President Biden honours two Indian-American scientists with America’s highest scientific awards

Washington: US President Joe Biden has honoured two Indian-American scientists — Ashok Gadgil and Subra Suresh — with the country’s highest scientific awards for their contribution to the field of science and technology.

Biden presented the prestigious White House National Medal for Technology and Innovation to Gadgil, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley, on Tuesday for providing life-sustaining resources to communities around the world.

The award, bestowed on leading US innovators, recognises those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the nation’s technological workforce.

Suresh, a professor at large at Brown University’s School of Engineering, was awarded the National Medal of Science for pioneering research across engineering, physical sciences, and life sciences, particularly for advancing the study of material science and its application to other disciplines.

Gadgil was one of 12 recipients of the White House National Medal for Technology and Innovation. He has developed low-cost solutions to some of the developing world’s most intractable problems, including safe drinking water technologies,

energy-efficient stoves, and ways to make efficient electric lighting affordable. His work has helped over 100 million people. The White House cited his dedication to providing life-sustaining resources and solving significant challenges.

Gadgil’s award is the 17th national medal overall and the second National Medal of Technology and Innovation that Berkeley Lab researchers have earned. In an interview, he expressed his commitment to using science and engineering knowledge to create a fairer world.

Suresh, born in India in 1956, is known for his remarkable academic journey. He graduated from high school at 15 and earned his undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT in just two years. He joined Brown University’s engineering faculty in 1983 and later became the first Asian-born American to lead the National Science Foundation (NSF). Suresh returned to Brown’s School of Engineering and initiated programs promoting global collaboration and gender diversity in science and engineering fields under his leadership. Brown University also announced a symposium in his honor.

Both scientists have made significant contributions to science and technology and are recognized for their dedication to global progress and cooperation.