Entries in Scientists (2)


Obama Honors Nation’s Top Researches and Inventors

President Barack Obama presents the 2010 National Medals of Science, Technology and Innovation during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Oct. 21, 2011. National Medal of Science recipient Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch, Cambridge, Mass. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy) (WASHINGTON) -- President Obama lauded the 12 recipients of the nation’s highest honor for achievement in science, technology and innovation Friday, joking that they should all make us feel embarrassed about our old science projects.

“You know, the volcano with the stuff coming out with the baking soda inside. Apparently, that was not a cutting-edge achievement even though our parents told us it was really terrific,” Obama said at a White House ceremony honoring the seven researchers receiving the National Medal of Science and the five inventors receiving the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

“Thanks to the men and women on the stage, we are one step closer to curing diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s. Because of their work, soldiers can see the enemy at night and grandparents can see the pictures of their grandchildren instantly and constantly. Planes are safer, satellites are cheaper, and our energy grid is more efficient, thanks to the breakthroughs that they have made,” he said on a more serious note.

The awards recognize a range of work including the discovery of a new property of the DNA helix, improvements in energy efficiency, and pioneering developments in cardiovascular physiology.

While three-quarters of the honorees were born in foreign countries, Obama said they came to the U.S. “because America is the best place in the world to do the work that they do.

“America has always been a place where good ideas can thrive and dreams can become real -- where innovation is encouraged and the greatest minds in the world are free to push the very limits of science and technology,” Obama said.

The president also noted it was “troubling” that only one in 10 of all U.S. undergraduate students are studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics “because no matter how many great minds we attract from around the world, it won’t be enough if we can’t grow some here at home."

“The key to our success has always been and always will be our unparalleled ability to think up new ideas, create new industries, and lead the way in discovery and innovation. And that’s how the future will be won,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Scientists Rail Against Senator Who Belittled Research

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DURHAM, N.H.) -- A team of scientists who study pollution's role in global warming are outraged at a GOP Senator who they say has maligned their work as wasteful and petty by describing it as a study of "cow burps."

"This was not funded with earmarks and it was not a study about cow burps," said John Aber, an environmental scientist and provost of the University of New Hampshire.  "It's not wasteful," he said. "It's important."

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., released on Monday his annual "Wastebook" report, a look at 100 projects that received federal funding which he says contributed to record deficits in the past year.

Among those projects was a $700,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture to a team of environmental scientists at the University of New Hampshire to study greenhouse gas emissions -- the chemicals associated with global warming -- in the dairy industry.

Coburn's "Wastebook" quotes one of the project's researchers telling a local New Hampshire paper that "cows emit most of their methane through belching, only a small fraction from flatulence."

Scientists at the University of New Hampshire say Coburn has cherry picked quotes and taken things out of context in an effort to undermine their research. They say the project's findings will not only help the environment, but also farmers and businesses involved in the dairy industry.

"This is a caricature of the research based on a few words or phrases for political gain," Aber said. "It was competitive. Much of the research was about how nitrogen in particular, affects ground water."

Furthermore, Aber said, the project was commissioned by the Department of Agriculture and was competitively bid on by different universities.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio