Yesterday President Barak Obama presented the National Medal of Science to nine "eminent researchers" and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to four inventers, the "highest honors bestowed by the United States government on scientists, engineers, and inventors."
Three women were honored this year with the National Medal of Science.
Dr. Joanna Fowler, Senior Scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York
[. . . ] for her pioneering work in chemistry involving the synthesis of medical imaging compounds and her innovative applications of these compounds to human neuroscience, which have significantly advanced our understanding of the human brain and brain diseases, including drug addiction.
Dr. Elaine Fuchs, Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor and Investigator, HHMI at the laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development, The Rockefeller University, New York
[. . .] for her pioneering use of cell biology and molecular genetics in mice to understand the basis of inherited diseases in humans and her outstanding contributions to our understandings of the biology of skin and its disorders, including her notable investigations of adult skin stem cells, cancers, and genetic syndromes.
Dr. JoAnne Stubbe, Novartis Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
[. . . ] for her groundbreaking experiments establishing the mechanisms of ribonucleotide reductases, polyester synthases, and natural product DNA cleavers -- compelling demonstrations of the power of chemical investigations to solve problems in biology.
One woman was honored with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation:
Dr. Esther Sans Takeuchi, Greatbatch Professor of Advanced Power Sources in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
[. . . ] for her seminal development of the silver vanadium oxide battery that powers the majority of the world's lifesaving implantable cardiac defibrillators, and her innovations in other medical battery technologies that improve the health and quality of life of millions of people.
Three women National Science Winners in a single year is a record high - and historically that number has frequently been zero. While that may seem like an encouraging upward trend, if you check the stats, more women were NMoS recipients in the 1990s (15) than in the 2000s (10). Hopefully, the 2010s will see an improvement in those numbers.
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation doesn't provide a way to search recipients by gender (and some winners are actually companies), but looking through the list it appears that Esther Sans Takeuchi is the first woman to win since Stephanie Kwolek in 1996.
Watch the awards ceremony on YouTube:
(President Obama also said some good things about supporting research and math and science education in his speech.)
Tags: National Medal of Science,National Medal of Technology, Joanna Fowler, Elaine Fuchs, JoAnne Stubbe, Esther Sans Takeuchi