FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 16, 2010

President Obama awards chemists National Medals of Science & Technology & Innovation

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 – President Barack Obama will honor seven American Chemical Society (ACS) members as recipients of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation at a White House ceremony on Wednesday.

“President Obama will honor our nation’s top scientists and engineers with the National Medals of Science and of Technology and Innovation,” said ACS President Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D. “I am thrilled to say that seven chemists — all ACS members — will be recognized for their dedication to discovery. This is a great achievement not only for these individuals, but for our profession.”

ACS recipients include:

  • Stephen J. Benkovic, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, Penn.
  • Esther M. Conwell, Ph.D., University of Rochester, N.Y.
  • Marye Anne Fox, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, Calif.
  • Susan L. Lindquist, Ph.D., Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mass.
  • Stanley B. Prusiner, M.D., University of California, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Harry W. Coover, Ph.D., Eastman Chemical Company, Kingsport, Tenn.
  • Helen M. Free, Miles Laboratories, Elkhart, Ind.

“The extraordinary accomplishments of these scientists, engineers, and inventors are a testament to American industry and ingenuity,” Obama said. “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.”

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, during a reception and dinner celebration, the National Medal Laureates will be honored with the debut of a series of videos highlighting their individual contributions to science and society. The videos being developed by the National Science & Technology Medals Foundation, will soon be available on the ACS website at Check for updates.

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 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.

“As the central science, chemistry holds the key to addressing so many of our global challenges — clean water, new energy sources, improved health, safe and abundant food and a clean and sustainable environment,” Francisco said. “These laureates are all vibrant examples of how chemistry is making our world a better place to live.”

“These awards are particularly exciting because next year is the International Year of Chemistry, and they give us reason to celebrate chemistry as the science of solutions,” he added.

Francisco was appointed earlier in 2010 as a member of the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science.

For a complete list of all National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation Laureates please visit the White House webpage:


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Rachael Bishop