Richard L. Garwin Named a Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Yorktown Heights, N.Y. - 22 Nov 2016: President Barack Obama will award IBM (NYSE: IBM) Fellow Emeritus Dr. Richard (Dick) L. Garwin the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the country, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

Cited among his contributions are Dr. Garwin’s work on U.S. defense and intelligence technologies, low-temperature and nuclear physics, detection of gravitational radiation, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer systems, laser printing, and nuclear arms control and nonproliferation.

The award will be presented at a White House ceremony today and will be livestreamed at

“This is a fitting tribute for an exceptionally talented man who has dedicated himself to a lifetime of public service, including advising every U.S. President from Eisenhower to Obama,” said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director of IBM Research. “Dick exemplifies the values of IBM, working tirelessly on issues to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems and pushing the boundaries of knowledge in so many fields. We congratulate Dick on this well-deserved honor and draw inspiration from his dedication and spirit.”

Dr. Garwin joined IBM Research in 1952 as a physicist. During his more than 40-year career at IBM his work and discoveries spanned magnetic resonance, superconducting computers, silicon integrated circuit technology, laser printers and displays, gesture and gaze-controlled input to computers and devices, touchscreen monitors and more. In the 1990s he helped invent the “air-bag” technology used to protect hard disk drives in laptops.

From 1965-1966, Dr. Garwin served as director of applied research at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center and was named an IBM Fellow in 1967, the company’s pre-eminent technical distinction. During his career with IBM, Dr. Garwin divided his time between his corporate responsibilities and his work as an expert in national intelligence and defense for the United States government. Since his official retirement in 1993, Dr. Garwin has remained very active with technology and policy issues as wide ranging as space satellites, nuclear arms control, healthcare and the environment. He continues to keep an office at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center.

In 2003, he was recognized by the White House with the National Medal of Science for his research and discoveries in physics and his enduring contributions to national security.

To read more about Dr. Garwin’s career, visit the blog post: Dr. Richard L. Garwin: The Problem-Solver.

About IBM Research

For more than seven decades, IBM Research has defined the future of information technology with more than 3,000 researchers in 12 labs located across six continents. Scientists from IBM Research have produced six Nobel Laureates, 10 U.S. National Medals of Technology, five U.S. National Medals of Science, six Turing Awards, 19 inductees in the National Academy of Sciences and 20 inductees into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame. For more information about IBM Research, visit

Contact(s) information

Fiona Doherty

IBM Media Relations 1 (914) 945-2319

Related resources


IBM scientists Dr. Richard (Dick) L. Garwin and James Levine with a gravitational wave detector built at IBM Research in 1972. (Credit: IBM)

Dr. Richard (Dick) L. Garwin, IBM Fellow Emeritus & Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Credit: IBM)

Dr. Richard (Dick) L. Garwin, IBM Research, circa 1954. (Credit: IBM)

Dr. Richard (Dick) L. Garwin, IBM with his "spin-echo" equipment for studying solid helium-3 at high pressures and low temperatures circa 1961. (Credit: IBM)

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