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Thank you, everybody.
Please have a seat.
Welcome to the White House.
Today, I have the privilege to present our nation's
highest honor for scientific and technological
achievement -- the National Medals of Science, and the
National Medals of Technology and Innovation.
The amount of brainpower in this room right
now is astonishing.
But when you talk to these brilliant men and women,
it's clear the honor has not yet gone to their heads.
They still put their lab coats on
one arm at a time.
Joining us to celebrate these achievements are
members of Congress; Secretary of Energy Ernie
Moniz -- a pretty good scientist himself -- my
Science Advisor, John Holdren; the Director of the
National Science Foundation, France Còrdova; the Director
of the U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office, Michelle Lee; and Jim
Rathmann from the National Medals of Science and
Technology Foundation.
I want to thank them for all the work that they do each
year to help us organize and honor the scientists and
innovators in this great nation of ours.
Now, we are engaging in a lot of science and tinkering
here at the White House.
We've got Astronomy Night.
We got Hack-a-thons.
We got Code-a-thons.
We have Science Fairs, Maker Faires.
It is fun.
I love this stuff.
I get to test out some of the cool stuff that ends up
here in the White House.
At this year's Science Fair, one nine-year-old, named
Jacob Leggette, turned the tables on me and suggested
that we needed to start a kids' advisory group --
-- so that young people can help us understand what's
interesting to them when it comes to STEM education,
which I thought was a pretty good idea.
So, today, I can announce that we are launching a "Kid
Science Advisors" campaign for young scientists and
innovators to send in their suggestions for what we
should be doing to support science and technology, and
inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators.
So those young people out there who are listening, go
to our website -- we're going to be looking for some
advisors, some advice.
The real reason we do this, as I've said before, is to
teach our young people that it's not just the winner of
the Super Bowl or the NCAA tournament that deserves a
celebration; that we want the winners of science
fairs, we want those who have invented the products
and lifesaving medicines and are engineering our future
to be celebrated as well.
Because immersing young people in science, math,
engineering -- that's what's going to carry the American
spirit of innovation through the 21st century and beyond.
That's what the honorees who are here today represent.
Many of them came from humble or ordinary
beginnings, but along the way, someone or something
sparked their curiosity.
Someone bought them their first computer.
Someone introduced them to a lab.
A child in their lives needed specialized medical help.
And because they lived in an America that fosters
curiosity, and invests in education, and values
science as important to our progress, they were able to
find their calling and do extraordinary things.
So there are few better examples for our young
people to follow than the Americans that we honor today.
Just to take a couple of examples: Shirley Ann
Jackson, who is part of my science advisory group, grew
up right here in Washington, D.C. Hers was a quiet childhood.
Her first homemade experiment involved, I
understand, collecting and cataloging bumblebees in
her backyard.
Two events happened that would not only change our
country's course, but Shirley's.
In Brown v.
Board of Education, the Supreme Court handed down a
landmark decision that separate educational
facilities are inherently unequal, and the Soviets
launched Sputnik up in the sky, sparking a space race.
As Shirley put it, "Those two events in history
changed my life for good."
She went on to become the first African American to
earn a doctorate in physics from MIT, the second woman
to do so anywhere in America.
And over the years, Dr. Jackson has
revolutionized the way science informs public
policy from rethinking safety at our nuclear plants
to training a new generation of scientists and engineers
that looks more like the diverse and inclusive
America she loves.
Then you have Mark Humayan, who immigrated to the United
States with his family when he was nine years old.
When his diabetic grandmother lost her vision,
he began studying to become an ophthalmologist, hoping
he could save the sight of others.
Mark helped create the "Argus II," a "bionic eye"
that has restored vision to patients who've been blind
for up to 50 years.
He says the moment when he witnessed someone seeing
light and shapes, someone experiencing the miracle of
sight for the first time in decades -- those moments
have been some of the happiest and most rewarding
of his professional career.
In his words -- and I think no pun is intended -- "There
wasn't a dry eye in the operating room."
Growing up in Chicago, Mary-Claire King's dad would
sit with her in front of the TV for Cubs and
White Sox games --
-- and make up story problems for her to solve
about the players on the field.
She just thought that's how everyone watched baseball --
which explains why, when a college advisor encouraged
her to take a genetics course, she said, "I
couldn't believe anything could be so fun."
But every single American should be grateful for
Mary-Claire King's path.
We're glad that she thought it was fun because.
at a time when most scientists believed that
cancer was caused by viruses, she relentlessly
pursued her hunch that certain cancers were linked
to inherited genetic mutations.
This self-described "stubborn" scientist kept
going until she proved herself right.
Seventeen years of work later, Mary-Claire
discovered a single gene that predisposes women to
breast cancer.
And that discovery has empowered women and their
doctors with science to better understand the
choices that they make when it comes to their health and
their future.
So these are just three examples of the remarkable
stories that are represented here today.
They illustrate why this is such an extraordinary moment
to be a scientist in this country.
America's progress in science and technology has
countless revolutionary discoveries within our reach.
New materials designed atom by atom.
New forms of clean energy.
New breakthroughs in treating cancer and ending
the wait for organ transplants.
Private space flights, a planned human mission to
Mars, a NASA probe that broke free from the Solar
System three years ago and just kept on going.
That's some of what America can do.
That's why we're constantly pushing Congress to fund the
work of our scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and
dreamers to keep America on the cutting-edge.
As President, I'm proud to honor each of you for your
contributions to our nations.
As an American, I'm proud of everything that you've done
to contribute to that fearless spirit of
innovation that's made us who we are, and that doesn't
just benefit our citizens but benefits the world.
We're very proud of what you've done.
So congratulations to all of you.
With that, let's read the citations and present
the awards.
MILITARY AIDE: National Medals of Science.
Armand Paul Alivisatos.
National Medal of Science to Armand Paul Alivisatos,
University of California, and Lawrence Berkeley
National Lab, California.
For his foundational contributions to the field
of nanoscience, for the development of nanocrystals
as a building block of nanotechnologies, and for
his leadership in the nanoscience community.
Michael Artin.
National Medal of Science to Michael Artin, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Massachusetts.
For his leadership in modern algebraic geometry,
including three major bodies of work: Étale cohomology,
algebraic approximation of formal solutions of
equations, and non-commutative
algebraic geometry.
Albert Bandura.
National Medal of Science to Albert Bandura, Stanford
University, California.
For fundamental advances in the understanding of social
learning mechanisms and self-referent thinking
processes in motivation and behavior change, and for the
development of social cognitive theory of human
action and psychological development.
Stanley Falkow.
National Medal of Science to Stanley Falkow, Stanford
University School of Medicine, California.
For his monumental contributions toward
understanding how microbes cause disease and resist the
effects of antibiotics, and for his inspiring mentorship
that create the field of molecular
microbial pathogenesis.
Shirley Ann Jackson.
National Medal of Science to Shirley Ann Jackson,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York.
For her insightful work in condensed matter physics and
particle physics, for her science-rooted public policy
achievements, and for her inspiration to the next
generation of professionals in the science, technology,
engineering, and math fields.
Rakesh K. Jain.
National Medal of Science to Rakesh K.
Jain, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General
Hospital, Massachusetts.
For pioneering research at the interface of engineering
and oncology, including tumor microenvironment, drug
delivery and imaging, and for groundbreaking
discoveries of principles leading to the development
and novel use of drugs for treatment of cancer and
non-cancerous diseases.
Mary-Claire King.
National Medal of Science to Mary-Claire King, University
of Washington, Washington.
For pioneering contributions to human genetics, including
discovery of the BRCA1 susceptibility gene for
breast cancer; and for development of genetic
methods to match "disappeared" victims of
human rights abuses with their families.
Simon Asher Levin.
National Medal of Science to Simon Asher Levin,
Princeton, New Jersey.
For international leadership in environmental science,
straddling ecology and applied mathematics, to
promote conservation; for his impact on a generation
of environmental scientists; and for his critical
contributions to ecology, environmental economics,
epidemiology, applied mathematics, and evolution.
Geraldine Richmond.
National Medal of Science to Geraldine Richmond,
University of Oregon, Oregon.
For her landmark discoveries of the molecular
characteristics of water surfaces; for her creative
demonstration of how her findings impact many key
biological, environmental, chemical and technological
processes; and for her extraordinary efforts in the
United States and around the globe to promote women
in science.
National Medals of Technology and Innovation.
Joseph N. DeSimone.
National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Joseph N.
DeSimone, University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill, North Carolina State University, and
Carbon 3D, California.
For pioneering innovations in material science that led
to the development of technologies in diverse
fields from manufacturing to medicine, and for innovative
and inclusive leadership in higher education
and entrepreneurship.
Robert E. Fischell.
National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Robert E.
Fischell, University of Maryland at
College Park, Maryland.
For invention of novel medical devices used in the
treatment of many illnesses thereby improving the health
and saving the lives of millions of patients around
the world.
Arthur Gossard.
National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Arthur
Gossard, University of California, Santa
Barbara, California.
For innovation, development, and application of
artificially structured quantum materials critical
to ultrahigh performance semiconductor device
technology used in today's digital infrastructure.
Nancy Ho.
National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Nancy Ho,
Green Tech America, Incorporated and Purdue
University, Indiana.
For the development of a yeast-based technology that
is able to co-ferment sugars extracted from plants to
produce ethanol, and for optimizing this technology
for large-scale and cost-effective production of
renewable biofuels and industrial chemicals.
Chenming Hu.
National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Chenming
Hu, University of California,
Berkeley, California.
For pioneering innovations in microelectronics
including reliability technologies, the first
industry-standard model for circuit design, and the
first 3-dimensional transistors, which radically
advanced semiconductor technology.
Mark S. Humayun.
National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Mark
Humayun, University of Southern California, California.
For the invention, development, and application
of bioelectronics in medicine, including a
retinal prosthesis for restoring vision to the
blind, thereby significantly improving patients'
quality of life.
Cato T. Laurencin.
National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Cato T.
Laurencin, University of Connecticut, Connecticut.
For seminal work in the engineering of
musculoskeletal tissues, especially for
revolutionizing achievements in the design of bone
matrices and ligament regeneration; and for
extraordinary work in promoting diversity and
excellence in science.
Jonathan Marc Rothberg.
National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Jonathan
Marc Rothberg, 4catalyzer Corporation and Yale School
of Medicine, Connecticut.
For pioneering inventions and commercialization of
next generation DNA sequencing technologies,
making access to genomic information easier, faster,
and more cost-effective for researchers around
the world.
The President: Let's giv another big round of
applause to our honorees.
Very proud of you.
And let's give a big round of applause to my military
aide, who had to read those citations --
-- with a lot of pretty complicated phrases in them.
You were practicing, weren't you?
Well, it just goes to show we can all learn science.
Science rocks.
Thank you very much, everybody.
Please enjoy the reception.
Congratulations to our honorees.
Have a wonderful afternoon.
Thank you very much everyone.
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The National Medals of Science and of Technology & Innovation

532 Folder Collection
Amy.Lin published on February 10, 2017
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