U.S. Materials Scientist, Russian Astrophysicist and Japanese Kabuki Actor Receive 27th Annual Kyoto Prize from Japan’s Inamori Foundation

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KYOTO, JAPAN — November 10, 2011 —The non-profit Inamori Foundation (President: Dr. Kazuo Inamori) today presented its 27th Annual Kyoto Prizes, Japan’s highest private awards for lifetime achievement, in Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and Arts and Philosophy.

Each laureate received a diploma, a 20-karat gold Kyoto Prize medal and a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately US$640,000) in recognition of lifelong contributions to society. The laureates will reconvene in San Diego, Calif. March 20-22, 2012, to participate in North America’s eleventh annual Kyoto Prize Symposium.

The 2011 Kyoto Prize in “Advanced Technology” was presented to Dr. John W. Cahn,(83; citizenship: U.S.), a materials scientist currently serving as emeritus senior fellow at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (http://www.nist.gov), and affiliate professor at University of Washington.  Dr. Cahn established the theory of three-dimensional spinodal decomposition, which has played a key role in materials science and engineering by allowing alloy materials to be engineered for highly specific structural and functional characteristics. This theory has found universal application in the design and production of better-performing metals, glass, semiconductors, polymers, and thermal materials requiring unique properties — including extreme strength, thermal conductivity, pore permeability, heat resistance, and magnetism.  Dr. Cahn’s research findings have also laid the foundation for the phase-field method, one of the hottest research topics of recent years in the materials sciences.  His work has generated productive lines of research not only in metallurgy but also in physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, economics and demography.

The 2011 Kyoto Prize in “Basic Sciences” was presented to Dr. Rashid Sunyaev, (68; citizenship: Russia and Germany), an astrophysicist who serves as director of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (www.mpa-garching.mpg.de) and chief scientist at the Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences (www.iki.rssi.ru).  Dr. Sunyaev’s work helped reveal that cosmic acoustic oscillations from the beginning of time can be observed in today’s cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) — and that CMBR fluctuations can be used as a means of exploring the expanding universe. Dr. Sunyaev has also contributed significantly to high-energy astronomy. His theories serve both as a starting point for structural research on celestial objects and as the basis for describing black holes, protostars and active galactic nuclei, ranking among the most often-cited original research in the field of astronomy today.

The 2011 Kyoto Prize in “Arts and Philosophy” was presented to Tamasaburo Bando V, (61; citizenship: Japan), an actor who has created his own unique world of traditional Kabuki theater and contributed to many other genres of performing arts. He has delivered acclaimed performances in onnagata (Kabuki female roles), establishing himself as atate oyama, or leading actor of female roles, in the contemporary Kabuki scene. Tamasaburo has devoted his life to the craft from childhood, making his stage debut at the age of seven. At 19 he was selected to play the role of Princess Shiranui in the Kabuki drama, Chinsetsu Yumiharizuki (The Moon Like a Drawn Bow).  Beyond the world of Kabuki theater, he has been featured by the Metropolitan Opera and performed with renowned artists from around the globe. His films include Gekashitsu (TheOperating Room), which he co-wrote and directed, and Andrzej Wajda’s Nastasja.Tamasaburo’s artistry makes a multifaceted world come alive in numerous different performing arts and continues to hold audiences spellbound.

The Inamori Foundation 
The non-profit Inamori Foundation was established in 1984 by Dr. Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera and KDDI Corporation. The Foundation created the Kyoto Prize in 1985, in line with Dr. Inamori’s belief that a human being has no higher calling than to strive for the greater good of society, and that the future of humanity can be assured only when there is a balance between our scientific progress and our spiritual depth. As of the 27th Kyoto Prize ceremony (November 10, 2011), the prize has been awarded to 87 individuals and one foundation — collectively representing 15 nations. Individual laureates range from scientists, engineers and researchers to philosophers, painters, architects, sculptors, musicians and film directors.  The United States has produced the most recipients (35), followed by Japan (15), the United Kingdom (12), and France (8).