Zubin Mehta among six to share $3 million Dan David Prizes

Award given for outstanding achievement in science, technology, culture and social impact.

zubin mehta 88 298 (photo credit: Courtesy)
zubin mehta 88 298
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A total of $3 million will be awarded to six people in three categories of achievement, when the Dan David Prizes for 2007 are presented in a ceremony in March in Paris. The winners in the Past, Present and Future Dimensions were announced late last week. The Dan David Prize recognizes and awards outstanding achievement in areas of science, technology, culture and social impact. Now in its sixth year, the prizes are funded by the Dan David Foundation in cooperation with Tel Aviv University and the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. It was established by businessman Dan David, who wanted to recognize achievement in the relevant fields of activity, as well as fostering the next generation of scholars. All the laureates must donate a 10th of their prize money to outstanding doctoral students in their respective areas. The Past Time Dimension prize will go to French historian Jacques Le Goff for his contribution to knowledge of the European Middle Ages; he is one of the founding fathers of what has come to be known as "historical anthropology," an approach based on an open, broad and imaginative collaboration between history and the social sciences. The Present Time Dimension prize will be shared by maestro Zubin Mehta and Pascal Dusapin. Mehta, who is one of the world's leading conductors, was born into a Parsee family in April 1936. He was music director of the New York Philharmonic for 13 years and has been involved in Israel and with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra since 1961. Dusapin, an outstanding French composer of contemporary music, has worked with the most prestigious musical institutions across the world. The Future Time Dimension prize will be shared by three scientists in the field of energy - Sarah Kurtz, Jerry Olson and James Hansen. Kurtz and Olson have made exceptional contributions to the field of photovoltaic energy over the past two decades as principal scientists at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado. Their work on developing the multi-junction solar cell has the potential to alleviate the world's impending energy crisis. These solar cells have demonstrated much higher solar energy conversion efficiency and are already the choice for most space applications. Prof. Hansen, of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York, is one of a handful of scientists whose detailed and persistent scientific work has brought about a change in the public perception of Earth. Among his contributions to climate research are an understanding of the various forces that govern Earth's radiation budget, when increasing amounts of trace gases and aerosols in the atmosphere prevent the escape of terrestrial infrared energy, thereby causing the planet to warm. In February, the Dan David Foundation signed an agreement with France in which both countries agreed to actively promote the Dan David Prize within the scientific community and other relevant communities in France and internationally. It was decided that, starting in 2007, the award ceremony will alternate each year between Paris and Tel Aviv.