The Gruber Foundation, a Type 1 supporting organization operated and supervised by Yale University, has announced the recipients of the 2018 Gruber Prizes in neuroscience, genetics, and cosmology.
The prizes are given to up to three leading scientists in each category in recognition of their groundbreaking contributions to a field. Each honoree will receive a $500,000 cash award as well as a gold laureate pin.
The Cosmology Prize was awarded to the Planck Team and members Jean-Loup Puget and Nazzareno Mandolesi, the leaders, respectively, of Planck's high-frequency and low-frequency instrument consortia. Part of an international collaboration organized by the European Space Agency, the team used the ESA Planck spacecraft to measure, with unprecedented precision, the matter content and geometry of the universe, the imprint on the cosmic microwave background (CMB) of hot gas in galaxy clusters, and when the first stars formed, and provided unique information about interstellar dust and magnetic fields in our galaxy.
The Genetics Prize was awarded to Joanne Chory of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Elliot Meyerowitz of the California Institute of Technology for their work in identifying the basic regulatory and biochemical mechanisms underlying the development of plants, which has revolutionized the field of plant molecular biology. And the Neuroscience Prize was awarded to Ann M. Graybiel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Okihide Hikosaka of the National Institutes of Health's National Eye Institute, and Wolfram Schultz of the University of Cambridge for their work on the structure, organization and functions of the basal ganglia, a group of nuclei (clusters of neurons) deep within the forebrain — research that has led to new ideas about how the brain learns and retains habits and skills, manages movements, and processes rewards for learning and decision-making.
"My late husband, Peter Gruber, and I established an International Prize Program in 2000 to honor and encourage outstanding individuals in the sciences and human rights," said Patricia Gruber, co-founder and president emeritus of the foundation. "My husband would likely have been as delighted as I am today to see the continuing vitality of the sciences in the 2018 Gruber Prize recipients, as well as in all the Gruber programs at Yale."
(Image credit: Planck Team)