UC Prof Takes Home Top Geek Prize

Winners awarded gold medals and $500,000 in ceremony

A California-based computer scientist, a philosophy professor and a molecular biologist each received $500,000 at an awards ceremony Monday for this year's Kyoto Prizes for achievement in the arts and sciences.

Computer scientist Richard Karp, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, won the prize in advanced technology for his work in measuring how difficult certain computational problems are to solve -- a fundamental step in designing computer algorithms.

The award in arts and philosophy went to Canadian professor Charles Taylor for developing a social philosophy that allows individuals from diverse backgrounds to keep their identities and still live peacefully together.

Canadian molecular biologist Anthony Pawson was picked in the basic sciences for research that deepened understanding of how cells communicate. The University of Toronto professor's discoveries have spurred progress in a wide range of biomedical research and the development of anti-cancer drugs.

The three received a gold medal and 50 million yen (US $500,000) each at a ceremony in Kyoto.

Founded in 1985, the Kyoto Prize is given to people for their contribution in the scientific, cultural and spiritual betterment of humankind. It is awarded by the Inamori Foundation, the charitable body established by Kazuo Inamori, founder of Japanese electronics maker Kyocera Corp.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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