Posted: June 4, 2008

US, Japanese scientists win Asturias prize

(Nanowerk News) Three Americans and two Japanese scientists hailed for developing materials to fight diseases and protect the environment were named winners Wednesday of the Prince of Asturias prize.
The scientists won the 2008 technical and scientific research award for their work in the field of nanotechnology, the Prince of Asturias Foundation said.
The five, who work separately, are physicist Sumio Iijima; engineers Shuji Nakamura and Robert Langer, and chemists George Whitesides and Tobin Marks.
"These scientists have created new, revolutionary materials and transcendental techniques for fighting diseases, such as those related to the brain and cancer, and for producing artificial tissues and organs," the foundation said in a statement.
"Their work also stands out for its contribution to the protection of the environment and energy-saving via the use of new sources of clean energy that may be produced at a low cost," the foundation said.
Eight Prince of Asturias prizes are awarded each year in categories such as arts, scientific research, sports, letters and humanities.
They will be awarded a $78,000 cash prize and a sculpture by the Spanish artist Joan Miro. The prizes are named for Prince Felipe, heir to the Spanish crown, and are presented each fall in Oviedo, capital of the northern region of Asturias.
Iijima, who works at Meijo University, is credited with discovering carbon nanotubes, giving rise to a new generation of ultralight, ultrastrong materials used in the safe storage of hydrogen, one of the fuels of the future.
Nakamura, now working at the University of California, Santa Barbara, invented LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes, a revolutionary source of energy-saving light.
Langer is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he directs an internationally renowned biomedical research laboratory. He is considered the father of intelligent drug delivery in the body, greatly enhancing the treatment of different types of cancer.
Whitesides teaches at Harvard University and has won numerous awards for his work in developed nanoscale materials.
Marks works at Northwestern University and is considered a leader in the field of chemical catalysis, having developed numerous types of recyclable, environmentally friendly plastics.
Source: Associated Press
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