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The White House

President Honors Nation's Top Scientists and Innovators

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                                 September 17, 2009
President Obama today named nine eminent researchers as recipients of the National Medal of Science, and four inventors and one company as recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honors bestowed by the United States government on scientists, engineers, and inventors. The recipients will receive their awards on October 7 at a White House ceremony.
The National Medal of Science was created by statute in 1959 and is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation. Awarded annually, the Medal recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. Nominees are selected by a committee of Presidential appointees based on their advanced knowledge in, and contributions to, the biological, behavioral/social, and physical sciences, as well as chemistry, engineering, computing, and mathematics.
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation has its roots in a 1980 statute and is administered for the White House by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The award recognizes individuals or companies for their outstanding contributions to the promotion of technology for the improvement of the economic, environmental, or social well-being of the United States. Nominees are selected by a distinguished independent committee representing both the private and public sectors.
"These scientists, engineers and inventors are national icons, embodying the very best of American ingenuity and inspiring a new generation of thinkers and innovators," President Obama said. "Their extraordinary achievements strengthen our nation every day—not just intellectually and technologically but also economically, by helping create new industries and opportunities that others before them could never have imagined."
This year’s recipients are:
National Medal of Science
Dr. Berni Alder, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, CA
Dr. Francis Collins, National Institutes of Health, MD
Dr. Joanna Fowler, Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY
Dr. Elaine Fuchs, The Rockefeller University, NY
Dr. James Gunn, Princeton University, NJ
Dr. Rudolf Kalman, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
Dr. Michael Posner, University of Oregon, OR
Dr. JoAnne Stubbe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA
Dr. J. Craig Venter, J. Craig Venter Institute, MD & CA
National Medal of Technology and Innovation
Dr. Forrest M. Bird, Percussionaire Corp., ID
Dr. Esther Sans Takeuchi, University at Buffalo, SUNY, NY
Team: Dr. John E. Warnock and Dr. Charles M. Geschke (Adobe Systems Inc., CA)
Company: IBM Corporation, NY
Note to regional reporters: For more information about, or interviews with, local winners of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, please contact the awardees’ home institution or agency.