2003 Kyoto Prize Laureates Named

David Braun
National Geographic News
June 20, 2003

Behind the Scenes: The Kyoto Prizes An interview with Kazuo Inamori>>

The Inamori Foundation announced the laureates of its 19th Annual Kyoto Prizes, international awards presented to people who have contributed significantly to mankind's betterment in the categories of Advanced Technology, Basic Science, and Arts and Philosophy.

This year's Kyoto Prize laureates are Harvard University Professor George McClelland Whitesides, 63, of Newton, Massachusetts; University of Chicago Professor Emeritus Eugene Newman Parker, 76, of Homewood, Illinois; and Bunraku Puppet Master Tamao Yoshida, 84, of Osaka, Japan.

Whitesides will receive the Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology for pioneering a technique of organic molecular self-assembly and its applications in the field of nanomaterials science. Parker receives the Basic Sciences prize for establishing a new perspective on astrophysics by elucidating the solar wind and other cosmic phenomena. Yoshida, a master of Bunraku puppetry, who was designated as one of Japan's "Living National Treasures" in 1997, will receive the Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy for his significant contributions to Bunraku's current status as the world's most highly refined form of puppet theater.

Each laureate will receive a diploma, a Kyoto Prize Medal of 20-karat gold, and a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately U.S. $400,000) at the Kyoto Prize Ceremony in Japan on November 10. In addition, the laureates will meet in San Diego, California, March 3 to 5, 2004, for the third annual Kyoto Laureate Symposium at the University of San Diego.

"I'm still trying to get used to the idea," Parker said in a statement released by the University of Chicago. "It's a tremendous honor."

Parker said his career has been full of scientific surprises. "It's been great fun. You let nature, in the form of astronomy, tell you what's happening, and then you sit there and try to figure out why, and sometimes you can and sometimes you still don't know enough to figure out why."

The other two laureates were not immediately available for comment.

The Kyoto Prizes recognize significant contributions to the scientific, cultural and spiritual development of mankind, the Inamori Foundation said in a statement.

"Today, we are rushing ahead with incredible scientific and technological achievements, while understanding of our emotional and psychological development lags deplorably," said Kazuo Inamori, founder and president of The Inamori Foundation. "It is my hope that the Kyoto Prizes will encourage balanced development of both our scientific and our spiritual sides, and hence provide impetus toward the structuring of new philosophical paradigms."

This is an edited version of the statement released by the Inamori Foundation which cites the achievements of the 2003 Kyoto prize laureates:

Continued on Next Page >>




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