George W. Bush photo

Remarks on Presenting the National Medals of Science and Technology

June 12, 2002

Please be seated. Thank you all very much, and welcome to the White House. It is a—it's an honor to be with so many incredibly bright and innovative people.

I want to welcome the winners. I want to welcome your family members. I want to welcome your friends, and I want to welcome those of us who are just happy to be in your presence. [Laughter] The science and technology leaders here today have turned genius and persistence into knowledge and technology that will shape lives for decades to come. And that must make you feel pretty darn good.

Our honorees are the prophets of a better age, seeing the future before a lot of folks don't see the present. They have earned these medals, and as they do so, they earn the thanks of their fellow Americans.

I want to thank the Secretary of Commerce, Don Evans, who will be here to administer—who is here to administer the National Medal of Technology. I want to thank Secretary Rod Paige, the Secretary of Education. I want to thank the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Dr. John Marburger, for the fine job he is doing on behalf of the country. John, thank you for coming.

I want to thank the Members of the United States Congress who are here. I appreciate you all being here to cheer on the recipients from your districts.

The medals we present today are the highest honors—the highest honors—a President can bestow in the fields of science and technology. And today's honorees have earned this recognition with their tireless work. Some of the honorees are learning how to battle cancer with new therapies. Others are advancing our understanding of the Earth and the Sun. Others are creating new methods for analyzing data. All of our honorees and their colleagues throughout the United States are asking questions whose answers will improve lives, not only here at home but around the world.

Science and—scientific and technological research are a high calling for any individual. And promoting research is an important role of our Federal Government. I'm pleased that this year's budget includes the most research and development funding in the history of our country. We'll continue to support science and technology because innovation makes America stronger. Innovation helps Americans to live longer, healthier, and happier lives. Innovation helps our economy grow and helps people find work. Innovation strengthens our national defense and our homeland security, and we need a strong national defense and homeland security as we fight people who hate America because we're free.

President Franklin Roosevelt's science adviser was a fellow named Vannevar Bush. He doesn't claim me, and I don't claim him. [Laughter] But here's what he says. He said, "Without scientific progress, the national health would deteriorate. Without scientific progress, we could not hope for improvement in our standard of living or an increased number of jobs for our citizens. Without scientific progress, we could not have maintained our liberties against tyranny." What Vannevar Bush said back then is true today.

Scientists and researchers do vital work, and they oftentimes do it outside the limelight. It's a good thing to shine the light here in the White House. Their influence extends beyond laboratories. It reaches into hospitals and homes and classrooms. And as importantly, your work inspires young Americans who study past scientific breakthroughs in order to chart their own paths of discovery.

The world of our children will be shaped by the people we honor today. On behalf of all Americans, I want to thank you for your lifelong commitment to making our world a better place.

In a few moments, Secretary Evans will help me present the National Medals of Technology, but first I ask Dr. Marburger to come to the stage to assist me with the presentation of the 2001 National Medals of Science.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:20 p.m. in the East Room at the White House.

George W. Bush, Remarks on Presenting the National Medals of Science and Technology Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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