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Inamori Foundation Announces 2001 Kyoto Prize Laureates

$410,000 Awards Recognize Lifetime Achievement Internationally

KYOTO, JAPAN (June 16, 2001) -- The Inamori Foundation (President: Kazuo Inamori) today announced the laureates of its 2001 Kyoto Prizes. The Prizes are international awards presented to individuals or groups who have contributed greatly 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.

The 2001 Kyoto Prize Presentation Ceremony will be held at the Kyoto International Conference Hall on November 10, 2001. At the ceremony, each laureate will receive a diploma, a Kyoto Prize Medal of 20-karat gold, and a cash gift totaling up to 50 million yen (approximately US$410,000) per prize category.


Advanced Technology
The 2001 Kyoto Prize laureates for Advanced Technology (field selected: Electronics) will be Dr. Zhores Ivanovich Alferov (Russia, age 71), a physicist, Vice-President of The Russian Academy of Sciences, and Director of The Ioffe Institute of Physics and Technology; Dr. Izuo Hayashi (Japan, age 79), a physicist and member of The Engineering Academy of Japan; and Dr. Morton B. Panish (U.S., age 72), a physical chemist and member of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences and Engineering. These three scientists helped pave the way for the application of semiconductor lasers to optical electronics by achieving the continuous operation of semiconductor lasers at room temperature.


IT (information technology) has attracted a great deal of attention throughout the world. Nevertheless, the current rapid progress in IT could never have occurred were it not for the development of its infrastructure in fiber-optic communications. Dr. Z. I. Alferov, Dr. I. Hayashi and Dr. M. B. Panish made pioneering contributions to the advancement of optoelectronics with the development of semiconductor lasers, a key technology supporting fiber-optic communications.


Lasing operation of semiconductor lasers was first realized in liquid nitrogen in 1962, but it was believed at that time that a long road remained before the device could be put to practical use. In 1970, however, the three scientists almost simultaneously achieved continuous operation of semiconductor lasers at room temperature. This triggered rapid progress in the development of practical semiconductor lasers. Today, this advanced technology has become an integral part of modern life, applied to CD players, laser printers and laser knives, as well as fiber-optic communications, due to its high light-emitting efficiency, compactness, light weight and low cost.


Basic Sciences
The 2001 Kyoto Prize for Basic Sciences has been chosen from the field of Biological Sciences. The laureate is Professor John Maynard Smith (U.K., age 81), Professor Emeritus, University of Sussex, who has established a unified understanding of fundamental issues in evolutionary biology through his proposal of the idea of an evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) employing game theory.


Since the last half of the 1960s, the idea of "selfish genes" has become a basic concept of modern biology. To explain cases of organisms that exhibit altruistic and cooperative behavior, including bees and ants, Dr. William Donald Hamilton, a laureate of the 1993 Kyoto Prizes, proposed the idea of "kindred selection." However, cooperative behavior can also be seen between non-relatives, and this difficult problem in biology has been resolved by Professor Maynard Smith's theory of the "evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS).”


Using the principles of game theory in economics, he clearly demonstrated the reason animals do not kill their competitors when they fight. He pointed out that trying to kill one's competitors, a hawkish strategy, increases the likelihood for oneself to be killed, and that avoiding being hurt, a dovish strategy, is more likely to lead to increased production of offspring. In short, he concluded that the selfish behavior of each group produces a social relationship in equilibrium. ESS is now a key concept for achieving a more unified understanding of the diverse field of biology.


Arts and Philosophy
The 2001 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy has been selected from the field of Music. The laureate is Mr. György Ligeti (Austria, age 78), a composer. This master of modern music has enchanted people the world over with his unique musical style.


Born in Hungary, Mr. Ligeti first came into contact with the avant-garde music of Western Europe in 1956, when the Hungarian uprising forced him to flee to Austria. Seeing through the limitations of serialism (the mainstream music of the time), he experimented with electronic music before establishing his reputation with "Apparitions," a piece that features his original tone cluster technique. "Atmospheres," a subsequent piece that was featured in the film, "2001: A Space Odyssey," was written with a technique called "micropolyphony." In later decades, the background to Mr. Ligeti's creative work continued to expand. In the 1960s, he was one of the first proponents of minimalism, followed in the 1970s with the avant-garde opera "Le Grand Macabre," and in the 1980s by a group of pieces with strongly delineated polyrhythms. Mr. Ligeti's music is the product of a fierce will that always transcends modern music categories and fascinates people with its rich sound and fullness of human feeling.


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 human beings have no higher calling than to strive for the greater good of humankind and all the world, and that mankind's 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 they 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 over the years. The laureates are selected through a strict and impartial process from candidates recommended from around the world. Since 1985, the Prizes have been awarded to 51 individuals (including 5 Japanese) and one group.



Jay Scovie, North American Media Liaison / The Inamori Foundation
Telephone: (858) 576-2674 E-mail:


Melissa Morales / Edelman Public Relations
Telephone: (323) 857-9100 work, (626) 290-3529 (cell)


Seiichi Nagataka, Manager, Public Affairs / The Inamori Foundation
Telephone: 075-255-2688 E-mail: