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8 Win Israel’s Wolf Awards

Seven scientists and an architect have been named recipients of Israel’s prestigious 2013 Wolf Prizes.

The $100,000 prizes, which will be presented in May by Israeli President Shimon Peres during a special Knesset session, were announced Wednesday in Jerusalem by Israeli Minister of Education and Wolf Foundation Council Chair Gideon Sa’ar. The prizes are awarded annually in physics, mathematics, agriculture, and chemistry; and in the arts in a rotation of disciplines.

Eduardo Souto de Mouro from Portugal was awarded the prize for architecture for “showing how buildings can philosophically and experientially engage with the natural world, and for his exceptional skills as a designer,” the prize committee said.

The prize for mathematics was awarded to Prof. George Mostow of Yale University for his fundamental and pioneering contribution to geometry and Lie group theory. He will share the prize with Prof. Michael Artin of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was awarded the prize for his fundamental contributions to algebraic geometry, both commutative and non-commutative.

Prof. Robert S. Langer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was awarded the prize for chemistry for his work in polymer chemistry, which the committee said “have had profound impact on medicine, particularly in the areas of drug delivery and tissue engineering.”

The award for physics went to Prof. Peter Zoller of Innsbruck University in Austria for his work in quantum information processing, quantum optics and the physics of quantum gases. He will share the award with Prof. Juan Ignacio Cirac of the Max Plank Institute of Germany, who is recognized for the same work.

The prize for agriculture was awarded to Prof. Joachim Messing, of the University of California, Los Angeles for innovations in recombinant DNA cloning that revolutionized agriculture and deciphering the genetic codes of crop plants. It is shared by Prof. Jared M. Diamond, of the University of California, Los Angeles, for pioneering theories of crop domestication, the rise of agriculture and its influences on the development and demise of human societies, as well as its impact on the ecology of the environment.

The Wolf Prize in the sciences is considered second in importance to the Nobel Prize and in the arts, the Wolf Prize is considered an extremely important award. Over 33 Wolf Prize recipients have gone on to win the Nobel Prize. Wolf Prize recipients in the sciences include Prof. Avraham Hershko, Prof. Ada Yonath, and Prof. Dan Shechtman, Deputy Chairperson of the Wolf Foundation; Wolf Prize recipients in the arts include Maestros Placido Domingo, Zubin Mehta, conductor Isaac Stern, Daniel Barenboim, and Riccardo Muti.

The Israel-based Wolf Foundation was established by the late German-born inventor, diplomat and philanthropist Dr. Ricardo Wolf, who served as the Cuban ambassador to Israel from 1961 to 1973.

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