsion systems for geosynchronous and low earth orbit communication satellites, which greatly improved the effectiveness of space propulsion systems.
-- Dr. Michael F. Tompsett (Murray Hill, NJ) for pioneering work in materials and electronic technologies including the design and development of the first charge-coupled device imagers.