President Barrack Obama awarded 7 National Medals of Science this week to American researchers who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields. Among the honorees are 4 life scientists who have made seminal contributions in various areas of biology, including DNA structure and function, genetics, and biomedical engineering. Obama also named 5 inventors who will receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for contributing to the country's competitiveness. "Each of these extraordinary scientists, engineers, and inventors is guided by a passion for innovation, a fearlessness even as they explore the very frontiers of human knowledge, and a desire to make the world a better place," Obama said in a statement.

Here are the National Medal of Science winners, who will receive their awards from the president at a White House ceremony to be held later this year:

-        Jacqueline K. Barton, California Institute of Technology, for the...

-        Ralph L. Brinster, University of Pennsylvania, for his fundamental contributions to the development and use of transgenic mice.

-        Shu Chien, University of California, San Diego, for pioneering work in cardiovascular physiology and bioengineering.

-        Rudolf Jaenisch, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for improving our understanding of epigenetic regulation of gene expression.

-        Peter J. Stang, University of Utah, for his contributions to the development of organic supramolecular chemistry, which focuses on weaker and reversible, non-covalent interactions between molecules, and for his record of public service.

-        Richard A. Tapia, Rice University, for his contributions in optimization theory and numerical analysis and for his efforts in mathematics and science education.

-        S. R. Srinivasa Varadhan, New York University, for his work in probability theory, especially his work on large deviations from expected random behavior.

(Hat tip to ScienceInsider.)

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