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Obama names 23 scientists and innovators as medal winners


The National Medal of Science honors researchers.

President Barack Obama has named 12 researchers and 11 inventors as recipients of the federal government's highest honors in their fields: the National Medal of Science, and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

The newly named recipients will receive their awards at a White House ceremony next year.

"I am proud to honor these inspiring American innovators," Obama said Friday in a White House statement.  "They represent the ingenuity and imagination that has long made this nation great — and they remind us of the enormous impact a few good ideas can have when these creative qualities are unleashed in an entrepreneurial environment."

The National Medal of Science was established in 1959 and is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created in 1980, under the auspices of the Commerce Department's Patent and Trademark Office. Committees select nominees for each of the medals — the science medal for contributions to research, and the technology medal for contributions to American competitiveness and quality of life.

National Medal of Science recipients include:

  • Allen Bard, chemist focusing on artificial photosynthesis, University of Texas at Austin
  • Sallie Chisholm, biologist focusing on marine organisms, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Sidney Drell, physicist and arms control expert, Stanford University
  • Sandra Faber, astronomer focusing on evolution of galaxies and cosmic structure, University of California at Santa Cruz
  • Sylvester James Gates, physicist focusing on supersymmetry and string theory, University of Maryland
  • Solomon Golomb, mathematician and the inventor of polyominoes, University of Southern California
  • John Goodenough, physicist credited for development of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, University of Texas at Austin
  • M. Frederick Hawthorne, chemist focusing on boron hydrides, University of Missouri
  • Leroy Hood, biologist focusing on DNA medicine, Institute for Systems Biology
  • Barry Mazur, mathematician focusing on geometry and number theory, Harvard University
  • Lucy Shapiro, biologist focusing on developmental biology, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Anne Treisman, psychologist focusing on visual attention, perception and memory, Princeton University


The National Medal of Technology and Innovation goes to inventors and engineers.

National Medal of Technology and Innovation:

  • Frances Arnold, engineer focusing on directed evolution, California Institute of Technology
  • George Carruthers, inventor, physicist and space scientist, U.S. Naval Research Lab
  • Robert Langer, engineer focusing on biotechnology and medical technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Norman McCombs, engineer focusing on oxygen therapy, AirSep Corp.
  • Gholam Peyman, retina surgeon credited with invention of Lasik eye surgery procedure, Arizona Retinal Specialists
  • Art Rosenfeld, physicist focusing on energy efficiency technologies, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Jan Vilcek, microbiologist focusing on the immune system, NYU Langone Medical Center
  • IBM: Samuel Blum, Rangaswamy Srinivasan and James Wynne, co-inventors of the ultraviolet excimer laser
  • Raytheon BBN Technologies, R&D company focusing on military as well as civilian applications, represented by CEO Edward Campbell

The White House says the affiliations are the awardees' most recently identified employers. Some of the awardees are now retired.

More about science at the White House:

Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as NBCNews.com's other stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.