Prez Salutes PIO Techie to Highlight `Open Door’ Policy

  • Kerala-born Tom Kailath never imagined that some day he would be a White House honoree,
  • Much less the centre of attention in a raging immigration debate who would be picked by the US President to illustrate how America has benefited from being home to the best minds in the world.
  • That is precisely what happened as President Obama invoked Kailath's life, work, and philosophy as an example of how the US needs to keep its doors open to high-skilled foreign immigrants.
  • The occasion was the awarding of the annual National Medals for science, technology , and innovation in the White House and Kailath was one of 19 honorees.
  • Obama began:As Thomas Kailath, one of our honorees today , says, `Scientists are intrinsically hopeful and believe in grand answers, and that if we work hard enough we can find some of them in our lifetime,I'm intrinsically hopeful,that's who I am.That's who we are as a people, as Americans, as a nation.
  • He then launched into an exposition on how important it was to keep US open to scholars like Kailath, recalling how he came to this country at the age of 22, with a research assistantship that took him to MIT,
  • Then¬†it took him to¬†Stanford , where he made critical contributions in information theory and statistics, and mentored more than 100 scholars along the way .