Photo Diary: President Obama Presides Over White House Medal Ceremony for Scientists and Engineers

By Gene Quinn
November 18, 2010

President Obama in the East Room of the White House. All smiles to start the ceremony. 11-17-2010

Earlier this evening President Barack Obama awarded National Medals to 16 distinguished scientists and engineers in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.  I was in attendance as a member of the press, which was an extraordinary experience.  I will write about my behind the scenes look at what I experienced in the days to come, and tomorrow we will have complete coverage of President Obama’s remarks at the ceremony.

I probably broke all kinds of press rules by clapping throughout the ceremony.  I probably should have remained stoic, but the men and women who were on the stage with President Obama are the true rock stars of our industry and I just could not bring myself to do anything other than applaud them for their achievements.

Without further ado, here is my photo diary of the 2009 National Medal of Science and 2009 National Medal of Technology and Innovation awards ceremony.  All photos were taken by me.  Photos have been reduced in file size to allow for faster loading.

President Obama at a serious moment during his speech and prior to awarding the Medals.

National Medal of Science Recipients (from left to right) Yakir Aharonav, Stephen J. Benkovic, Esther M. Conwell, Marye Anne Fox, Susan Lee Lindquist, Mortimer Mishkin, David B. Mumford, Stanley B. Prusner.

Left to right: National Medal of Science recipients Warren M. Washington, Amnon Yariv; National Medal of Technology and Innovation recipients Harry W. Coover, Helen M. Free and Steven J. Sasson.

President Obama on stage about to award the Intel Team with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Team members: Federico Faggin, Marcian E. Hoff, Jr. and Stanley Mazor.

Left: President Obama prepares to present a medal to Steven J. Sasson, inventor of the digital camera. President Obama in this picture looks to the back of the room where the photographers were stationed and jokingly said: "“This picture had better be good!" Right: President Obama recognized an un-named military aide for his excellent job reading all of the difficult scientific terms to the audience to describe the work of the scientists and engineers.

Left: Harry W. Coover, inventor of Super Glue. Right: Helen M. Free, inventor of dip-and-read urinalysis strips.

David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, arrives in the East Room.

Left: Sharon Barner, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce and Deputy Director of the USPTO. Right: Bob Stoll, Commissioner for Patents.

Left: Richard Maulsby (USPTO Public Affairs). Right: Peter Pappas (Chief Communications Officer, USPTO).

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and founder of IPWatchdog.com. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and an attorney with Widerman Malek. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

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Discuss this

There are currently 10 Comments comments.

  1. Tom November 18, 2010 8:38 am

    Gene,
    I’m glad you clapped. Those people are indeed rockstars.

  2. American Cowboy November 18, 2010 10:35 am

    Was Bob Stoll drunk?

  3. step back November 18, 2010 1:19 pm

    Did they each get a Super Star pinky ring and weekend pass to Disney World?

  4. Blind Dogma November 18, 2010 2:21 pm

    Did the Rock Stars sing any old standby’s, like Lincoln’s “The patent system added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius”, or was the President his usual reticent self in even acknowledging that we have a Patent Office?

  5. step back November 18, 2010 3:23 pm

    Word has it they soliloquied Obama with
    the inventors’ version of “Stand By Me”

    (LOL)

  6. M. Scoon November 18, 2010 4:29 pm

    Gene:
    Looks like a great occasion for the awardees. Was the President made specifically (personally) aware of the problem of continual siphoning of fees?

  7. Gene Quinn November 18, 2010 6:13 pm

    M. Scoon-

    I can’t say that the President is aware of the problem. I will be working hard in 2011 to make sure as many politicians as possible know of the problems facing the USPTO, so stay tuned!

    Thanks for reading.

    -Gene

  8. Stan E. Delo November 18, 2010 7:34 pm

    Hello Gene and M. Scoon,

    I certainly hope that Mr. Obama understands the inventors’ plight, which in all fairness was not adequately presented in the near past. If Barack and many others can’t grasp that fact, perhaps the maverick’s from America might see a dilution of their power to invent truly new and novel devices and find funding to develop them.

    Otherwise the wind energy division seems to be looking very good these days. Green or not, they at least don’t require petro-fuel to power them.

    Stan~

  9. China Scholarship November 19, 2010 12:51 pm

    Has he pulled us out of the recession yet?

  10. Stan E. Delo November 19, 2010 9:46 pm

    Not yet China. President Bush Jr. got us into this ditch over the course of about 6 years, and it might take another two years or more just to get things up and running again. A 7 Trillion dollar inhereted debt and a failing American economic system might take a few years to turn around into a positive direction. But of course you might understand all of that perhaps? I hear they are hiring in China these days.

    Dhing hao,
    Stan~