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Science and Technology Medals Awarded 147

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the tack-it-on dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Boston Globe is reporting that President Bush awarded science and technology achievement medals today to 15 laureates. The list of medal winners includes those who have done work that has 'revolutionized organ transplants, led to development of global positioning systems, and helped feed millions around the world.' "
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Science and Technology Medals Awarded

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  • Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by laughingcoyote (762272) * <barghesthowl@exc ... m minus caffeine> on Monday February 13, 2006 @11:31PM (#14713419) Journal

    And since he's so up on the "spirit of discovery" being a part of American culture, he surely wouldn't cut funds for schools...

    • Re:Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Monday February 13, 2006 @11:42PM (#14713474) Homepage Journal
      I believe the phrase is "keeping up appearances."
      • Re:Great! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by flyingsquid (813711)
        I believe the phrase is "keeping up appearances."

        No shit. This is not an administration that has been kind to science. Last year they cut the National Science Foundation's budget (the NSF is a major soource of grant awards for facilities, researchers, postdocs, and graduate students in all areas of science). This year they increased it by 2.4%. On the surface that sounds great, but actually that's less than the rate of inflation- so it's effectively a cut, just not as large a cut. As the saying goes, wat

    • Re:Great! (Score:5, Informative)

      by slightlyspacey (799665) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @12:27AM (#14713667)
      Hmmm, do you have any data to support your assertion that President Bush is indeed cutting school funding?

      According to the Budget of the United States Government: Historical Tables Fiscal Year 2007 -- Section 4 -- Federal Government Outlays by Agency [gpoaccess.gov] that is simply not the case. Spending for the Department of Education is much higher and increased much more sharply under Bush than his predecessor (2006 EST $83 Billion versus 2000 $33 Billion). There is a sharp dropoff at 2007 to EST $64 Billion but this is still above 2004 levels -- perhaps this is the cut that you are talking about?

      These sorts of accusations are of course nothing new [factcheck.org]. I would like to make a bold proposal that Slashdot posters actually take the time to read the articles, fact-check, and follow up with relevant posts.


      • Amen. You said this very well. People need to stop generalizing and throw out statements out there, rumors breed lies and lies create turmoil and unrest.
      • Well, the problems with the budget are embedded in which programs are being cut and which are being promoted. If we weren't funding an enormous war due to (being generous) "poor planning," and if we had a tax policy that didn't believe allowing people with 100's of millions of dollars to retain a bit more was a good way to increase economic activity, we'd have significantly more funding to invest domestically in things like education.

        http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/showStory.cfm?Arti cleID=6101 [eschoolnews.com]

        "Overall

    • *golf clap*
    • Re:Great! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RexRhino (769423)
      If he cut funds for schools (which he didn't do), would that mean that we would start doing as well as the countries that spend 1/3 or 1/4 as much per capita on schools, and still kick Americas ass in Math and Science?

      I mean, the U.S. is doing a pretty crappy job compared to other countries... and we spend more per capita than nearly all other industrialized nations - both in dollars and percentage of GDP.
      • If schools put as much focus on education as they did on sports, maybe all those other countries *wouldn't* be kicking America's ass. You know, I did hear once that schools were supposed to educate people, rather than just being a training ground for jocks. You wouldn't know it to look, though - sports teams get new shiny gear while classrooms are falling apart.

        Grab.
        • You wouldn't know it to look, though - sports teams get new shiny gear while classrooms are falling apart.

          That's overly simplistic. Sports teams also GENERATE revenue. If only 200 people show up to your local high school football game and spend 5$ to get in and 2$ each at the concession stand, you have already made $1400 minus food costs. I'd say that the numbers listed are pretty conservative estimates (at least when I went to high school at a relatively small high school), and considering most high
          • Moreover, a lot of money is raised for sports from booster clubs or other fundraising events. It might be sad that the sports program thrives while the music department languishes, but people spend and donate their money how they see fit...
          • Believe me, if a school spent the same amount on the music department as is spent on sports, they'd for sure get all that money back from gigs. And the music would achieve a damn sight more for society than sports ever could.
        • Actually, if schools put more emphasis on teaching facts instead of making students "feel good" about themselves, and worrying about offending people (and thus abridging history books, or emphasizing minor matters over more important matters), then maybe we could come back into the fold. If we taught our kids that they are responsible for themselves, and winning IS important in life, then maybe our test scores would improve. It's true, though - the private school I'm trying to send my children to costs ar
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Monday February 13, 2006 @11:31PM (#14713421) Homepage Journal
    ... to get some recognition for my ungodly half-man-half-ape mutant creation, the prototype of the human-animal hybrid super-army which will set me on the road to world conquest. But Bush pretty much put the kibosh on that a little while back.

    Damn you, inconveniently timed State of the Union address! DAMN YOU!







    Ah, well, no matter. I shall simply toil in obscurity a little while longer -- and then when the day comes, let the planet tremble at my name! You laughed at me! You called me mad! I'll show you! I'LL SHOW YOU ALL!

  • So what exactly do the winners of these awards get besides some face time and a piece of shiny metal?
  • vague.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by caffeinemessiah (918089) on Monday February 13, 2006 @11:36PM (#14713446) Journal
    From the article: Dennis P. Sullivan, City University of New York Graduate Center and State University of New York at Stony Brook, for his work in mathematics, including the creation of entirely new fields of mathematics, and uncovering unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields.

    Seems that they're REALLY filtering the science news for the masses these days...

    • But from the not so vague department...

      Norman E. Borlaug, Texas A&M University; College Station, Texas, for breeding semi-dwarf, disease-resistant high-yield wheat and instructing farmers in its cultivation to help ease starvation.

      Whoop! Gig 'em ag. And congrats! By the way, I'm still waiting for the purple carrot to hit my local HEB grocer. That would definitely curb my appetite. Or maybe not. I bet 2 tablespoons of melted butter lavished atop my purple carrot with a sauerkraut side and a kolb

    • by strider44 (650833) on Monday February 13, 2006 @11:59PM (#14713549)
      They had to find *some* way of explaining it to George Bush.
    • Hey, I go there.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by dhasenan (758719) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @12:03AM (#14713568)
      And the math department's decent, surprisingly. Good in geometry; for instance, Stony Brook is responsible for FIST (Fast Industrial Strength Triangulation), which was commissioned by Sun for the standard Java library. (Triangulation is basically separating a polygon into a set of triangles.)

      In case you were wondering, here's Dr. Sullivan's website: http://www.math.sunysb.edu/~dennis/ [sunysb.edu]
    • Re:vague.... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Coryoth (254751) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @01:24AM (#14713842) Homepage Journal
      Seems that they're REALLY filtering the science news for the masses these days...

      The quote you cite is actually pretty much straight from the NSF announcement [nsf.gov] of the awards, so the dumbing down happened at that level, not from the newspaper. I had a quick skim through his recently published papers (as in titles and MathSciNet reviews) and while he is obviously doing some interesting work, apparently mostly in algebraic and differential topology, I couldn't easily discern what new fields he's created, nor what unexpected connections he's made - so it indeed would have been nice if the summary had included just a little more information clarifying that. I'm honestly curious now - can anyone provide a quick overview of his more important contributions?

      Jedidiah.
  • ...were these hand-picked by Bush himself or suggested to him by an advisor?
    • Re:So... (Score:3, Funny)

      by TubeSteak (669689)
      ...were these hand-picked by Bush himself or suggested to him by an advisor?
      Hand picked obviously. I also have no doubt that he read their published papers too.

      Bush isn't the intellectual featherweight people seem to think he is and his writings show it. He had a good run as President from '89-'93.

      Oh wait... You mean Bush Jr?
  • Know Thy Enemy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday February 13, 2006 @11:43PM (#14713477) Homepage Journal
    He handed a medal to Kenneth J. Arrow, Nobel prize winner for "general economic equilibrium theory and welfare theory", and to Robert N. Clayton for his chemical analyses describing solar system evolution. Economic equilibrium, welfare and evolution - none of which Bush seems interested in the rest of the year.

    Maybe he thinks he's at the Olympics, and these medalists need his help to get corporate sponsors for some advertising dollars to, you know, kind of catapult the propaganda.
  • by geoswan (316494) on Monday February 13, 2006 @11:45PM (#14713487) Journal
    What a joke. He appointed that militant fundamentalist to censor NASA. The kid was a dropout, who had never had a full-time job, and whose only qualification was that he had served on Bush's 2004 electoral campaign.

    Before he awards any Science awards he should fire all the ignorant political appointees he placed to oversee real scientists. He should fire anybody who is as incompetent and unqualified as "You are doing a heck of a job Brownie."

    • You must be new to the politicial scene. If you'd be paying the slightest bit of attention you'd see that lower level positions are routinely given to lower level underlings in almost every administration. This goes for Clinton, Carter, Kennedy (brother for Attorney General anyone), and all the Republicans of the 20th century. What you should realize is that little political games (the Reno Justice department refusing to enforce laws it didn't like for example) are played all the time irrespective of who is
      • I am not "new to the political scene". I just haven't abandoned my principles. You cite three Democratic Presidents to show everybody did this. JFK appointing RFK is the worst example you can come up with? Well here is how RFK differs from the bigoted militant Christian fundamentalist kid.

        * RFK was not a dropout.

        * RFK had fulltime employment prior to taking a high level government appointment.

        * RFK did not lie on his resume.

        * RFK was a lawyer -- did have expertise in his department, the Departmen

    • by Hosiah (849792)
      What a joke. He appointed that militant fundamentalist to censor NASA. The kid was a dropout, who had never had a full-time job, and whose only qualification was that he had served on Bush's 2004 electoral campaign.

      Before he awards any Science awards he should fire all the ignorant political appointees he placed to oversee real scientists. He should fire anybody who is as incompetent and unqualified as "You are doing a heck of a job Brownie."

      Troll my ass, this is a very valid point posted above, as well

  • by fortinbras47 (457756) on Monday February 13, 2006 @11:48PM (#14713502)
    ...but it would be nice to see comments on the actual science and prize winners as opposed to ten million uninformative, reflexive Bush bashing posts.

    I'd like to know more about the science. I don't really if an individual poster likes or dislikes Bush.

    • by PornMaster (749461) on Monday February 13, 2006 @11:55PM (#14713534) Homepage
      While I'm not a fan of discounting everything the man does, you have to admit that for him to present science awards is a bit like Microsoft handing out awards for open source development.

      This isn't meant to debate the principles, or even take away from the work of those given the awards, but it's rather plain to see that the President has made himself worthy of ridicule when it comes to science.

      Even if it's only symbolic, I'd rather see such things presented as national awards by noted scientists, perhaps with an appearance or a note from W congratulating the winners.
      • While I'm not a fan of discounting everything the man does, you have to admit that for him to present science awards is a bit like Microsoft handing out awards for open source development.

        No, it's not. Like it or not, as the President, he is the representative of the United States in these kinds of matters. The duty falls to him personally but to the office.


        • Nobody is questioning whether it's his offices's duty to present these awards. We are only reflecting on the irony of George W. Bush, a man seemingly bent on setting science back decades, presenting science awards. To make another analogy, it is like Philip Morris presenting fitness awards.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Yes it's entirely coincidental that this opportunity to do that duty comes along when the president desperately needs something to improve his image among the "fact-based community". Kinda like that shoe-bomber plot against LA that was stopped in 2001 which we only hear about after the NSA warrantless domestic spy program comes to light.

          Such awards are about manipulating perceptions, but in the past, they seemed to be calling attention to achievements of lasting value, which we would have applauded on o
      • You've hinted at an issue that is very significant and rather scary in the United States.

        There are large groups of people in the US who despise the very science and scientists that make their quality of life as good as it is.

        Everything from postnatal care to cable TV is the product of science and directly improves the life of almost every single citizen of the United States. Yet there is a definite atmosphere of anti science and anti engineering while at the same time all our pollution and energy problems
        • Everything from postnatal care to cable TV is the product of science and directly improves the life of almost every single citizen of the United States.



          Why such weak examples ? Say "automobiles and refrigerators", and it suddenly becomes crystal clear that science doesn't just improve the life of most citizens, its products are pretty much a necessity.

        • While I don't approve of the anti-science attitude, I think I can put a spin on it which makes it more understandable.

          Science was supposed to make life better. By making things more efficient, it was supposed to make our biggest problem what to do with all of our leasure time. It was supposed to bring an era of plenty for all, and end poverty.

          I know, sounds Pollyanna-ish.
          But you know, thinking harder about it, I believe all of the Pollyanna stuff I just spouted is possible, and with today's technology. The
        • You've hinted at an issue that is very significant and rather scary in the United States.

          There are large groups of people in the US who despise the very science and scientists that make their quality of life as good as it is.

          I disagree. I think the number of people who actually despise science and scientists are a lot fewer than you think.

          This anti science attitude is not just completely a product of the right wing either. Plenty of moderates or even "left wingers" see science as something boring wh

        • A lot of it can be seen with the 'truthiness' bit Colbert did.

          It seems like there's been a disillusionment with science that creeped into American society sometime between the space race and the end of the cold war.

          Maybe it was due to all of the things that were commonplace but harmful -- like asbestos. "They told us it was safe." Add in some litigation as a definite reason to assess and avoid blame, and some large conspiracies came about. Who could be trusted? Every few years, the conventional wisdom o
    • I agree. I don't have a lot of interest in politics although they affect my job quite a bit as far as requesting funds go. But I did read the article and noticed no attention paid to one of the most important research areas directly affecting our future health and well-being today. Stem cell research. Many crucial advances were made during the past year regarding embryonic stem cell research, and the horizon continues to grow brighter and more exciting as the data flows in. I know this may be a hot politica
    • I'd like to know more about the science. I don't really if an individual poster likes or dislikes Bush.

      Sorry, unless this is your first visit to /., what the hell did you expect? A solid record for ignoring, delaying, banning and otherwise disrespecting science, on top of the dangerous idiocy of his foreign policies, makes for a lot of anger when this dickhead's mentioned.

      You want to read about the awards and the science? Try to RTFA and maybe hit a science site - or maybe the one that is connected to th [nationalmedals.org]

  • Blasphemy! (Score:4, Funny)

    by garrett714 (841216) on Monday February 13, 2006 @11:49PM (#14713505)
    From TFA: "--Robert N. Clayton, The University of Chicago, for his contributions to geochemistry and cosmochemistry that provided insight into the evolution of the solar system."

    Blasphemy! God created the heavens in six days, it was intelligently designed (TM) from the start! Blasphemy!
    • Why did this get modded flamebait? I wasn't trying to start a flame war. I was simply presenting the very same view that many people in this country believe. Many people believe that the heavens and everything were created by God in six days; many people don't believe in evolution, they choose to believe in intelligent design. While my take on the whole matter was an attempt at dry humor, I hardly think it should have been modded flamebait. Either we have Gov't trolls modding on /. or something is seri
  • by maggard (5579)
    So were all of the big words in his cue cards spelled out phonetically?

    How many did still get wrong?

    • Bush (and 90% of the rest of the American population) doesn't know how to speak or read phonetics you insensitive clod.

      The other 10% read Slashdot ;-)
      • To be fair, he did say "phonics" in the title, not IPA...

        Something like "Weed laik too preezent the aword foa jenettikally enjeneeyad myuutant weet to..."
  • "The spirit of discovery is one of our national strengths," Bush said before handing out the 2004 National Medals of Science and Technology in the White House's East Room.
    Did they forget or something?
  • by This is outrageous! (745631) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @12:02AM (#14713566)
    ... the 2004 medals of science [nsf.gov]. Why do the 2004 medals get announced by the President in November 2005, and presented in 2006? Is this a tradition, or a reflection of current priorities...?
  • Quite frankly, it's almost inappropriate. Almost insulting. Can you imagine standing up there, recieving a medal from a man you are quite sure is almost religious (ha... ha!) in his dismissal and disrespect for science and technology? From a president that has cut funding for the very same science and education that he is now rewarding? I think that an empty, hollow, false recognition is hardly better than no recognition at all. I can only hope that the very same group he is making nice to now will remember
  • Golden Aren'tcha? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nethead (1563) <joe@nethead.com> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @12:11AM (#14713597) Homepage Journal
    "...helped feed millions around the world."

    So Ray Kroc got one?

  • by Sundroid (777083) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @12:16AM (#14713614) Homepage
    Glad to hear that Industrial Light and Magic, a movie special effects company founded by George Lucas, is one of the recipients of this award. Obviously this piece of news was drowned out by the sound of one certain shotgun blast in Texas.

    A trivia about ILM -- John Lasseter (director of Toy Story) worked for ILM in the early 1980s as a computer animator. The computer graphics department, now known as Pixar, was eventually sold to Steve Jobs, which went on to create the first CG animated feature with Toy Story. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Light_and_ Magic [wikipedia.org])
  • No climatologists? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Agelmar (205181) * on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @12:19AM (#14713632)
    Am I the only one who finds it odd that there are no climatologists on the list? There has been a lot of research in the area lately, with many significant results. Or perhaps that's the problem...
  • Good (Score:5, Funny)

    by tsotha (720379) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @12:26AM (#14713660)
    I hope these medals were presented on the basis of some sort of reasonable criteria. Hopefully these awards will be what the Nobel prizes used to be before they became a political joke.
    • Re:Good (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Norman Bourlag won the Nobel Peace Prize [nobelprize.org] in 1970 for fathering the "Green Revolution". Some estimate that his work may have saved over a billion lives [globalenvision.org].
    • +1, Funny
    • Re:Good (Score:3, Interesting)

      ... Nobel prizes used to be before they became a political joke

      What's your basis for this claim?
      • Jimmy Carter, etc. etc.

        Carter, for instance, got an award for the negotigations with North Korea and almost immediately afterwards they pushed strongly forward on their Nuclear Weapons development, reneging on those negotigations.

        It's a highly politicized award at this point in time. And the irony is that the founder, Nobel, was a munitions maker himself.

        • That's the peace prize you're talking about. Personally, I think Carter deserved it, regardless of what the N. Koreans did afterwards, but that's kind of beside the point when you're talking about science awards. Can you seriously make the argument that the Nobels in physics, chemistry, or physiology and medicine have become politicized?

          Also, yes, Nobel was a munitions maker -- and the whole reason he founded the prize was because he was so horrified at what modern warfare had become that he wanted to put
    • I wouldn't be surprised if, in order to be considered for the prize, the scientists needed to write a short essay on how their work contributed to The President's plan to explore and colonize space.
  • So he wasn't lying to us after all at our last departmental meeting.
  • It would be nice if I could filter all articles that contained President Bush's name that were not filed under politics. Not because I'm disinterested, nor because I dislike the man, but because any article that mentions him becomes a nonstop bash-fest for the political trolls that live for such opportunities. I think the poster of this article did so simply to feed the trolls. Well eat up assholes. Oh, and don't bother with moderation, I'll save you the trouble:
    -1 Offtopic. except that Bush trolling
  • by OldManAndTheC++ (723450) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @12:49AM (#14713751)
    To underscore the importance of these awards, all three TV networks and CNN carried the presentation ceremony live, in prime time.

    Viewers were momentarily startled by the appearance of flying pigs in the background, apparently rising out of a hole in the ground leading up from a frozen hell.

  • what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by sulli (195030) * on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @12:50AM (#14713755) Journal
    no pioneers in intelligent design?
  • Typo (Score:3, Funny)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @01:11AM (#14713813) Homepage
    --Robert N. Clayton, The University of Chicago, for his contributions to geochemistry and cosmochemistry that provided insight into the evolution of the solar system.

    I believe that's a typo - should read "insight into the intelligent design of the solar system."
  • It is nice to see Norman E. Borlaug in this list still. This is the greatest man in the world. He has saved bilions of people through his reserch in creating new breeds of crops. SMILE YOU FUCKS
  • Mmmmmm. Sciencey.
  • Read just this bit:

    revolutionized organ transplants, led to development of global positioning systems, and helped feed millions around the world

    That's something!

  • That's like getting an Art Award from the guy who paints the sad clowns in cheap motel rooms.
  • by daVinci1980 (73174) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @11:36AM (#14716092) Homepage
    You don't get nearly the recognition you deserve. Since your research in the 40s, 50s and 60s, you have saved over a billion people. There's pretty much no other person on earth who can claim to have saved a billion people with their discoveries. In fact, arguably Norman Borlaug has saved more people from death than any person in history, past, present or possibly even towards the future.

    Norman E. Borlaug is my hero, and he should be yours, too. [wikipedia.org]

    There was a great episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! that covered Dr. Borlaug's work. I highly recommend it for a watch [sho.com], if you have the chance.

    From Wikiquote [wikiquote.org], a quote by Penn Jillette about Norman Borlaug:

    "At a time when doom-sayers were hopping around saying everyone was going to starve, Norman was working. He moved to Mexico and lived among the people there until he figured out how to improve the output of the farmers. So that saved a million lives. Then he packed up his family and moved to India, where in spite of a war with Pakistan, he managed to introduce new wheat strains that quadrupled their food output. So that saved another million. You get it? But he wasn't done. He did the same thing with a new rice in China. He's doing the same thing in Afica -- as much of Africa as he's allowed to visit. When he won the Nobel Prize in 1970, they said he had saved a billion people. That's BILLION! Carl Sagan BILLION with a B! And most of them were a different race from him. Norman is the greatest human being, and you probably never heard of him."

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