National Medal of Science
The National Medal of Science is an honor bestowed by the President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 to individuals in science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 and engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

 who have made important contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the fields of behavioral and social sciences, biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

, mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 and physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

. The twelve member presidential Committee on the National Medal of Science is responsible for selecting award recipients and is administered by the National Science Foundation
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health...

 (NSF). On November 17, 2010, President Barack Obama presented the award to its ten most recent recipients, which brings the total number of awardees to 461. He announced on Tuesday, September 27, 2011, the names of and the research done by seven more individuals whom he intends to award the medal to later that year, which will bring the total to 468.


The National Medal of Science was established on August 25, 1959, by an act of the Congress of the United States under Public Law 86-209. The medal was originally to honor scientists in the fields of the "physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences." The Committee on the National Medal of Science was established on August 23, 1961 by executive order 10961 of former president John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....


On January 7, 1979, the American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

 (AAAS) passed a resolution proposing that the medal be expanded to include the social and behavioral sciences. In response, Senator Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

 introduced the Science and Technology Equal Opportunities Act into the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 on March 7, 1979, expanding the medal to include these scientific disciplines as well. President Jimmy Carter's
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 signature enacted this change as Public Law 96-516 on December 12, 1980.

In 1992, the National Science Foundation signed a letter of agreement with the National Science and Technology Medals Foundation that made the National Science and Technology Medals Foundation the metaorganization over both the National Medal of Science and the very similar National Medal of Technology
National Medal of Technology
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation is an honor granted by the President of the United States to American inventors and innovators who have made significant contributions to the development of new and important technology...


The first National Medal of Science was awarded on February 18, 1963, for the year 1962 by President John F. Kennedy to Theodore von Kármán
Theodore von Karman
Theodore von Kármán was a Hungarian-American mathematician, aerospace engineer and physicist who was active primarily in the fields of aeronautics and astronautics. He is responsible for many key advances in aerodynamics, notably his work on supersonic and hypersonic airflow characterization...

 for his work at the Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. The facility is headquartered in the city of Pasadena on the border of La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena...

. The citation accompanying von Kármán's award reads:
For his leadership in the science and engineering basic to aeronautics; for his effective teaching and related contributions in many fields of mechanics, for his distinguished counsel to the Armed Services, and for his promoting international cooperation in science and engineering.

Although Public Law 86-209 provides for 20 recipients of the medal per year, it is typical for approximately 12–15 accomplished scientists and engineers to receive this distinction each year. There have been 6 years where no National Medals of Science were awarded between 1962 and 2004. Those years were: 1985, 1984, 1980, 1978, 1977, 1972 and 1971. As of September 16, 2010, there have been a total of 441 individuals recognized.

The award's ceremony is organized by the Office of Science and Technlogy Policy and takes place at the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...


Award process

Each year the National Science Foundation sends out a call to the scientific community for the nomination of new candidates for the National Medal of Science. Individuals are nominated by their peers with each nomination requiring three letters of support from individuals in science and technology. Nominations are then sent to the Committee of the National Medal of Science which is a board composed of fourteen presidential appointees comprising twelve scientists, and two ex officio members - the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy
Office of Science and Technology Policy
The Office of Science and Technology Policy is an office in the Executive Office of the President , established by Congress on May 11, 1976, with a broad mandate to advise the President on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs.The director of this office is...

 (OSTP) and the president of the National Academy of Sciences
United States National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...


According to the Committee, successful candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are applying for U.S. citizenship, who have done work of significantly outstanding merit or that has had a major impact on scientific thought in their field. The Committee also values those who promote the general advancement of science and individuals who have influenced science education, although these traits are less important than groundbreaking or thought-provoking research. The nomination of a candidate is effective for three years; at the end of three years, the candidates peers are allowed to renominate the candidate. The Committee makes their recommendations to the President for the final awarding decision.

The Medal

The National Medal of Science depicts Man, surrounded by earth, sea, and sky, contemplating and struggling to understand Nature. The crystal in his hand represents the universal order and also suggests the basic unit of living things. The formula being outlined in the sand symbolizes scientific abstraction.


Year Laureate Citation
2010 Jacqueline K. Barton "For 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. Her experiments reveal a strategy for how DNA repair proteins locate DNA lesions and demonstrate a biological role for DNA-mediated charge transfer."
2010 Ralph L. Brinster
Ralph L. Brinster
Ralph Lawrence Brinster is an American geneticist and Richard King Mellon Professor of Reproductive Physiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.- Birth and education :...

"For his fundamental contributions to the development and use of transgenic mice. His research has provided experimental foundations and inspiration for progress in germline genetic modification in a range of species, which has generated a revolution in biology, medicine, and agriculture."
2010 Shu Chien
Shu Chien
Shu Chien , is an eminent American biological scientist and engineer. Chien is current President of the Biomedical Engineering Society.-Biography:...

"For pioneering work in cardiovascular physiology and bioengineering, which has had tremendous impact in the fields of microcirculation, blood rheology and mechanotransduction in human health and disease."
2010 Rudolf Jaenisch
Rudolf Jaenisch
Rudolf Jaenisch is a biologist at MIT. He is a pioneer of transgenic science, in which an animal’s genetic makeup is altered. Jaenisch has focused on creating transgenic mice to study cancer and neurological diseases....

"For improving our understanding of epigenetic regulation of gene expression: the biological mechanisms that affect how genetic information is variably expressed. His work has led to major advances in our understanding of mammalian cloning and embryonic stem cells."
2010 Peter J. Stang
Peter J. Stang
Peter John Stang is an American chemist. He is a professor of chemistry at the University of Utah and the editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society since 2002....

"For his creative contributions to the development of organic supramolecular chemistry and for his outstanding and unique record of public service."
2010 Richard A. Tapia
Richard A. Tapia
Richard Alfred Tapia is a renowned American mathematician and champion of under-represented minorities in the sciences. In recognition of his broad contributions, in 2005, Tapia was named "University Professor" at Rice University in Houston, Texas, the University's highest academic title...

"For his pioneering and fundamental contributions in optimization theory and numerical analysis and for his dedication and sustained efforts in fostering diversity and excellence in mathematics and science education."
2010 Srinivasa S.R. Varadhan "For his work in probability theory, especially his work on large deviations from expected random behavior, which has revolutionized this field of study during the second half of the twentieth century and become a cornerstone of both pure and applied probability. The mathematical insights he developed have been applied in diverse fields including quantum field theory, population dynamics, finance, econometrics, and traffic engineering."
2009 Susan Lindquist
Susan Lindquist
Susan Lindquist is a professor of biology at MIT specializing in molecular biology, particularly the protein folding problem within a family of molecules known as heat-shock proteins, and prions...

"For her studies of protein folding, demonstrating that alternative protein conformations and aggregations can have profound and unexpected biological influences, facilitating insights in fields as wide-ranging as human disease, evolution, and biomaterials."
2008 JoAnne Stubbe
JoAnne Stubbe
JoAnne Stubbe is an American chemist. She is currently the Novartis Professor of Chemistry & Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.-Career:...

"For her ground-breaking 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."
2007 Mostafa El-Sayed
Mostafa El-Sayed
Mostafa A. El-Sayed is an Egyptian-American chemical physicist, a leading nanoscience researcher, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a US National Medal of Science laureate. He is also known for the spectroscopy rule named after him, the El-Sayed rule.- Academic career :He earned...

"For his seminal and creative contributions to our understanding of the electronic and optical properties of nano-materials and to their applications in nano-catalysis and nano-medicine, for his humanitarian efforts of exchange among countries and for his role in developing the scientific leadership of tomorrow."
2007 Leonard Kleinrock
Leonard Kleinrock
Leonard Kleinrock is an American engineer and computer scientist. A computer science professor at UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, he made several important contributions to the field of computer networking, in particular to the theoretical side of computer networking...

"For his fundamental contributions to the mathematical theory of modern data networks, and for the functional specification of packet switching, which is the foundation of Internet technology. His mentoring of generations of students has led to the commercialization of technologies that have transformed the world."
2007 Robert Lefkowitz
Robert Lefkowitz
Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D. is an American physician-scientist best known for his work with G protein-coupled receptors.-Biography:...

"For his discovery of the seven transmembrane receptors, deemed the largest, most versatile, and most therapeutically accessible receptor signaling system, and for describing the general mechanism of their regulation, influencing all fields of medical practice."
2006 Peter B. Dervan "For his fundamental research contributions at the interface of organic chemistry and biology, and for his influence in education and industrial innovation."
2005 Bradley Efron
Bradley Efron
Bradley Efron is an American statistician best known for proposing the bootstrap resampling technique, which has had a major impact in the field of statistics and virtually every area of statistical application...

""For his contributions to theoretical and applied statistics, especially the bootstrap sampling technique; for his extraordinary geometric insight into nonlinear statistical problems; and for applications in medicine, physics, and astronomy."
2005 Torsten Wiesel
Torsten Wiesel
Torsten Nils Wiesel was a Swedish co-recipient with David H. Hubel of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for their discoveries concerning information processing in the visual system; the prize was shared with Roger W...

"For providing key insights into the operation of the visual system and for the discovery of the manner in which neural connections in the brain are made during development and how they are maintained."
2004 Stephen J. Lippard
Stephen J. Lippard
Stephen J. Lippard is an American bioinorganic chemist and the Arthur Amos Noyes Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.-Career:...

"For pioneering research in bioinorganic chemistry, which enriched our understanding of how metal compounds interact with DNA, provided important synthetic models for the active sites of metalloproteins, and elucidated key structural and mechanistic features of methane monooxygenase."
2003 G. Brent Dalrymple "For his pioneering work in determining the geomagnetic polarity reversal timescale; a discovery that led to the theory of plate tectonics."
2002 Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao "For his theoretical work which solely help to lay the foundation of modern statistics."
2002 Edward Witten
Edward Witten
Edward Witten is an American theoretical physicist with a focus on mathematical physics who is currently a professor of Mathematical Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study....

"For his leadership in a broad range of topics in mathematics and theoretical physics, including attempts to understand the fundamental forces of nature through string theory, and his inspired use of insights from physics to unify apparently disparate areas of mathematics."
1998 William Julius Wilson
William Julius Wilson
William Julius Wilson is an American sociologist. He worked at the University of Chicago 1972-1996 before moving to Harvard....

"For his innovative approach to studying urban poverty, his dedication to the proposition that rigorous social science change will improve his fellow American's lives, and his advocacy of policies which reflect more accurately what we have learned from research and which therefore take a broader point of view with respect to the interactions of race, class, and location."
1997 James D. Watson
James D. Watson
James Dewey Watson is an American molecular biologist, geneticist, and zoologist, best known as one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA in 1953 with Francis Crick...

"For five decades of scientific and intellectual leadership in molecular biology, ranging from his co-discovery of the double helical structure of DNA to the launching of the Human Genome Project
Human Genome Project
The Human Genome Project is an international scientific research project with a primary goal of determining the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up DNA, and of identifying and mapping the approximately 20,000–25,000 genes of the human genome from both a physical and functional...

1994 Robert K. Merton
Robert K. Merton
Robert King Merton was a distinguished American sociologist. He spent most of his career teaching at Columbia University, where he attained the rank of University Professor...

"For founding the sociology of science and for his pioneering contributions to the study of social life, especially the self-fulfilling prophecy and the unintended consequences of social action."
1991 G. Evelyn Hutchinson
G. Evelyn Hutchinson
George Evelyn Hutchinson FRS was an Anglo-American zoologist known for his studies of freshwater lakes and considered the father of American limnology....

1990 Stephen Cole Kleene
Stephen Cole Kleene
Stephen Cole Kleene was an American mathematician who helped lay the foundations for theoretical computer science...

"For his leadership in the theory of recursion and effective computability and for developing it into a deep and broad field of mathematical research."
1990 Leonid Hurwicz
Leonid Hurwicz
Leonid "Leo" Hurwicz was a Russian-born American economist and mathematician. His nationality of origin was Polish. He was Jewish. He originated incentive compatibility and mechanism design, which show how desired outcomes are achieved in economics, social science and political science...

"For his pioneering work on the theory of modern decentralized allocation mechanisms."
1990 Herbert Boyer
Herbert Boyer
Herbert W. Boyer is a recipient of the 1990 National Medal of Science, co-recipient of the 1996 Lemelson-MIT Prize, and a co-founder of Genentech. He served as Vice President of Genentech from 1976 through his retirement in 1991....

"For his contributions to the basic research of the development of recombinant DNA technology. This seminal breakthrough has opened new vistas in experimental biology, and it has led directly to the development of the biotechnology industry."
1989 Samuel Karlin
Samuel Karlin
Samuel Karlin was an American mathematician at Stanford University in the late 20th century.Karlin was born in Yanova, Poland and immigrated to Chicago as a child...

"For his broad and remarkable researches in mathematical analysis
Mathematical analysis
Mathematical analysis, which mathematicians refer to simply as analysis, has its beginnings in the rigorous formulation of infinitesimal calculus. It is a branch of pure mathematics that includes the theories of differentiation, integration and measure, limits, infinite series, and analytic functions...

, probability theory
Probability theory
Probability theory is the branch of mathematics concerned with analysis of random phenomena. The central objects of probability theory are random variables, stochastic processes, and events: mathematical abstractions of non-deterministic events or measured quantities that may either be single...

 and mathematical statistics
Mathematical statistics
Mathematical statistics is the study of statistics from a mathematical standpoint, using probability theory as well as other branches of mathematics such as linear algebra and analysis...

, and in the application of these ideas to mathematical economics
Mathematical economics
Mathematical economics is the application of mathematical methods to represent economic theories and analyze problems posed in economics. It allows formulation and derivation of key relationships in a theory with clarity, generality, rigor, and simplicity...

, mechanics
Mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the behavior of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements, and the subsequent effects of the bodies on their environment....

, and population genetics
Population genetics
Population genetics is the study of allele frequency distribution and change under the influence of the four main evolutionary processes: natural selection, genetic drift, mutation and gene flow. It also takes into account the factors of recombination, population subdivision and population...

1988 Stanley Norman Cohen
Stanley Norman Cohen
Stanley Norman Cohen is an American geneticist.Cohen is a graduate of Rutgers University, and received his doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1960...

"For his discovery of methods for propagating and expressing the hereditary information of DNA introduced into living cells, thereby enabling the cloning
Cloning in biology is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments , cells , or...

 of individual genes and the study of their structure and function."
1988 George W Housner "For his profound and decisive influence on the development of earthquake engineering
Earthquake engineering
Earthquake engineering is the scientific field concerned with protecting society, the natural and the man-made environment from earthquakes by limiting the seismic risk to socio-economically acceptable levels...

1987 James Van Allen
James Van Allen
James Alfred Van Allen was an American space scientist at the University of Iowa.The Van Allen radiation belts were named after him, following the 1958 satellite missions in which Van Allen had argued that a Geiger counter should be used to detect charged particles.- Life and career :* September...

"For his central role in the exploration of outer space
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

, including the discoveries of the magnetosphere
A magnetosphere is formed when a stream of charged particles, such as the solar wind, interacts with and is deflected by the intrinsic magnetic field of a planet or similar body. Earth is surrounded by a magnetosphere, as are the other planets with intrinsic magnetic fields: Mercury, Jupiter,...

s of Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

, Jupiter
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet within the Solar System. It is a gas giant with mass one-thousandth that of the Sun but is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets in our Solar System combined. Jupiter is classified as a gas giant along with Saturn,...

, and Saturn
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Saturn is named after the Roman god Saturn, equated to the Greek Cronus , the Babylonian Ninurta and the Hindu Shani. Saturn's astronomical symbol represents the Roman god's sickle.Saturn,...

1987 Robert B. Bird
Robert Byron Bird
Robert Byron Bird is a Chemical Engineer and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is known for his research in Transport phenomena of Non-Newtonian fluids, including fluid dynamics of polymers, polymer kinetic theory, and rheology....

"For his profoundly influential books and research on kinetic theory
Kinetic theory
The kinetic theory of gases describes a gas as a large number of small particles , all of which are in constant, random motion. The rapidly moving particles constantly collide with each other and with the walls of the container...

, transport phenomena
Transport Phenomena
Transport Phenomena is the first textbook that is about transport phenomena. It is specifically designed for chemical engineering students...

, the behavior of polymeric fluids, and foreign language study for engineers and scientists."
1986 Chen-Ning Yang "For his pathbreaking research in theoretical physics
Theoretical physics
Theoretical physics is a branch of physics which employs mathematical models and abstractions of physics to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena...

, which he has influenced for many years by his profound questions and deep mathematical insight. His ideas have had great impact not only on theoretical developments but also on experiments in elementary particles and condensed matter
Condensed Matter
Condensed matter may refer to several things*Condensed matter physics, the study of the physical properties of condensed phases of matter*European Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, a scientific journal published by EDP sciences...

1986 Stanley Cohen
Stanley Cohen
Stan Cohen may refer to:* Stanley Cohen , American Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology and Medicine* Stan Cohen , British Labour politician...

"For his pioneering discovery and characterization of hormone-like growth factors which specifically control the multiplication of certain cells during growth and development."
1982 Edward Teller
Edward Teller
Edward Teller was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist, known colloquially as "the father of the hydrogen bomb," even though he did not care for the title. Teller made numerous contributions to nuclear and molecular physics, spectroscopy , and surface physics...

"For his outstanding contribution to molecular physics, understanding the origin of stellar energy, the theory and application of fusion reaction, the field of nuclear safety, and for his continued leadership in science and technology."
1982 Gilbert Stork
Gilbert Stork
Gilbert Stork is a U.S. organic chemist. He is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at Columbia University. The Stork enamine synthesis is named in his honor.-Education:...

"For his contributions as one of the world's most innovative and productive organic synthetic chemists who has discovered a variety of important synthetic reactions which have made possible the synthesis of some of the most complicated and important biologically active compounds."
1981 Philip Handler
Philip Handler
Philip Handler was an American nutritionist, and biochemist. He was President of the United States National Academy of Sciences for two terms from 1969 to 1981. He was also a recipient of the National Medal of Science....

""For his outstanding contribution to biochemical research, resulting in significant contributions to mankind, including research which led to a clearer understanding of pellagra"
1979 Richard P. Feynman "In recognition of his essential contributions to the quantum theory of radiation and to his illumination of behavior of constituents of the atom, of the atomic nucleus, and of the subnuclear particles."
1979 Severo Ochoa
Severo Ochoa
Severo Ochoa de Albornoz was a Spanish-American doctor and biochemist, and joint winner of the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Arthur Kornberg.-Early life:...

"Ochoa continued research on protein synthesis and replication of RNA viruses until 1985, when he returned to Spain and gave advice to Spanish science policy authorities and scientists."
1976 Edward O. Wilson "For his pioneering work on the organization of insect societies and the evolution of social behavior among insects and other animals."
1975 Wernher von Braun
Wernher von Braun
Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun was a German rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and in the United States after that.A former member of the Nazi party,...

"For his work in making the liquid-fuel rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

 a practical launch vehicle and for individual contributions to a series of advanced space vehicles, culminating in the Saturn
Saturn (rocket family)
The Saturn family of American rocket boosters was developed by a team of mostly German rocket scientists led by Wernher von Braun to launch heavy payloads to Earth orbit and beyond. Originally proposed as a military satellite launcher, they were adopted as the launch vehicles for the Apollo moon...

 series that made the Apollo program possible."*
1974 Kurt Gödel
Kurt Gödel
Kurt Friedrich Gödel was an Austrian logician, mathematician and philosopher. Later in his life he emigrated to the United States to escape the effects of World War II. One of the most significant logicians of all time, Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the...

"For laying the foundation for today's flourishing study of mathematical logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

1974 Linus Pauling
Linus Pauling
Linus Carl Pauling was an American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author, and educator. He was one of the most influential chemists in history and ranks among the most important scientists of the 20th century...

"For the extraordinary scope and power of his imagination, which has led to basic contributions in such diverse fields as structural chemistry and the nature of chemical bonding, molecular biology
Molecular biology
Molecular biology is the branch of biology that deals with the molecular basis of biological activity. This field overlaps with other areas of biology and chemistry, particularly genetics and biochemistry...

, immunology
Immunology is a broad branch of biomedical science that covers the study of all aspects of the immune system in all organisms. It deals with the physiological functioning of the immune system in states of both health and diseases; malfunctions of the immune system in immunological disorders ; the...

, and the nature of genetic diseases
Genetic disorder
A genetic disorder is an illness caused by abnormalities in genes or chromosomes, especially a condition that is present from before birth. Most genetic disorders are quite rare and affect one person in every several thousands or millions....

1973 Carl Djerassi
Carl Djerassi
Carl Djerassi is an Austrian-American chemist, novelist, and playwright best known for his contribution to the development of the first oral contraceptive pill . Djerassi is emeritus professor of chemistry at Stanford University.He participated in the invention in 1951, together with Mexican Luis E...

"In recognition of his major contributions to the elucidation of the complex chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

 of the steroid
A steroid is a type of organic compound that contains a characteristic arrangement of four cycloalkane rings that are joined to each other. Examples of steroids include the dietary fat cholesterol, the sex hormones estradiol and testosterone, and the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone.The core...

 hormones and to the application of these compounds to medicinal chemistry
Medicinal chemistry
Medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry are disciplines at the intersection of chemistry, especially synthetic organic chemistry, and pharmacology and various other biological specialties, where it is involved with design, chemical synthesis and development for market of pharmaceutical...

 and population control
Population control
Human population control is the practice of artificially altering the rate of growth of a human population.Historically, human population control has been implemented by limiting the population's birth rate, usually by government mandate, and has been undertaken as a response to factors including...

 by means of oral contraceptives."
1973 Earl Sutherland "For the discovery that epinephrine
Epinephrine is a hormone and a neurotransmitter. It increases heart rate, constricts blood vessels, dilates air passages and participates in the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system. In chemical terms, adrenaline is one of a group of monoamines called the catecholamines...

 and hormones of the pituitary gland
Pituitary gland
In vertebrate anatomy the pituitary gland, or hypophysis, is an endocrine gland about the size of a pea and weighing 0.5 g , in humans. It is a protrusion off the bottom of the hypothalamus at the base of the brain, and rests in a small, bony cavity covered by a dural fold...

 occasion their diverse regulatory effects by initiating cellular
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

 synthesis of cyclic adenylic acid, now recognized as a universal biological
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 second messenger, which opened a new level of understanding of the subtle mechanisms that integrate the chemical life of the cell
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

 while offering hope of entirely new approaches to chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with an antineoplastic drug or with a combination of such drugs into a standardized treatment regimen....

1970 Barbara McClintock
Barbara McClintock
Barbara McClintock , the 1983 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, was an American scientist and one of the world's most distinguished cytogeneticists. McClintock received her PhD in botany from Cornell University in 1927, where she was a leader in the development of maize cytogenetics...

"For establishing the relations between inherited characters in plants and the detailed shapes of their chromosomes, and for showing that some genes are controlled by other genes within chromosomes."
1970 John Archibald Wheeler
John Archibald Wheeler
John Archibald Wheeler was an American theoretical physicist who was largely responsible for reviving interest in general relativity in the United States after World War II. Wheeler also worked with Niels Bohr in explaining the basic principles behind nuclear fission...

"For his basic contributions to our understanding of the nuclei of atoms, exemplified by his theory of nuclear fission
Nuclear fission
In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts , often producing free neutrons and photons , and releasing a tremendous amount of energy...

, and his own work and stimulus to others on basic questions of gravitational and electromagnetic
Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation...

1969 Ernst Mayr
Ernst Mayr
Ernst Walter Mayr was one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists. He was also a renowned taxonomist, tropical explorer, ornithologist, historian of science, and naturalist...

"For notable contributions to systematics
Biological systematics is the study of the diversification of terrestrial life, both past and present, and the relationships among living things through time. Relationships are visualized as evolutionary trees...

, biogeography
Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species , organisms, and ecosystems in space and through geological time. Organisms and biological communities vary in a highly regular fashion along geographic gradients of latitude, elevation, isolation and habitat area...

, and the study of birds, and especially for great work on the evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 of animal populations."
1969 B.F. Skinner "For basic and imaginative contributions to the study of behavior
Behavior or behaviour refers to the actions and mannerisms made by organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with its environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the physical environment...

 which have had profound influence upon all of psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 and many related areas."
1967 Paul J. Cohen "For epoch-making results in mathematical logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

 which have enlivened and broadened investigations in the foundation of mathematics."
1966 Claude Shannon "For brilliant contributions to the mathematical theories of communications and information processing
Information theory
Information theory is a branch of applied mathematics and electrical engineering involving the quantification of information. Information theory was developed by Claude E. Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and...

 and for his early and continuing impact on the development of these disciplines."
1964 Harold Urey
Harold Urey
Harold Clayton Urey was an American physical chemist whose pioneering work on isotopes earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1934...

"For outstanding contributions to our understanding of the origin and evolution of the solar system
Solar System
The Solar System consists of the Sun and the astronomical objects gravitationally bound in orbit around it, all of which formed from the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The vast majority of the system's mass is in the Sun...

 and the origin of life on Earth and for pioneering work in the application of isotopes to the determination of the temperatures of ancient oceans."
1963 Vannevar Bush
Vannevar Bush
Vannevar Bush was an American engineer and science administrator known for his work on analog computing, his political role in the development of the atomic bomb as a primary organizer of the Manhattan Project, the founding of Raytheon, and the idea of the memex, an adjustable microfilm viewer...

"For his distinguished achievements in electrical engineering, in the technology of computing machines, in the effective coupling of the physical and life sciences; and in his mobilizing science, engineering and education in enduring ways in the service of the Nation."
1963 Norbert Wiener
Norbert Wiener
Norbert Wiener was an American mathematician.A famous child prodigy, Wiener later became an early researcher in stochastic and noise processes, contributing work relevant to electronic engineering, electronic communication, and control systems.Wiener is regarded as the originator of cybernetics, a...

"For his marvellously versatile contributions, profoundly original, ranging within pure and applied mathematics, and penetrating boldly into the engineering and biological sciences."

See also

  • National Medal of Arts
    National Medal of Arts
    The National Medal of Arts is an award and title created by the United States Congress in 1984, for the purpose of honoring artists and patrons of the arts. It is the highest honor conferred to an individual artist on behalf of the people. Honorees are selected by the National Endowment for the...

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • List of National Medal of Science laureates
  • Searchable Database of ALL National Medal of Science Recipients

External links

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