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President Obama Presents the National Medals of Science & National Medals of Technology and Innovation, and Announces Additional Steps to Help Bring More Cutting-Edge Ideas to Market

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, at a ceremony at the White House, President Obama honored the recipients of the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation—the highest honors bestowed by the United States government on scientists, engineers, and inventors. In addition, the President announced additional steps that will help convert more ideas from America’s universities, research labs and companies into new products, expanding our economy and creating 21st century jobs.

“I’m pleased to recognize these extraordinary scientists, engineers, and inventors for their work exploring the very frontiers of human knowledge and making our world a better place,” President Obama said. “It’s important to recognize that work, and to help make it easier for inventors and innovators like them to bring their work from the lab to the marketplace and create jobs.”

Honoring Those Who Discover, Create, and Build

The National Medal of Science recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering, and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the Nation’s technological workforce.

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 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.

Moving Ideas from Lab to Market

A New Online Resource to Speed Commercialization of Technologies: In support of the President’s goals for the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, the federal Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) will launch a new searchable, web-based resource to assist manufacturers, tech firms, and entrepreneurs to turn more of their ideas into products and businesses. Integrated into the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) MEP website, the site will enable businesses and entrepreneurs across the country to easily identify and contact more than 2,000 public-private organizations and initiatives designed to assist them. The site will profile more than 900 organizations that offer capital, intensive entrepreneurial support, technical assistance, and access to new markets. Among the users will be NIST MEP’s more than 1,400 technical experts located around the country who are focused on solving manufacturers’ challenges and identifying opportunities for growth. They will use the resource to improve the economic standing of the more than 34,000 manufacturers they work with annually, resulting in new sales and investments. This web resource will bring together in one place information that is currently scattered across the country.

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