Two Scientists and an Artist Receive 34th Kyoto Prize from the Inamori Foundation
The Kyoto Prize was established in 1984 by Kazuo Inamori, founder of the Kyoto-based Kyocera.
Neuroscientist Karl Deisseroth, Ph.D., mathematician Masaki Kashiwara, Ph.D., and artist Joan Jones recently received the Kyoto Prize from the Inamori Foundation. This year’s laureates received the 34th Kyoto Prize in the categories of Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and Arts and Philosophy. The prestigious honor is always awarded on November 10 in a formal ceremony at the Kyoto International Conference Center. All three laureates accepted the prize in the presence of Princess Takamado, a member of the Imperial Family of Japan, as well as numerous international guests from the fields of business, culture, and politics. The Kyoto Prize includes a diploma, a Kyoto Prize medal, and prize money of ¥100 million (approximately $884.3 million) per category.
Deisseroth, professor and scientist at Stanford University, focused on microbial light-activated proteins such as channelrhodopsin of green algae and spearheaded optogenetics, a new methodological discipline in which neurons can be activated or inhibited on the millisecond scale using light. This achievement has revolutionized the field of systems neuroscience, enabling causal study of neuronal assembly activity and resulting function beyond correlational studies.
Kashiwara, professor at Kyoto University, established the theory of D-modules, thereby playing a decisive role in the creation and development of algebraic analysis. His numerous achievements, including the establishment of the Riemann-Hilbert correspondence, its application to representation theory, and construction of crystal basis theory, have exerted great influence on various fields of mathematics, and contributed strongly to their development.
Jonas, emeritus professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, created a new artistic form by integrating performance art and video art, and has evolved her original medium at the forefront of contemporary art. Creating labyrinth-like works that lead audiences to diverse interpretations, she continues the legacy of 1960s avant-garde art by developing it into a postmodern framework, profoundly impacting artists of future generations.
The Kyoto Prize was established in 1984 by Kazuo Inamori, founder of the Kyoto-based Kyocera. In the past 33 years, laureates included important dignitaries such as choreographer Pina Bausch, philosopher Jürgen Habermas, Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, French composer Pierre Boulez, and molecular biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi, who received the Nobel Prize for his research in 2017. This year’s Nobel Prize laureate for medicine, Tasuku Honjo, was also awarded the Kyoto Prize in 2016.