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Secretary Locke Joins President Obama in Announcing the 2008 National Medal of Technology and Innovation Laureates


Thursday, September 17, 2009



Secretary Locke Joins President Obama in Announcing the 2008 National Medal of Technology and Innovation Laureates

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke today joined President Barack Obama in announcing and congratulating the 2008 winners of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The medal is the nation’s highest honor for technological and scientific achievement. President Obama will present the medals at a White House ceremony on October 7.

“Innovation is the key to our economic recovery, and the medical and telecommunication advances of the 2008 medalists are truly awe-inspiring,” Locke said. “Their innovations have revolutionized desktop publishing, reasserted American leadership in high-performance computing, and saved the lives of millions of people.All Americans owe a great deal of gratitude to these men and women. I look forward to joining President Obama in honoring them at the White House in October.”

The 2008 National Medal of Technology and Innovation winners are:

  • Dr. Forrest M. Bird, for his pioneering work in the field of respiratory and cardiopulmonary care including the revolutionary BABYBird®. This device dramatically reduced the infant respiratory failure mortality rate from approximately 70 percent to 10 percent. His more recent medical invention of Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilation (IPV)® concepts have reduced pulmonary failure in the most critically injured military and civilian burn patients from about 75 percent to 5 percent. Dr. Bird’s innovations have saved millions of lives.
  • Dr. Esther S. Takeuchi, for the development of the silver vanadium oxide battery technology, which powers the majority of today’s implantable cardiac defibrillators, and innovations related to other enabling medical battery technologies that power implantable pacemakers, implantable neurostimulators and left ventricular assist devices. Dr. Takeuchi’s innovations have saved and dramatically improved the quality of hundreds of thousands of human lives.
  • Dr. John E. Warnock and Dr. Charles M. Geschke, for their pioneering contributions that spurred the desktop publishing revolution and for changing the way people create and engage with information and entertainment across multiple mediums including print, Web and video.
  • International Business Machines Corporation, for the IBM Blue Gene supercomputer, which re-established United States leadership in high performance computing. Blue Gene’s systems architecture, design and software have delivered fundamental new science, unsurpassed speed and unparalleled energy efficiency, which have had a profound impact on the worldwide high-performance computing industry.

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by Congress in 1980 and has been presented by the President of the United States since 1985. A distinguished, independent committee appointed by the Secretary of Commerce evaluates the merits of all candidates nominated through an open, competitive process. Committee recommendations are forwarded to the Secretary, who makes recommendations to the President for a final decision.

The Medal program is administered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Additional information is available at

White House Press Release