I hate honors but this list is kind of interesting. Barack Obama gave the National Medal of Science to 12 scientists and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to 11 technologists and innovators:
The generation that is not quite the youngest one knows Sidney Drell's name from one more context: we know him as a co-author of the Bjorken-Drell textbook on quantum field theory, Relativistic Quantum Mechanics (1964) and Relativistic quantum fields (1965). It was the ultimate mainstream standard for such a textbook before it could have been surpassed in this place by Peskin and Schroeder.
It was a hard reading for me when I was a high school kid. But it was arguably the first book from which I understood that the existence of photons – light quanta – follows from the "ordinary" quantization procedure applied to the electromagnetic field. I wonder how hard these things are for generic beginners. They have looked self-evident to me for quite some time but unlike other sources of difficulties people have, I can understand that this one requires some concentration.
Another winner is Sylvester James Gates, a top supergravitist and string theorist. Incidentally, if you have never tried to watch his 24 lectures Superstring Theory: the DNA of Reality (2006), you should give it a try. They look cute:
(Video excerpts no longer available for free. Search for "DNA of Reality Gates" at amazon.com.)
Finally, the list of the science medal winners includes Barry Mazur, Harvard mathematician whom I know very well from numerous dinners in the Society of Fellows. He is a nice and sensitive man who sees many emotional things in number theory, geometry, and their relationships. ;-)