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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 12, 2002
President Honors Scientists and Engineers in Awards Ceremony
Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building
10:10 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all very much for coming today. It's a privilege to welcome our country's best minds to the White House. Today it is my honor, high honor to welcome the men and women receiving the 2001 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.
I want to thank you all for coming. I appreciate so very much the first steps in the careers of discovery that you've taken. And the amazing thing is, your colleagues already recognize the great potential of your work. Dr. Marburger was telling me that it was only five years ago that a person who had -- who received an award that you're receiving today became a Nobel Laureate. Maybe I'm looking at another Nobel Laureate or two here. (Laughter.)
You need to know that the breakthroughs that you have made will make life better for all Americans. Your explorations will expand our understanding of the world, and that's important. Your innovations will help America stay at the forefront of technological development for decades to come.
Most Americans may not understand all you do and all the details of your work. But we understand your promise and your commitment and your dedication. And we're grateful for it, so thanks for coming.
I appreciate Larry Lindsey, my Director of the National Economic Council; and Jack Marburger, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Poly for spearheading this event. I want to thank a couple of my Cabinet Secretaries are here: Ann Veneman, of Agriculture and Spence Abraham of Energy. Thank you both for your service.
I appreciate Rita Colwell, as Director of the National Science Foundation for being here, for her work. I want to thank Elias Zerhouni, from the NIH, for being here. Dr. Zerhouni is -- we plucked him out of the private sector to serve our country and he's doing a fine job. I just want to remind everybody that the commitment we made that we would double the budget in the NIH has been completed. And I appreciate your leadership there, Dr. Zerhouni.
I want to thank Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, of -- the Administrator of NOAA, National Oceanic and Administrative -- Atmospheric Administration. I want to thank Dr. Arden Bement, the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Arden, thank you very much, sir. John Hopps, the Deputy Director of the Defense Research and Engineering at the Department of Defense. I want to thank James Burris, the Deputy Chief Research and Development Officer of the Veterans Health Administration. And Shannon Lucid, who is the Chief Scientist of NASA.
The reason I mention these fine folks is that they all picked you. So when you see them at the reception -- (laughter) -- be nice to them. (Laughter.)
I want to welcome the family member or friend that you picked to come here. I'm sorry the room is so small. I suspect we could have accommodated a lot more people if we had a bigger room. But Dr. Marburger told me that at the reception other family members will be there; please give them my best and sorry I couldn't extol your virtues in front of them, in their person. But I want to welcome you all, as well, to the White House. It's quite a place to go to work, as I'm sure you can imagine. And I hope you recognize it's quite a place to receive an award, too.
The honorees are -- you're serving America, that's what you're doing. And you're doing so in the best of -- in the best of the public interest. And for that, we're grateful.
You're learning how the smallest known particles operate and interact. You're laying down the foundation for new methods of diagnosing and treating cancer and heart disease; doing research to protect Americans against threats posed by chemical weapons. You're exploring the unchartered territory of the human mind.
Your work advances important national goals. And accomplishing these goals requires the cooperation amongst scientists and engineers in our universities, our government agencies and, of course, in the private sector.
This award is a statement of our confidence, the nation's confidence and the tremendous good that can come when the America government supports the genius of the American people.
My administration is continuing a great tradition. Whether finding cures for diseases or learning how to better predict natural disasters or developing information technology that unites the world, government funded basic research expands knowledge and learning and helps our people to live longer and healthier and more satisfying lives. We are committed to basic research from the federal government. And we will keep that commitment so long as we're here.
Innovation is one of our greatest national strengths. It drives our economy. It helps protect our environment. And the truth of the matter is, it improves lives all across the globe. In all of your work, you're contributing to the strength of America and to the well being of our people.
You probably have become scientists or engineers because you're motivated by the thrill of discovery -- I suspect that's the case. Or by the quest to push outward the bounds of human knowledge. And many of you will make significant discoveries. It probably won't be household names -- not all that bad, I might add. (Laughter.) But Americans will know your work because it will touch their lives, and I hope you understand that that in itself is a great honor and a great accomplishment.
You'll blaze the trail for others who will build on your successes and then, of course, discover their own. That's the wonders of science and engineering.
I appreciate the fact that many of you are already inspiring young boys and girls to explore their interest in science and engineering. That in itself is an incredibly important contribution to our country, to excite youngsters about the promise and hope of science and promise and hope of engineering.
By involving students in your work and creating opportunities for young Americans to learn about career opportunities in the sciences, you're opening minds and opening doors to future researchers. Your impact will be felt for decades to come, and that's why I've come to speak to you.
So on behalf of all Americans, I want to thank you for your commitment to improving lives and exploring new horizons. I congratulate you for your hard work. I urge you not to stop, to keep using your God-given talents and your God-given genius to make the world better for all of us.
May God bless your work, and God bless America. Congratulations. (Applause.)
END 10:18 A.M. EDT