Inamori Foundation Presents Year 2000 Kyoto Prize Laureates
$470,000 Awards Honor Human AchievementKYOTO, JAPAN (November 10, 2000) -- The Inamori Foundation (President: Kazuo Inamori) today presented its year 2000 Kyoto Prizes to a British computer scientist, a Swiss developmental biologist, and a French philosopher, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the advancement of society.
The Kyoto Prizes are international awards presented to individuals or groups who have contributed significantly to mankind's scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment. Each year, the Foundation presents Kyoto Prizes in the categories of Advanced Technology; Basic Sciences; and Arts and Philosophy.
During the Kyoto Prize Presentation Ceremony today at the Kyoto International Conference Hall, each laureate received a diploma, a Kyoto Prize Medal of 20-karat gold, and a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately US$470,000).
The 2000 Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology was chosen from the field of Information Science. The laureate is Professor Sir Charles Antony Richard Hoare (U.K., age 66), a professor emeritus at Oxford University and a computer scientist who has made pioneering and fundamental contributions to the development of software science.
Computers would never have become as prevalent as they are today without advances at the software level. Since the 1960s, when people spoke of a software crisis accompanying the shift to large-capacity computers, Professor Hoare made significant contributions to the progress of software science by presenting a number of papers based on his axiomatic approach to greater software reliability. These essential contributions, made possible by his theory on the definition and design of programming languages (known as Hoares Logic), are a monumental accomplishment in the history of software science.
Professor Hoare also originated the concepts of data types and rules for verification to provide a methodology for ensuring the validity and reliability of software. This methodology was later incorporated into PASCAL and many other programming languages. His contribution of CSP (Communicating Sequential Processes), a logical framework for describing the behavior of parallel processing systems, has had a substantial impact on the diffusion and practical application of parallel computers.
Professor Hoare has elucidated scientific approaches to creating a secure information society, each linked to a software core. It would be safe to say that without his contributions, the progress in software engineering as we know it today would have been quite different.
The 2000 Kyoto Prize for Basic Sciences was chosen from the fields of Life Sciences. The laureate is Professor Walter J. Gehring (Swiss, age 61), a professor at the University of Basel and a developmental biologist who discovered the homeobox and its conserved developmental mechanisms.
In the field of developmental biology, which studies the morphogenesis of individual organisms from a single fertilized egg to the adult stage, the discovery of the homeobox by Professor Gehring represents a groundbreaking achievement. In fact, the identification of the homeobox may be viewed as being more important than the homeotic genes that give rise to segmental structures.
In 1983, Professor Gehring applied a molecular biological approach to his experimental studies of Drosophila, and found a specific base sequence conserved within all homeotic genes, which he named the homeobox. Later, he expanded the scope of his research to analyze the role of homeobox-containing genes in developmental processes, and to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which DNA-binding proteins (termed homeodomains) are regulated by the homeobox. Through his research, he discovered that the homeobox exists universally in species ranging from lower organisms to humans. Taking note of the surprisingly similar base sequences present in even phylogenetically distant organisms, he hypothesized that the genes involved in developmental control had been conserved throughout evolution, and that all organisms essentially undergo a developmental process based on these conserved molecular mechanisms.
These discoveries represent major breakthroughs in developmental biology, serving as significant contributions to the establishment of a new paradigm for the fundamental understanding of evolution, biological phylogeny and diversity.
Arts and Philosophy
The 2000 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy was chosen from the field of Philosophy. The laureate is Professor Paul Ricur (French, age 87), a professor emeritus both at the University of Paris and at the University of Chicago, and a philosopher who built an imposing structure of hermeneutic phenomenology that embraces a new concept of ethics.
While firmly in the tradition of reflexive philosophy, Dr. Ricur has revolutionized the methods of hermeneutic phenomenology, expanding his original study of textual interpretation to include the broad yet concrete domains of mythology, biblical exegesis, psychoanalysis, theory of metaphor, and narrative theory. He has had an enormous impact on the realm of philosophy, not only in his native country, France, but also in Britain and the United States, as one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century.
Starting after World War II with studies of the phenomenology of Husserl and the existential philosophy of Jaspers and Marcel, Dr. Ricur eventually incorporated psychoanalysis and British and American analytic philosophical methods to construct subtle yet imposing hermeneutic phenomenology. In La métaphore vive (1975) (The Rule of Metaphor), Dr. Ricur presented metaphor not as a mere topic of literary theory, but as a basic phenomenon of human being; while in Temps et récit (1983-85) (Time and Narrative) he made it clear that humans are historical beings who make up stories in time about the conditions that affect their actions, demonstrating, in effect, that human beings are themselves well-told stories.
Likewise, in Soi-même comme un autre (1990) (Oneself as Another) he set an ethical goal, which is to live well with and for others in just institutions, thereby breathing new life into contemporary ethics that had been driven into a corner by that time.
Dr. Ricurs numerous accomplishments, together with his conviction that philosophy has a mission to unify different branches of knowledge, form the foundation of hermeneutics, which aims to bridge the gaps between philosophy, literature, and other human sciences while opening up the possibility of new insights in the coming century.
The Inamori Foundation was established in 1984 by Dr. Kazuo Inamori, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Kyocera Corporation. The Kyoto Prizes were founded in 1985, in line with Dr. Inamori's belief that man has no higher calling than to strive for the greater good of humankind and all the world, and that mankinds future can be assured only when there is a balance between our scientific development and our psychological maturity. It is characteristic of the Kyoto Prizes that the awards are presented to individuals or groups in appreciation not only of their outstanding achievements, but also of their excellent personalities on which their contributions to mankind have been based. The laureates are selected through a strict and fair process from among candidates recommended from around the world. As of today, the Kyoto Prizes have been awarded to 51 individuals (including five Japanese) and one group.
Jay Scovie, North American Media Liaison / The Inamori Foundation
Telephone: (858) 576-2674
Melissa Morales / Edelman Public Relations
Telephone: (323) 857-9100
Seiichi Nagataka, Manager, Public Affairs / The Inamori Foundation