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President Biden awards Subra Suresh the National Medal of Science during an awards ceremony in the East Room of The White House, Oct. 24, 2023. Photo by Ryan K. Morris
President Biden awards Subra Suresh the National Medal of Science in the East Room of the White House, Oct. 24, 2023. Photo by Ryan K. Morris

Former CMU President Awarded National Medal of Science

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Peter Kerwin
University Communications & Marketing

On Oct. 24, U.S. President Joe Biden awarded the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest scientific honor, to Subra Suresh, the ninth president of Carnegie Mellon University.

Established in 1959 by Congress, the National Medal of Science is administered by the U.S. National Science Foundation. The award is bestowed upon “individuals deserving of special recognition for their outstanding contributions in biology, computer sciences, education sciences, engineering, geosciences, mathematical and physical sciences, and social, behavioral, and economic sciences, in service to the nation,” according to the White House(opens in new window).

Suresh, a professor at large at Brown University’s School of Engineering, was honored(opens in new window) for his “pioneering research across engineering, physical sciences and life sciences. A transformative educator, he has advanced the study of material science and its application to other disciplines. His commitment to research and collaboration across borders has demonstrated how science can forge understanding and cooperation among people and nations.”

“This is an incredible honor and a resounding testament to Subra’s impact as a scientist and scholar,” said CMU President Farnam Jahanian. “The Carnegie Mellon University community is proud to count him as one of our own and excited to see what he will accomplish next.”

Suresh served as president of Carnegie Mellon from 2013 to 2017, after having served as director of the National Science Foundation.

Past recipients of the award include Carnegie Mellon computer scientists Herb Simon(opens in new window) and Allen Newell, who pioneered the foundations of artificial intelligence, and Frederick Rossini, a CMU chemist honored for his contributions to chemical thermodynamics. Two CMU alumni have also received the award: Raoul Bott, a mathematician who made foundational contributions to geometry, and George Pake, a physicist and research executive who helped found Xerox PARC.

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