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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says investing in science and technology is more essential to the nation's health and prosperity than ever before.

The president spoke at a White House ceremony honoring the winners of the National Medal of Science and Medal of Technology and Innovation. With the country facing economic and security challenges, Obama said Wednesday that the winners are a reminder that the U.S. must continue to invest in "the next generation of discoveries and the next generation of discoverers."

Among the award recipients are Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, and the IBM Corp.

Obama awards national science, technology medals