U.S. President Barack Obama honored the work of 23 scientists and researchers in technology and innovation who in many cases started from scratch, but thanks to their enormous talent, surpassed all expectations.

The president handed out the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation to the researchers during a ceremony Friday in the White House's East Room.

"Now, this is the most collection of brainpower we've had under this roof in a long time - maybe since the last time we gave out these medals," Obama joked at the start of the ceremony.

Among the medalists were scientists specialized in electrochemistry, quantum theory, the formation of galaxies and inorganic chemistry, as well as pioneering researchers in biofuels, eye surgery and developing antibodies.

"Thanks to the sacrifices they've made, the chances they've taken, (and) the gallons of coffee they've consumed - we now have batteries that power everything from cellphones to electric cars. We have a map of the human genome and new ways to produce renewable energy," Obama said. EFE