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Science, Medicine, and Agriculture Medals

Here are medals awarded in the fields of agriculture, science, and medicine.

OBVERSE: 1928 Thomas A. Edison

REVERSE: 1928 Thomas A. Edison

1928 Thomas A. Edison

This Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to Edison for his work as an inventor.  He invented or improved many machines like the typewriter, telegraph, telephone, phonograph, batteries, and moving pictures.  In developing a light bulb that could be used in homes, he had to invent the whole electric industry to power it.  These things changed modern life forever.

Congress recognized Edison's achievements "in illumining the path of progress through the development and application of inventions that have revolutionized civilization in the last century."  The back of the medal proclaims:  "He illuminated the path of progress by his inventions."


1929 Major Walter Reed

Walter Reed and his 21 associates were recognized with a Congressional Gold Medal for discovering the cause of yellow fever and the way it spread.  Major Reed and his associates did their Yellow Fever experiments during the Spanish-American War of 1898.

The medal recognizes the "high public service rendered and disabilities contracted" by Major Reed and his men "in the interest of humanity and science as voluntary subjects for the experimentation during the yellow-fever investigations in Cuba."

OBVERSE: 1929 Major Walter Reed

REVERSE: 1929 Major Walter Reed

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1938 Mrs. Richard Aldrich
and Anna Bouligny

Gold medals were given to Mrs. Richard Aldrich and Anna Bouligny some four decades after they served wounded soldiers in Puerto Rico.  As part of their "outstanding, unselfish, and wholly voluntary service," they set up and worked in hospitals "for the care and treatment of military patients in Puerto Rico" during the War with Spain.

Mrs. Aldrich and Ms. Bouligny "voluntarily went to Puerto Rico and there rendered service of inestimable value to the Army of the United States in the establishment and operation of hospitals."


1955 Doctor Jonas E. Salk

Dr. Salk was given this medal for his work on a serum to prevent polio.  Poliomyelitis is a disease that affects children, and it was all too common in this country in the early 20th century.  Dr. Salk died in 1995.

Congress had this medal made "in recognition of the great achievement of Doctor Jonas E. Salk in the field of medicine by his discovery of a serum for the prevention of poliomyelitis."

On the back of the medal, a woman protects two healthy children from polio.  She holds a shield decorated with a caduceus, a symbol of the medical profession.  The group is surrounded by the words "In recognition and appreciation of his achievement in developing a vaccine for polio."

OBVERSE: 1955 Doctor Jonas E. Salk

REVERSE: 1955 Doctor Jonas E. Salk

OBVERSE: 1961 Doctor Thomas Anthony Dooley III

REVERSE: 1961 Doctor Thomas Anthony Dooley III

1961 Doctor Thomas Anthony Dooley III

This medal was awarded to Dr. Dooley for his unselfish medical care among the peoples of the world, particularly in southeast Asia.  He died in January 1961 of cancer.

The medal recognizes "the gallant and unselfish public service rendered by Doctor Thomas Anthony Dooley III in serving the medical needs of the people of Laos living in the remote areas of the Laotian jungles, and the peoples in other newly developing countries."

The words on the back, surrounding Dr. Dooley and some of the children he helped, are:  "In recognition of the public service to alleviate suffering among people of the world."


1987 Mary Lasker

Mary Lasker and her husband started the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, where scientists try to make better medicines and find ways to help people stay healthy.  Mrs. Lasker was especially interested in finding cures for cancer.  A pink tulip was named after her because of the way she worked to beautify New York City and Washington, D.C.

Mary Lasker's medal honors her for this work, for educating people, and for helping artists.  On the back of the medal is written "Dedicated to the conquering of disease and disability."

OBVERSE: 1987 Mary Lasker

REVERSE: 1987 Mary Lasker

OBVERSE: 2006 Dr. Norman E. Borlaug

REVERSE: 2006 Dr. Norman E. Borlaug

2006 Dr. Norman E. Borlaug

This medal was awarded to recognize Dr. Borlaug's "enduring contribution to the United States and the World."  Dr. Borlaug spent many years helping to ease world hunger by developing plants that resist disease and produce more food.  Nobel Laureate Dr. Borlaug's "accomplishments in terms of bringing radical change to world agriculture and uplifting humanity are without parallel."

On the front of the medal, Dr. Borlaug is shown working in the wheat fields of Mexico.  Dr. Borlaug's words appear on the back:  "The first essential component for social justice is adequate food for all mankind."


And here are some commemorative coins that have honored scientists and inventors:

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