President Obama honors nation’s leading scientists and innovators

The National Medal of Science
The National Medal of Science is the nation's highest scientific honor. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy awarded the first Medal of Science to the late Theodore Von Karman, professor emeritus, California Institute of Technology. Credit: NSF

The White House today announced the latest recipients of the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation — the nation’s highest honors for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology. The new awardees will receive their medals at a White House ceremony early next year.

“Science and technology are fundamental to solving some of our Nation’s biggest challenges,” President Obama said. “The knowledge produced by these Americans today will carry our country’s legacy of innovation forward and continue to help countless others around the world. Their work is a testament to American ingenuity.”

The National Medal of Science was created by statute in 1959 and is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Awarded annually, the Medal recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. The President receives nominations from a committee of Presidential appointees based on their extraordinary knowledge in and contributions to chemistry, engineering, computing, mathematics, and the biological, behavioral/social and physical sciences.

Among this year’s nine recipients of the National Medal of Science, seven received NSF support at some point in their research careers.

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by statute in 1980 and is administered for the White House by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Patent and Trademark Office. The award recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the Nation’s technological workforce. A distinguished independent committee representing the private and public sectors submits recommendations to the President.

Six of the eight National Medal of Technology and Innovation awardees have received NSF funding.

The new recipients are listed below.

National Medal of Science

National Medal of Technology and Innovation

  • Joseph DeSimone, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and Carbon3D
  • Robert Fischell, University of Maryland at College Park
  • Arthur Gossard, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Nancy Ho, Green Tech America Inc. and Purdue University
  • Chenming Hu, University of California, Berkeley
  • Mark Humayun, University of Southern California
  • Cato T. Laurencin, University of Connecticut
  • Jonathan Rothberg, 4catalyzer Corporation and Yale School of Medicine