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Science and Technology Medals Awarded 147

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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  • by east coast ( 590680 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @12:29AM (#14713679)
    FTA: Ralph H. Baer, For creating Pong! WOOT!!!!

    Laugh all you want but the idea of bringing technology to the masses sometimes makes all the difference. Look at Carl Sagan, the man didn't do much for the progress of science but rather the promotion of science. How many kids do you think were spurred on by Mister Wizard?

    The video game may not be meaningful in the long run but it did bring the potential use of technology to the masses and I'll bet a lot of people on Slashdot, in part, owe something to this small step forward.
  • Re:Good (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @12:41AM (#14713720)
    Norman Bourlag won the Nobel Peace Prize [] in 1970 for fathering the "Green Revolution". Some estimate that his work may have saved over a billion lives [].
  • Re:Good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @12:50AM (#14713756) Homepage Journal
    ... Nobel prizes used to be before they became a political joke

    What's your basis for this claim?
  • 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 [] 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?

  • Re:Great! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @03:35AM (#14714144)
    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.
  • Re:Great! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @04:25AM (#14714285)
    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, watch what they do, not what they say. And if you watch what this administration actually does- cutting funding and trying to distort research to favor particular policies- you'll see why scientists are so overwhelmingly against Bush.

  • 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. []

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

    From Wikiquote [], 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."

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith