UM professor wins National Medal of Technology and Innovation

UM professor wins prestigious White House technology award

A longtime inventor and University of Maryland at College Park scientist and engineer with more than 200 patents to his name has won a prestigous National Medal of Technology and Innovation for creating medical devices that have saved millions of people around the world.

President Barack Obama presented Dr. Robert E. Fischell and seven others with the award during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House Thursday. Another nine people will receive the National Medal of Science awards. The honors are considered the highest given by the federal government to engineers, scientists and inventors.

"As President, I’m proud to honor each of you for your contributions to our nations," Obama said. "As an American, I’m proud of everything that you’ve done to contribute to that fearless spirit of innovation that’s made us who we are, and that doesn’t just benefit our citizens but benefits the world."

Fischell has invented scores of devices over the years, including a rechargeable pacemaker, a device that detects epileptic seizures and one that sends magnetic pulses into the brain to treat migraines.

The former scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in 2005 donated $30 million to the University of Maryland at College Park, his alma mater, to bioengineering and biomedical institutes in his name.

Obama also announced the creation of a “Kid Science Advisors” campaign for young scientists and innovator. He wants to hear suggestions from kids on what the country can do to inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators. 

"America’s progress in science and technology has countless revolutionary discoveries within our reach," Obama said during the ceremony. "New materials designed atom by atom.  New forms of clean energy.  New breakthroughs in treating cancer and ending the wait for organ transplants.  Private space flights, a planned human mission to Mars, a NASA probe that broke free from the Solar System three years ago and just kept on going.  That’s some of what America can do."

"That’s why we’re constantly pushing Congress to fund the work of our scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and dreamers to keep America on the cutting-edge," Obama said.

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