The Kyoto Prize Symposium kicked off its 10th year with a Monday night gala at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel downtown. Three laureates were honored for their outstanding lifetime achievements in the fields of advanced technology, basic sciences and arts and philosophy.
This year’s laureates are Shinya Yamanaka, for his advanced stem cell research at Kyoto University; Hungarian mathematician László Lovász, who specializes in large computer systems; and South African William Kentridge, whose work in painting, sculpture, architecture and design focuses on human rights. Kentridge has also been named by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people in the world.
Influential was the common denominator as a “who’s who” mingled before the awards dinner.
Among the supporters were honorary chairs Irwin Jacobs, the founder of Qualcomm; ResMed’s Peter Farrell; and Union Bank’s Masashi Oka. Also in attendance were Lynda Forsha and Dr. Hugh M. Davies, the CEO of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; oceanographer and past recipient Dr. Walter Munk; Marci and John Cavanaugh; and Renee and Duane Roth of CONNECT.
These three universities will be hosting free lectures by the laureates over the next two days.
“Having renowned scholars in science, technology, arts and philosophy adds such value to the San Diego community, ranging from the inspiration of our youth to bringing together a collection of experts to discuss new and interesting ideas," said Melanie B. Cruz, UCSD’s Division of Physical Sciences director of development. "But most importantly, it demonstrates how societal problems can find solutions through various mediums from mathematics to science to art. This sort of interface is truly indicative of the San Diego culture.”
Dr. Kazuo Inamori, the Kyoto Prize’s founder, has longtime ties to San Diego. Since 1971, San Diego has been the North American headquarters for his company Kyocera.
In his welcoming speech, Inamori acknowledged the recent tsunami and earthquake tragedies in Japan and the importance of progress.
Announcements later included the news that the Kyoto Prize is renewed for at least another four years, and Point Loma Nazarene will be added as a fourth academic partner.
To register for the free lectures, please visit kyotoprize.org.