Two Indian American scientists — Subra Suresh and Ashok Gadgil — were among 19 Americans honored by President Joe Biden for “exemplary achievements in science, technology, and innovation to strengthen our nation’s well-being.”
Biden awarded the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest scientific honor, to Suresh of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown University along with eight other scientists at a White House ceremony on Tuesday.
Gadgil of the University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest award for technological achievement, with nine others.
Suresh was awarded the science medal “for pioneering research across engineering, physical sciences, and life sciences. A transformative educator, he has advanced the study of material science and its application to other disciplines. His commitment to research and collaboration across borders has demonstrated how science can forge understanding and cooperation among people and nations,” the White House stated.
Suresh was the first Asian-born professor to lead any of the five schools at MIT. Born in Mumbai, Suresh received a BTech degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. Later, he received a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
Gadgil received the technology and innovation medal for “providing life-sustaining resources to communities around the world.. His innovative, inexpensive technologies help meet profound needs, from drinking water to fuel-efficient cookstoves. His work is inspired by a belief in the dignity of all people and in our power to solve the great challenges of our time,” the White House stated.
Born in Mumbai, Gadgil graduated in Physics from the University of Mumbai and completed his postgraduate studies at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. He earned an MSc and PhD in physics from the University of California, Berkeley.
“I’ve long said America can be defined by a single word — Possibilities,” Biden told the winners. “The fact that several of today’s honorees immigrated from other countries is proof of the assertion that everything is possible.”
“You know, there will be more technological change in the next 10 years, maybe in the next five years, than in the last 50 years,” he said. “There’s a — in large part to the minds sitting in front of us. And I want America to lead — to lead that change.”
“Because the greatness of a country is measured not only by the size of its economy or the strength of its military,” Biden said. “The strength of the nation is also measured by the boldness of its science, the quality of its research, and the progress it helps bring forth for not only the country but whole the world,” Biden said.
“These trailblazers have harnessed the power of science and technology to tackle challenging problems and deliver innovative solutions for Americans, and for communities around the world,” the White House stated.
“These medalists have made discoveries that enable lifesaving medical treatments, help fight the opioid epidemic, improve food security, advance accessibility, protect our democracy, and much more.”
“Their accomplishments advance American leadership in science, technology, and innovation, and their work inspires the next generation of American minds,” it added
Established by Congress in 1959 and administered by the US National Science Foundation, the National Medal of Science is bestowed on individuals deserving of special recognition for their outstanding contributions in biology, computer sciences, education sciences, engineering, geosciences, mathematical and physical sciences, and social, behavioral, and economic sciences, in service to the Nation.
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation recognizes American innovators whose vision, intellect, creativity, and determination have strengthened America’s economy and improved our quality of life.
Established by Congress and administered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the first Medal of Technology was presented in 1985.