National Science and Technology Medals Foundation

Medal of Science

President John F. Kennedy awarded the first National Medal of Science on February 18, 1963 to Theodore von Kármán for his leadership in science and engineering basic to aeronautics. Von Kármán was also cited for his effective teaching, contributions in many fields of mechanics, counsel to the Armed Services, and for his promoting international cooperation.

Since its creation by Congress in 1959 as part of Public Law 86-209, the National Medal of Science has honored individuals "deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, engineering, chemistry and social sciences." Four decades later, more than 400 of America's scientists, thinkers, and discoverers have been honored with this medal.

Medal of Science