President Obama to Honor Top U.S. Scientists and Innovators

President Barack Obama

On Wednesday, November 17, 2010, President Barack Obama will honor the 2010 recipients of both the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.  President Obama will present the recipients with their awards in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House starting at 5:20pm.  I have been granted press credentials by the White House to cover this event, and will be there with my trusty Canon EOS Rebel XT taking pictures for a Photo Diary of the event, which I will publish here on  So check back Thursday morning for my first hand account of the awards ceremony and a birds eye view of the event from inside the White House.

On October 15, 2010, President Obama announced the ten researchers who will be awarded the National Medal of Science, as well as the three individuals and one team recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. These are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government on scientists, engineers, and inventors.

At the time the President announced the recipients he said: “The extraordinary accomplishments of these scientists, engineers, and inventors are a testament to American industry and ingenuity. Their achievements have redrawn the frontiers of human knowledge while enhancing American prosperity, and it is my tremendous pleasure to honor them for their important contributions.”

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 extraordinary 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 is an outgrowth of 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 those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and have helped strengthen the Nation’s technological workforce. Nominees are selected by a distinguished independent committee representing both the private and public sectors.

The recipients of the National Medal of Science are:

  • Yakir Aharonov, Chapman University, CA
  • Stephen J. Benkovic, Pennsylvania State University, PA
  • Esther M. Conwell, University of Rochester, NY
  • Marye Anne Fox, University of California San Diego, CA
  • Susan L. Lindquist, Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA
  • Mortimer Mishkin, National Institutes of Health, MD
  • David B. Mumford, Brown University, RI
  • Stanley B. Prusiner, University of California San Francisco, CA
  • Warren M. Washington, National Center for Atmospheric Research, CO
  • Amnon Yariv, California Institute of Technology, CA

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation

  • Harry W. Coover, Eastman Chemical Company, TN
  • Helen M. Free, Miles Laboratories, IN
  • Steven J. Sasson, Eastman Kodak Company, NY
  • Team: Federico Faggin, Marcian E. Hoff Jr., Stanley Mazor; Intel Corporation, CA


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Join the Discussion

5 comments so far.

  • [Avatar for patent litigation]
    patent litigation
    November 23, 2010 12:17 am

    According to recent news stories, the White House is putting new pressure on Congress to pass patent reform and other key, technology-based legislation (see, e.g., If the new, Republican-led House is as pro-business and pro-economy as it claims to be, then hopefully it will follow the President’s lead on this.

  • [Avatar for step back]
    step back
    November 17, 2010 10:36 pm

    Rock stars without that diamond rock on their pinky rings.
    What kind of hollow appreciation is that?

    Even Lady Gaga gets a ring! (not the cellphone kind)

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    November 17, 2010 10:16 pm

    Step & AC-

    Sorry, I can’t report that, but we will be reporting what he said. Renee is working on an article about what was said, and I am working on the photo diary of the event. It was quite an experience seeing things from the inside, and an honor.

    What I can say is that those scientists and engineers looked extremely happy and proud, and well they should be. They are truly the rock stars!


  • [Avatar for step back]
    step back
    November 17, 2010 08:30 pm

    Please tell us not that POTUS merely barks “innovation” as a convenient sound bite for the TV cameras.

    Tell us instead that he actually climbs up that tree and shakes backlogged applications out and free of the USPTO hold-back thicket.

    Last we heard, Dept. of Commerce is still part of the Yes-We-Can Executive “Branch”. 😉

  • [Avatar for American Cowboy]
    American Cowboy
    November 17, 2010 03:40 pm

    Please tell me that as part of his remarks, El Presidente said that he will strong arm Congress into giving back all the money they stole from the PTO.