Dan David Prizes to be divided among 5 TAU laureates

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February 23, 2011 03:43

The winners include leading lights in the fields of evolution, ageing and cinema.

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A total of $3 million will be shared in May by five laureates of the international Dan David Prize, named after the international businessman and philanthropist and headquartered at Tel Aviv University.

The names of the winners, who include leading lights in the fields of evolution, ageing and cinema, were disclosed on Tuesday.

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The laureates were grouped according to Past, Present and Future Dimensions.

Prof. Marcus Feldman of Stanford University will receive his award for Past on the basis of his work in animal and plant evolution. His work, said the judges’ panel, has led to highly focused insights of cultural significance in different civilizations and not only explores basic scientific topics, but investigates the societal consequences of the conclusions he draws in terms of models of evolution.

Joel and Ethan Coen of the US will receive the Present prize for their creative partnership, unique in the history of filmmaking.

Their control over final cut of their films, their grasp of film genres, black comedy, and their capacity to bring narrative complexity to apparently simple plots have become hallmarks of their films, said the judges. Among their films are Blood Simple, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, No Country for Old Men and Barton Fink.

The Future prize will be given to Prof. Cynthia Kenyon of the University of California at San Francisco and Prof. Gary Ruvkun of Harvard Medical School.

Kenyon was described as “a visionary whose work has established that ageing is genetically regulated.”

Ruvkun has researched an encoded hormone receptor similar to human insulin.

“Kenyon’s pioneering work, and Ruvkun’s contributions give good reason to think that life-span could be extended in man, and that the onset of diseases of old-age could be delayed genetically or with drugs,” the jury said.

The laureates, who donate a tenth of their prize money towards 20 doctoral and postdoctoral scholarships, will be honored at a ceremony on May 15 at Tel Aviv University in the presence of the President Shimon Peres.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, who was awarded a Dan David Prize last year but was unable to attend, will be at the May ceremony and will receive it.


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