Seven take Wolf Prizes for math, science

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Seven renowned scientists are the winners of the prestigious Wolf Prizes.

The $100,000 prizes, which will be presented in May by Israeli President Shimon Peres during a special Knesset session, were announced Monday in Jerusalem by Israeli Minister of Education and Wolf Foundation Council Chair Gideon Sa’ar.

The prize for medicine was awarded to Professor Axel Ullrich of Germany for groundbreaking cancer research that has led to the development of innovative drugs, among them Receptin, for treatment of women with metastatic breast cancer.

Sir David Baulcombe, Cambridge University, England, was named in agriculture for research in which he demonstrated how plants defend themselves against viral attack, through a mechanism known as "gene silencing."

The mathematics prize is being shared by Professor Shing-Tung Yau of Harvard University and Professor Dennis Sullivan of Stony Brook University in New York. Yau was recognized for his work in geometric analysis that has had a profound and dramatic impact on many areas of geometry and physics, while Sullivan’s innovative contributions to algebraic topology and conformal dynamics were noted.

Three scientists will share the physics prize: Professor John Clauser of J. F. Clauser & Associates, United States; Professor Alain Aspect, Institut d’Optique, Campus Polytechnique, France; and Professor Anton Zeilinger, University of Vienna and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria. 

Since 1978, the Wolf Prize has been awarded 27 times to 253 scientists and artists from 23 countries, including 18 from Israel, for "achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples, irrespective of nationality, race, color, religion, sex, or political view." 

The Israel-based Wolf Foundation was established by the late German-born inventor, diplomat and philanthropist Dr. Ricardo Wolf, who served as the Cuban ambassador to Israel from 1961 to 1973.

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