Now in its fourteenth year, the Shaw Prizes honor individuals who have achieved significant breakthroughs in academic and scientific research or application and whose work has had a profound and positive impact on mankind. Each prize comes with a cash award of $1.2 million.
This year's prize in astronomy was awarded to Simon D.M. White, director of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany, who has advanced the understanding of structure formation in the universe by showing how small density fluctuations in the early universe developed into galaxies and other nonlinear structures. The Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine will be shared by Ian R Gibbons, visiting researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and Ronald D Vale, vice chair of the Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology Department at the University of California, San Francisco and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for their discovery of microtubule-associated motor proteins — engines that drive nerve cell growth and chromosome inheritance essential to human development. And the prize in mathematical sciences will be shared by Princeton University professor János Kollár and Claire Voisin, chair in algebraic geometry at the Collège de France, whose work has transformed the field of algebraic geometry and led to the solution of longstanding problems that had appeared out of reach.