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Scientist receives top honour from Obama

An emeritus inventor from a Swiss university has been presented with the United States' highest award for scientists and inventors.

Rudolf Kalman, an American-Hungarian mathematics professor at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) from 1971-1997, was one of nine scientists given the National Medal of Science award by President Barack Obama in Washington DC on Wednesday

The 79-year-old was singled out for his invention of the Kalman filter, a mathematical formulation widely used in navigation systems, avionics and outer space vehicles. The technique was used by Nasa in the Apollo space programme and is currently used in satellite navigation systems.

The National Medal of Science honours individuals who have made outstanding contributions to knowledge. Nominees are selected by a committee of presidential appointees.

President Obama described the award recipients as "national icons" whose achievements "strengthen our nation every day – not just intellectually and technologically, but also economically, by helping create new industries and opportunities that others before them could never have imagined".

Kalman was born in 1930 in Budapest and later emigrated to the United States, where he studied and received his doctorate research. From 1971 he headed both the Center for Mathematical System Theory at the University of Florida and the Center for Mathematical System Theory at the ETH. He lives in Florida and Zurich.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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