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Inamori Foundation Announces 2002 Kyoto Prize Laureates for Lifetime Achievements in Technology, Science and the Arts

Awards honor pursuit of peace and betterment of society

SAN DIEGO — June 21, 2002 —The Inamori Foundation today announced the 2002 laureates of its annual Kyoto Prizes. Considered among the world’s leading awards for lifetime achievement, the Kyoto Prizes are presented annually to individuals and groups worldwide who have contributed significantly to human progress in the areas of “Advanced Technology,” “Basic Sciences,” and “Arts & Philosophy.”

 

 

Each laureate will receive a diploma, a Kyoto Prize gold medal, and a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately US$400,000) during prize ceremonies in Kyoto, Japan, November 10. In addition, the laureates will convene in San Diego, Calif., March 5-7, 2003, for the second annual Kyoto Laureate Symposium at the University of San Diego.

 

Advanced Technology
The 2002 Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology has been chosen from the fields of biotechnology and medical technologies. Receiving the prize will be American biologist Dr. Leroy Edward Hood of Seattle, Wash., president and director of the Institute for Systems Biology. Dr. Hood’s inventions have played a crucial role in advancing the life sciences, contributing particularly to the successful mapping of the human genome during the 1990s -- a process originally predicted to require up to 100 years to complete.

 

The analysis and understanding of amino acid sequences is essential to the field of molecular biology. Dr. Hood’s success in developing automated instruments for the synthesis and determination of protein and DNA sequences represents an outstanding contribution to this field.

 

In 1980, Dr. Hood developed an automatic peptide sequencer that was 100 times more sensitive than previous instruments, dramatically reducing the time required for amino acid sequencing. He unveiled his automated peptide and DNA synthesizers in 1984, followed by the world’s first automated fluorescence DNA sequencer in 1986, the latter of which serving as the precursor to today’s capillary DNA sequencers. Because the arrangement of amino acid sequences forms the genetic code of DNA -- the “blueprint of life” -- this field of research has been greatly advanced by Dr. Hood’s work.

 

Basic Sciences
The 2002 Kyoto Prize for Basic Sciences has been chosen from the field of mathematical sciences. Receiving the prize will be French mathematician Mikhael Leonidovich Gromov, professor at the Institute des Hautes Études Scientifiques near Paris and adjunct professor at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Prof. Gromov’s work has made revolutionary contributions to the development of geometry and many other mathematical fields by introducing a metric structure for families of geometric objects.

 

Prof. Gromov has completely toppled the traditional approaches to geometry. While geometers before him studied individual properties of space, Prof. Gromov proposed the innovative idea of considering the distance between a set of spaces, which he identified as “like” (close) or “unlike” (far), thus creating a deeper understanding of spaces by allowing them to be compared. This idea has enabled him to solve a great number of conundrums, particularly those concerning the relationships between the global structure of a space and its curvature, and the degree to which an object is bent locally. His achievements continue to be developed in new directions, including analysis and algebra. As a result, Professor Gromov has had an immeasurable impact on all of the mathematical sciences.

 

Arts & Philosophy
The 2002 Kyoto Prize for Arts & Philosophy has been chosen from the field of architecture. Receiving the award will be Tadao Ando, a self-taught Japanese architect and professor at the University of Tokyo, for his pioneering modern architecture that forges new visions of harmony with nature.

 

Prof. Ando is known in many nations for applying unique architectural concepts to homes, churches and museums. His major U.S. works include homes in New York City, Chicago and Dallas, as well as the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

 

Ando first attracted broad attention with his Sumiyoshi Row House, a project that won the Architectural Institute of Japan's annual prize for 1979, in which he reinterpreted a traditional Japanese row house in contemporary terms. Subsequent works, such as the Church of the Light (1987-1989, Osaka), the Chikatsu-Asuka Historical Museum (1990-1994, Osaka) and the Benetton Communication Research Centre (1992-2000, Italy) feature dramatic walls of unfinished reinforced concrete in a unique style that achieves a fusion with nature. The superior artistic quality of his works, which maintain a modernist signature while continuing the natural traditions of Japanese architecture, has won global acclaim. In keeping with his conviction that architecture is a social enterprise, Professor Ando has also been actively involved in various social causes, including reconstruction efforts in the wake of the great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake and his work with Japan's Setouchi Olive Foundation, which is dedicated to restoring Teshima Island, where the natural environment has been ravaged by industrial waste.

 

Inamori Foundation Background
The Inamori Foundation was established as a not-for-profit organization in 1984 by Dr. Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera Corporation. Dr. Inamori created the foundation with a personal donation of 20 billion yen, and his subsequent donations have raised its net assets to approximately 64.5 billion yen (roughly US$500 million) as of March 31, 2002.

The Inamori Foundation reflects 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 scientific development and psychological maturity.

 

“Today, we are rushing ahead with incredible scientific and technological achievements, while understanding of our emotional and spiritual development lags deplorably,” Dr. Inamori has said. “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.”

 

Kyoto Prize Background
Dr. Inamori created the Kyoto Prizes after consultation with the Nobel Foundation of Sweden, which received the first Kyoto Prize as a special commemorative award in 1985. Since then, the Kyoto Prizes have been presented annually in the categories of Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and Arts & Philosophy.

 

Over the past 18 years, Kyoto Prizes have been awarded to 57 laureates from 12 countries – ranging from scientists, engineers and researchers to architects, sculptors and film directors. The United States leads all nations with 25 laureates, followed by the United Kingdom (nine), France (seven) and Japan (seven).

 

It is characteristic of the Kyoto Prizes that they are presented in appreciation not only of outstanding human achievements, but also of the spirit that motivated each laureate’s contributions to mankind.

 

 

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Contact:
Jay Scovie, North American Media Liaison
The Inamori Foundation
Phone: 1-(858) 576-2674
e-mail: jay.scovie@kyocera.com

Erin Cecil, Fleishman-Hillard for the Inamori Foundation
Phone: 1-(619) 237-7741
e-mail: cecile@fleishman.com

 

(For San Diego Media)
Stephanie Kellems, Alarus Agency for the Inamori Foundation
Phone: 1-(619) 235-4542
e-mail: skellems@mill.net

 

Download photos:
http://www.kyotoprize.org

 

 

 

 

 

 


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