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What every scholar should know about the 2014 Kyoto Prize

What every scholar should know about the 2014 Kyoto Prize

The Kyoto Prize, Japan’s highest award presented annually for outstanding lifetime achievement, will be announced tomorrow, June 20, 2014. The internationally esteemed prize is presented to selected intellectuals worldwide who have devoted themselves for the scientific, cultural, or spiritual betterment for humanity. Individuals are selected from fields that are not traditionally honored by the Nobel Prize. These fields fall under three categories: Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and Arts and Philosophy, and rotate every year. While the Kyoto Prize is given annually, each field is featured only once every four years. This year's Kyoto Prize recognizes those from Biotechnology and Medical Technology, Mathematical Sciences, and Arts. 

Kyoto Prize categories and rotating fields





Biological Sciences (Evolution, Behavior, Ecology, Environment)


Biotechnology and Medical Technology

Mathematical Sciences
(including Pure Mathematics)

Arts (Painting, Sculpture, Craft, Architecture, Design)

Materials Science and Engineering

Earth and Planetary Sciences, Astronomy and Astrophysics


Theater, Cinema

Information Science

Life Sciences (Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Neurobiology)

Thought and Ethics

The Kyoto Prize is granted by the Inamori Foundation, endowed by the founder of Kyocera International, Dr. Kazuo Inamori. Recipients are given a diploma, the 20K gold Kyoto Prize Medal adorned by emeralds and rubies, and prize money of 50 million yen. The foundation follows established procedures to select its candidates through the three-tiered structure of the Kyoto Prize Selection Organization. This organization consists entirely of Japanese members who are responsible for keeping a global perspective. Each year, international experts in each of the prize categories are solicited worldwide for nominations. The pool of nominees are reviewed for criteria by three tiers of committees whose recommendations go to the Board of Directors for approval.
The philosophy behind the Kyoto Prize is Dr. Inamori’s “lifelong belief that a human being has no higher calling than to strive for the greater good of humanity and the world.” Dr. Inamori himself will announce this year’s recipients of the Kyoto Prize.
The Kyoto Prize Presentation Ceremony at which the awardees will be given the Prize is to be held on November 10 in Kyoto, Japan. The Kyoto Prize Symposium is a US presentation that is held every spring in San Diego, California, USA, at which the laureates provide lectures along with other events. Last year’s award recipients were Robert Heath Dennard for Advanced Technology, Masatoshi Nei for Basic Sciences, and Cecil Taylor for Arts and Philosophy. The first Kyoto Prize recipients were presented about 30 years ago.  


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