Inamori foundation awards 28th Kyoto Prize

outstanding achievements in science and culture honoured

12 November 2012

Kyoto/Neuss – The Computer Scientist Dr. Ivan Edward Sutherland, the Molecular Cell Biologist Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi and Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Literary Critic and Educator, received the Kyoto Prize on Saturday. Together with the Nobel Prize, the award is one of the world's highest honours in science and culture. Every year the Inamori Foundation, established by Kyocera founder Dr. Kazuo Inamori, honours laureates in three categories for their lifetime achievements. The honour comes with 50 million Yen (approximately €480,000*) in prize money for each category.

Kyoto Prize 2012 laureates: Dr. Ivan Edward Sutherland, Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi and Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Kyoto Prize 2012 laureates: Dr. Ivan Edward Sutherland, Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi and Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

In a festive ceremony held on Saturday at the Kyoto International Conference Center in the old Japanese imperial capital, the three laureates in the categories of “Advanced Technology,” “Basic Sciences,” and “Arts and Philosophy” received a diploma, the Kyoto Prize medal and prize money. The presentation ceremony took place in the presence of members of the imperial family and over a thousand guests from business, political and cultural circles from around the world.

2012 laureates

Dr. Ivan Edward Sutherland (* 16 May 1938, U.S.A.)

Dr. Ivan Edward Sutherland, an American computer scientist, received the Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology in the prize field of information science. He received the award for his pioneering advances and fundamental contributions to the computer graphics technology used for information presentation as well as interactive interfaces.

Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi (* 9 February 1945, Japan)

Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi was honoured with the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences in the prize field of Life Sciences. The Molecular Cell Biologist has made groundbreaking contributions to science in his cellular genetic study of autophagy (also known as “cellular self-cannibalization”) in yeast.

Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (* 24 February 1942, India)

The Indian intellectual Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is the laureate in the prize field Thought and Ethics. She was honoured for her theoretical work for the humanities based on comparative literature and her devotion to multifaceted educational activities.

Kyoto Prize: an award with tradition

With its Kyoto Prize, the Inamori Foundation honours the outstanding lifetime achievements of individuals and groups who have excelled in the further development of the sciences and arts. The prize was initiated in 1984 by Kazuo Inamori, founder of the Japanese technology company Kyocera, which is headquartered in Kyoto. Kyoto Prize awards are presented annually in November by the Inamori Foundation, also established by Kazuo Inamori, in three categories: "Advanced Technology," "Basic Sciences" and "Arts and Philosophy."

Among the many distinguished laureates over the past 27 years are the late German choreographer Pina Bausch, German philosopher Jürgen Habermas, Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, French composer Pierre Boulez and English primatologist Jane Goodall. Furthermore this year’s Nobel Prize winner in Medicine – Shinya Yamanaka – was awarded the Kyoto Prize in 2010.

For additional information on the Kyoto Prize and the Inamori Foundation, please visit

* £ 391.000 at October 2012 exchange rate

Photos: © Inamori Foundation 2012

Copies: Free of charge; please provide specimen copies to Kyocera Fineceramics GmbH Further photo material available upon request

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