Twelve Researchers Take Home Top Medals

David is a Deputy News Editor specializing in coverage of science policy, energy and the environment.

Two mathematicians, a bevy of molecular biologists and a rocket scientist are among the winners of the highest honor that the United States bestows on researchers. President Barack Obama today named seven recipients of the National Medal of Science, and five winners of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, hailing their "fearlessness even as they explore the very frontiers of human knowledge."

And the winners are:

National Medal of Science

  • Jacqueline K. Barton, California Institute of Technology, for the discovery of a new property of the DNA helix, long-range electron transfer, and for showing that electron transfer depends upon stacking of the base pairs and DNA dynamics.
  • Ralph L. Brinster, University of Pennsylvania, for his fundamental contributions to the development and use of transgenic mice.
  • Shu Chien, University of California, San Diego, for pioneering work in cardiovascular physiology and bioengineering.
  • Rudolf Jaenisch, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for improving our understanding of epigenetic regulation of gene expression: the biological mechanisms that affect how genetic information is variably expressed.
  • Peter J. Stang, University of Utah, for his contributions to the development of organic supramolecular chemistry and his record of public service.
  • Richard A. Tapia, Rice University, for his contributions in optimization theory and numerical analysis and for his efforts in mathematics and science education.
  • S. R. Srinivasa Varadhan, New York University, for his work in probability theory, especially his work on large deviations from expected random behavior.

National Medal of Technology and Innovation

  • Rakesh Agrawal, Purdue University, for innovations in improving the energy efficiency and reducing the cost of gas liquefaction and separation.
  • B. Jayant Baliga, North Carolina State University, for development and commercialization of the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor and other power semiconductor devices.
  • C. Donald Bateman, Honeywell, for developing and championing critical flight-safety sensors now used by aircraft worldwide.
  • Yvonne C. Brill, RCA Astro Electronics (Retired), for innovation in rocket propulsion systems for geosynchronous and low earth orbit communication satellites.
  • Michael F. Tompsett, TheraManager, for work in materials and electronic technologies including the design and development of the first charge-coupled device (CCD) imagers.

The recipients will receive their medals at a White House ceremony later this year.

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