Kyoto Prize 2014: Inamori Foundation announces this year’s laureates

20 June 2014

The Kyoto Prize, alongside the Nobel Prize one of the world’s highest honors for the lifetime achievement of outstanding personalities in the fields of culture and science, is being awarded this year to biomedical engineer Dr. Robert Samuel Langer, theoretical physicist Dr. Edward Witten and dyeing and weaving artist Fukumi Shimura. Each worth 50 million yen (around €362,000/£292,000*), the prizes are awarded each year by the Inamori Foundation, which was initiated in 1984 by Dr. Kazuo Inamori, founder of the Japanese technology corporation Kyocera.

With its Kyoto Prize, the Inamori Foundation pays tribute to the lifetime achievement of personalities who have excelled in their fields through outstanding accomplishments. In accordance with tradition, the presentation ceremony will be traditionally held in Kyoto on 10 November 2014.

Kyoto Prize Laureates 2014

The Committee awards the Kyoto Prize in the categories “Advanced Technology”, “Basic Sciences” and “Arts and Philosophy”. This year the laureates are being honored in the related prize categories “Biotechnology and Medical Technology”, “Mathematical Sciences” and “Arts”.

Dr. Robert Samuel Langer (b. 29 August 1948, USA)

Dr. Robert Samuel Langer, winner of the Kyoto Prize 2014
Dr. Robert Samuel Langer

Dr. Langer founded the tissue engineering which is indispensable for the implementation of regenerative medicine, by applying biodegradable polymer technologies to construct “scaffolds” for cells, thereby succeeding in the regeneration of various organs. He has also developed drug delivery system technologies for the controlled release of proteins, nucleic acids, and other macromolecular drugs, and has actively promoted their practical applications. Dr. Langer is a pioneer to take the lead in the
interdisciplinary field of medicine and engineering.

Dr. Edward Witten (b. 26 August 1951, USA)

Dr. Edward Witten, winner of the Kyoto Prize 2014
Dr. Edward Witten

Dr. Witten has made significant contributions to theoretical physics for more than 30 years as a leader in the dramatic evolution of superstring theory. Moreover, by applying his physical intuition and
mathematical skills, he has advanced mathematics, and prompted the cutting-edge research of many mathematicians. His achievements are both unique and outstanding.

Fukumi Shimura (b. 30 September 1924, Japan)

Fukumi Shimura, winner of the Kyoto Prize 2014
Fukumi Shimura

Ms. Shimura has developed her original style of art, commanding an extraordinarily colorful range of plant-dyed yarns as her visual vocabulary and unleashing her imagination to improvise an infinite
resonance of colors over canvases of tsumugi kimono. Through a constant communication with nature and deep meditation, she has cultivated a “tender and flexible thought that advances to weave human existence into nature.”

The official press conference with the announcement of the laureates is available on the Inamori Foundation’s website:

About the Kyoto-Prize

With this year’s 30th Kyoto Prize, the Inamori Foundation will award personalities who have significantly contributed to the further development of the arts and sciences. Among those who have received the prize in past were the French composer Pierre Boulez, the German choreographer Pina Bausch, the philosopher Jürgen Habermas, the Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, the musician and conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the artists Maurice Béjart and Roy Lichtenstein as well as the primatologist Jane Goodall.

*Exchange rate from 18 June 2014