Dan David Prize Foundation names 2012 laureates

Winners include Stanford, Oxford professors Robert Conquest, Martin Gilbert, South African artist William Kentridge.

Dan David Prize 390 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Dan David Prize 390
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The international Dan David Foundation announced the names of its 2012 laureates for prizes in outstanding achievement on Wednesday.
The foundation will award the $1 million Dan David Prizes during a ceremony at Tel Aviv University on June 10.
The winners in the biography/ history section include Stanford University Prof. Robert Conquest, a British historian who is an expert in Soviet history, and University of Oxford Prof. Martin Gilbert, an expert in Jewish history. William Kentridge of South Africa won for his artwork. In addition, biologists David Botstein, J. Craig Venter and Eric Lander won for their genome research.
The Tel Aviv University-based foundation hands out the awards each year in three different time frames – past, present, and future. The laureates split the winnings in each category and donate 10 percent of their prize towards 20 doctoral and postdoctoral scholarships.
The Dan David Foundation said that Conquest won for his work on Soviet policy of the 1930s that “exposed the horrors of the famine that resulted from the policy of collectivization.”
Gilbert received the prize for his six-volume biography of Sir Winston Churchill, which was “one of the most remarkable feats of biography to be published in modern times,” according to the foundation.
The institution praised Kentridge for showing “the power of art to make a difference,” as well as his “extremely diversified body of work.”
In the genome research category, the foundation referred to Botstein as “an intellectual leader of genomics since its inception,” while it noted Venter’s “groundbreaking contributions to genomics.” It also praised Lander for being “a major intellectual force in genomics research” and for “placing genomics on a firm qualitative foundation.”
Last year, the Dan David Prize recognized four leaders in the fields of human ageing, cinema and society, and evolution.
Among the winners were American filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, known for No Country for Old Men and The Big Lebowski, among others. The Coen brothers won for their “capacity to bring narrative complexity to apparently simple plots,” according to the foundation.