Former president of India wins the Hoover Medal


Abdul Kalam, third from the left, with the award committee on 28, April 2009

Engineer Abdul Kalam, accepted the Hoover Medal last Tuesday in a ceremony at Columbia University. The medal is the good-guy award for engineers, honoring individuals who tirelessly apply their technical knowledge to humanitarian projects.

Kalam was the president of India from 2002 to 2007, but is still referred to as the "people's president." He earned the moniker in large part by devoting himself to programs that extend medical technologies to rural and low-income areas of India. His work reaches out to those people who are often the last in line to experience the benefits of modern health care.

One of his greatest areas of impact has been in telemedicine. In 2005, Kamal launched a facility in his birthplace of Tamil Nadu that links medical colleges in the region to specialists all over the country. The program has enabled doctors to hold video conferences with patients in remote areas of India.

Kamal also founded the Society of Biomedical Technology, which uses defense technology to design medical devices. The program has had success especially in developing coronary stents and ophthalmic lasers.

You can read more about his achievements here.

And you can go here to read his acceptance speech. Both are pretty inspiring.


Tech Talk

IEEE Spectrum’s general technology blog, featuring news, analysis, and opinions about engineering, consumer electronics, and technology and society, from the editorial staff and freelance contributors.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for the Tech Alert newsletter and receive ground-breaking technology and science news from IEEE Spectrum every Thursday.