Eight people in scientific and architectural fields from the US, Germany,
Austria and Portugal will receive this year’s Wolf Foundation Prize, which is
considered “Israel’s Nobel Prize.”
The names were announced at a Tel Aviv
ceremony on Wednesday night. The eight will share a total of $500,000, which
will be handed out by President Shimon Peres at the Knesset in
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, who is also chairman of the Wolf
Foundation, said: “The announcement of the recipients of the 2013 Wolf Prize is
a cause for celebration in the science and art community in the world and in
This year’s prize recipients join a distinguished group of
leading scientists and artists who have received this prestigious award. The
activities of the Wolf Foundation and its international standings reflect
Israel’s status as a leader in advanced science and research.”
term, we are investing in promoting research excellence, based on our
determination to maintain and strengthen our status at the forefront of global
research, which is crucial for Israel’s future,” Sa’ar added.
Prize is awarded annually by the Wolf Foundation in five areas, with four prizes
in the sciences and one prize in the arts, in fixed rotation.
is awarded to preeminent scientists and artists “for the unique contribution to
mankind and friendly relations among peoples.”
So far, 282 recipients
from 23 countries have been awarded the Wolf Prize. A total of 33 have gone on
to win the Nobel Prize in the sciences; these include Prof. Avraham Hershko,
Prof. Ada Yonath and Prof. Dan Shechtman of Israel.
Wolf Prize recipients
in the arts include maestros Placido Domingo and Zubin Mehta, as well as
conductors Isaac Stern, Daniel Barenboim and Riccardo Muti.
S. Langer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will receive the Wolf
Prize in chemistry “for conceiving and implementing advances in polymer
chemistry that provide both controlled drug-release systems and new
biomaterials.” He is primarily responsible for innovations in polymer chemistry
that have had a profound impact on medicine, particularly in the areas of drug
delivery and tissue engineering.
Prof. George Mostow of Yale University
and Prof. Michael Artin of MIT will share the mathematics prize. Mostow was
cited for his fundamental and pioneering contribution to geometry and Lie group
theory, while Artin cited for his fundamental contributions to algebraic
geometry. Artin’s mathematical accomplishments are “astonishing for their depth
and their scope. He is one of the great geometers of the 20th century,” the
judges panel said.
Prof. Juan Ignacio Cirac of Germany’s Max Planck
Institute and Prof. Peter Zoller of Innsbruck University in Austria will share
the physics prize – both for groundbreaking theoretical contributions to quantum
information processing, quantum optics and the physics of quantum gases. The two
are recognized as among the most prominent theorists in quantum optics, quantum
information science and the theory of quantum gases.
prize will be shared by Prof. Joachim Messing of Rutgers University in New
Jersey and Prof. Jared Diamond of the University of California, Los Angeles.
Messing is cited for innovations in recombinant DNA cloning, which
revolutionized agriculture, and for deciphering the genetic codes of crop
plants. Diamond was praised for pioneering theories of crop domestication, the
rise of agriculture and its influences on the development and demise of human
societies, and its impact on the ecology of the environment.
architecture prize will be awarded to Eduardo Souto de Mouro of Portugal for the
advancement of architectural knowledge in demonstrating how buildings can engage
with the natural world and for his exceptional skills as a designer. Of
particular note, the judges said, is the coexistence that his buildings
establish between society and nature, most poignantly in the stadium at Braga.