Today, President Barack Obama presented 23 innovators and researchers, including Stanford developmental biologist Lucy Shapiro, PhD, with national medals for their contributions to science, technology and innovation.
As reported by my colleague, Shapiro arrived in the nation's capitol on Wednesday to attend a whirlwind of events commemorating her accomplishment. At a press conference this afternoon in the East Room at the White House, she and eleven other researchers were awarded the National Medal of Science alongside eleven inventors who received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
During the event, Obama joked that "this is the most collection of brainpower we’ve had under this roof in a long time" and lauded honorees for their hard work and commitment to their field. He said:
Thanks to the sacrifices they’ve made, the chances they’ve taken, the gallons of coffee they’ve consumed, we now have batteries that power everything from cell phones to electric cars. We have a map of the human genome and new ways to produce renewable energy. We’re learning to grow organs in the lab and better understand what’s happening in our deepest oceans. And if that’s not enough, the people on this stage are also going to be responsible for devising a formula to tame frizzy hair as well as inspiring the game Tetris.
But what also makes these individuals unique is how they’ve gotten here - the obstacles they’ve overcome and the commitments they’ve made to push the boundaries of our understanding.
Shapiro was honored for "the pioneering discovery that the bacterial cell is controlled by an integrated genetic circuit functioning in time and space that serves as a systems engineering paradigm underlying cell differentiation and ultimately the generation of diversity in all organisms."
In addition to Shapiro, Sidney Drell, PhD, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, was also named a recipient of the National Medal of Science. He received the award for his contributions "to quantum field theory and quantum chromodynamics, application of science to inform national policies in security and intelligence, and distinguished contributions as an advisor to the United States government."