New 2012 Kyoto Prize Laureates Announced!

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The 2012 Kyoto Prize Laureates
Dr. Ivan Sutherland, 74, is an American computer scientist and visiting scientist at Portland State University. He is widely regarded as the “Father of Computer Graphics” for his lifetime of pioneering work in developing visual methods of interacting with computers. Dr. Sutherland is perhaps best known for developing Sketchpad in 1963, a graphical interface program that allowed the user to directly manipulate figures on a screen through a pointing device. Sketchpad’s interactive interface was years ahead of its time; today’s computer-aided design (CAD) systems are just one common example of how this innovation has contributed to the field. Numerous computer graphic-based applications – ranging from films, games and virtual reality systems to educational materials, scientific and technological simulations, and other design aids for engineers – are descendants of Dr. Sutherland’s original work on Sketchpad.

Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi*, 67, is a Japanese scientist, researcher and professor who has made groundbreaking contributions toward elucidating the molecular mechanisms and physiological significance of autophagy, demonstrating how a cell degrades its own proteins in order to adapt to nutritional deficiency and other influences. Autophagy is now regarded as a vital cell-recycling system and may aid in future developments to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and other age-related ailments. Dr. Ohsumi is currently a professor at the Frontier Research Center of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where he and his colleagues continue their world-leading work in autophagy.

Professor Gayatri Spivak*, 70, is an Indian intellectual, activist, and University Professor at Columbia University (the highest honor for professors at Columbia), where she is also a founder of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. She exemplifies the modern intellectual through her theoretical work for the humanities based on comparative literature and her devotion to multifaceted educational activities, especially in developing regions. Her work often focuses on those marginalized by a dominant western culture, including the new immigrant, the working class and women, among others. She is perhaps best known for her essay “Can the Subaltern Speak?,” which spotlights those who are economically dispossessed, forcibly marginalized and rendered without agency by their social status.