US President Barack Obama has honoured scientist Thomas Kailath, 79, with the National Medal of Science, the top presidential medal, for transformative contributions to the fields of science and technology, at a White House function. Mr Obama said Thomas Kailath came to America from India at age 22, with a research assistantship that took him to MIT, then Stanford, where he made critical contributions in information theory and statistics and mentored over 100 scholars along the way. Kailath received the award also for distinctive and sustained mentoring of young scholars and translation of scientific ideas into entrepreneurial ventures that have had a significant impact on industry. Awarded annually the Medal recognises individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. Kailath was born in 1935 to a Syrian Christian family from Kerala. He has authored several books including well-known Linear Systems. After graduating from the University of Pune he received his Master's and doctorate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was the first India-born student to receive a doctorate in electrical engineering from MIT. He was conferred with the Padma Bhushan in 2009 by the Indian government.