On May 19, U.S. President Barack Obama presented the National Medal of Technology and Innovation and the National Medal of Science to 17 individuals.
These awards are the highest recognitions in the country that honor achievements and contributions made in the fields of science and technology. The official ceremony took place at the White House's East Room.
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created in 1980. It is currently managed for the White House by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Patent and Trademark Office.
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation is given to individuals who were able to render long-term contributions that improved the quality of life and competitiveness in the United States.
The award is also bestowed upon individuals who largely contributed to the improvements of the country's technological workforce.
On the other hand, the National Medal of Science was first presented in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy. Managed by the National Science Foundation, the award is given to individuals who made excellent contributions in the field of engineering and science.
The National Medal of Science awardees include experts in mathematics, engineering, chemistry, computing and biological, social, physical and behavioral sciences.
"These scientific laureates exemplify the American spirit and ingenuity that have enriched our society and the global community in profound and lasting ways," said Obama.
Genome Sciences and Medicine Professor Mary-Claire King from the University of Washington was among the nine recipients of the award this year.
King is recognized for her contributions in evolution research as well as human disease genetics for over 40 years. The award also highlighted her outreach work supporting human rights efforts in six continents.
"It's fantastic. It's a wonderful way to celebrate science and show the next generation that this is a fascinating and worthwhile way to spend one's life," King said before the White House ceremony started.
The full list of 2016 awardees and their individual works was released online by the White House.