Behind the Scenes: Up Close with WLA Prize Laureates
Date: 2022-09-30
Source: WLA
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On 29 September, the laureates of the inaugural WLA Prize were officially announced. The 2022 WLA Prize in Life Science or Medicine was awarded to Dirk GÖRLICH for his key discoveries elucidating the mechanism and selectivity of protein transport between the cytoplasm and nucleus. The 2022 WLA Prize in Computer Science or Mathematics was awarded to Michael I. JORDAN for his fundamental contributions to the foundations of machine learning and its application

Michael I. JORDAN: the 2022 WLA Prize Laureate in Computer Science or Mathematics


Michael I. JORDAN: a Dramatic Breakthrough

Professor Michael I. JORDAN, Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences & Department of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley, is an excellent computer scientist and statistician. He forms the framework of machine learning which is the cornerstone of Artificial Intelligence and explains its interconnections with other disciplines. Moreover, as a superb educator and PhD advisor, some of his students have been major supporters and innovators in the field.

The past ten years have witnessed the explosive application of machine learning. Professor JORDAN’s contribution enables people to advance and to apply those technologies in practical ways, being crucial to ensure the consistence and reliability of machine learning and its relevant disciplines. The revolution of science and technology shape people’s lives. It is those very foundational basic researches in the novel fields and the interdisciplinary researches that are seen as forming and sculpting the future.

Dirk GÖRLICH: the 2022 WLA Prize Laureate in Life Science or Medicine


Dirk GÖRLICH: Open Up a New Field of Study
Professor Dirk GÖRLICH, Scientific member and Director, Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences, is an outstanding biochemist. He has had a long and very distinguished career, studying how protein molecules move from the cytoplasm into the nucleus of a cell and how others move from the nucleus into the cytoplasm of the cell. The mechanism of that process and how it is executed has remained unknown until Dirk GÖRLICH discovered that first.

In his postdoctoral work at the MRC Cambridge Laboratory in England, he discovered a protein molecule responsible for recognizing a signal on the nuclear protein which later became the beginning of his career. The research about the protein molecule he had discovered was finished as a postdoctoral researcher, it was then followed by another fundamental discovery about the polarity of the machinery for the selective removal of proteins that left the nucleus and went into the cytoplasm. All these significant discoveries revolutionized the field. The study of the hydrogel is now a huge field, but professor GÖRLICH has been the first one to describe its importance in Biology, especially in the nuclear pore complex.


Recognition for the future

According to John HENNESSY, 2017 Turing Award Laureate and Chairman of the WLA Prize Selection Committee, what’s wonderful about the WLA Prize is that it recognizes a set of fields which are critically important to our future, but which haven't perhaps received the recognition like the Nobel Prize. Because the Nobel Prize was created before computer science was the field itself. 

Randy SCHEKMAN, 2013 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Chairman of the WLA Prize Selection Committee, also expresses similar opinions. The goal of this prize is to find those scientists whose work is fundamental and broadly applied, and yet who have not yet been recognized for their achievements. The WLA Prize shall always be a truly international scientific award, not confined to one geographic area, but seeking for the missing pearls lost from the Nobel Prize.


The World Laureates Association Prize (WLA Prize) is an international science prize established in Shanghai, in 2021, initiated by World Laureates Association (WLA), managed by the WLA Foundation, and exclusively funded by Sequoia China.



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