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Laureates of the 2023 WLA Prize Announced
Date: 2023-09-14
Source: WLA
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Press Release
WLA Prize
Thur., September 14, 2023 
10:00 AM (GMT+8)

 

Five scientists earn recognition for their ground-breaking achievements

 

(Shanghai, September 14, 2023) The World Laureates Association Prize (WLA Prize) unveils its 2023 laureates on Thursday, at a press conference held in Shanghai. This year, a total of five exceptional scientists are being honored with the Prize's two individual awards: the WLA Prize in Computer Science or Mathematics and the WLA Prize in Life Science or Medicine.

 

The 2023 WLA Prize in Computer Science or Mathematics recognizes two scientists: Arkadi Nemirovski, John P. Hunter, Jr. Chair Professor at the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, and Yurii Nesterov, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scientific Researcher at the Center for Operations Research & Econometrics and Mathematical Engineering Department at the Université Catholique de Louvain, "for their seminal work in convex optimization theory, including the theory of self-concordant functions and interior-point methods, a complexity theory of optimization, accelerated gradient methods, and methodological advances in robust optimization."

 

The 2023 WLA Prize in Life Science or Medicine recognizes three scientists: Daniela Rhodes, Emeritus Group leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, Karolin Luger, Professor and Jennie Smoly Caruthers Endowed Chair of Biochemistry at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Timothy J. Richmond, Professor of Crystallography of Biological Macromolecules (Emeritus) at ETH Zürich, "for elucidating the structure of the nucleosome at the atomic level, providing the basis for understanding chromatin, gene regulation, and epigenetics."

 

The 2023 WLA Prize Award Ceremony is scheduled to take place in Shanghai on November 6, followed by a series of engaging sessions to celebrate the laureates' outstanding achievements.

 

The WLA Prize is an international science prize established in Shanghai, in 2021, initiated by the World Laureates Association (WLA), managed by the WLA Foundation, and exclusively funded by HongShan. Each year, the WLA Prize is awarded in two categories: "Computer Science or Mathematics" and "Life Science or Medicine", with the total award for each Prize, which may be divided among up to four laureates, being RMB 10 million. The prize money of each award this year will be shared equally among the winners.

 

Interpretation on the 2023 WLA Prize in Computer Science or Mathematics: "For their seminal work in convex optimization theory"

 

Optimization theory is arguably the area of mathematics that has had the most significant impact outside of mathematics over the past three decades. It has found major applications in fields such as control systems, economics, signal processing, machine learning, resource allocation, energy management, supply chain management, and finance, says Michael I. Jordan, Chair of the 2023 WLA Prize Selection Committee in Computer Science or Mathematics.

 

Arkadi Nemirovski and Yurii Nesterov's work "has sparked the 'first-order revolution' that has allowed optimization algorithms to be applied to the large-scale problems characteristic of modern applications," comments Jordan, adding that "their development of a complexity theory for optimization and a suite of acceleration methods has deepened our understanding of what is possible in optimization and what is meant by an 'optimal way to optimize.'"

 

Additionally, Nemirovski and Nesterov have authored several impactful textbooks. broadening the reach of their discoveries and insights to a diverse audience spanning mathematics, engineering, and beyond.

 

Interpretation on the 2023 WLA Prize in Life Science or Medicine: "For elucidating the structure of the nucleosome at the atomic level"

 

At that time, "the immediate challenge was to determine the atomic structure of the nucleosome with the conviction that such molecular information would illuminate fundamental aspects of chromatin function," says Randy Schekman, Chair of the WLA Prize Selection Committee in Life Science or Medicine and 2013 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine.

 

A major advancement was made with the first breakthrough coming through the efforts of Daniela Rhodes, according to Schekman. Rhodes succeeded in obtaining the first crystals of nucleosomes extracted from native sources that led to a low-resolution structure of about 20Å. She also obtained methods for nucleosome reconstitution from the histone octamer and DNA of defined length. This advance allowed Timothy J. Richmond to refine the structure resolution to 7Å. Then Karolin Luger led an effort to obtain crystals that diffracted to 2.8Å resolution. "In a landmark paper published in 1997, Luger, Richmond and co-workers revealed details of the nucleosome structure that have guided subsequent studies on chromatin-binding proteins, histone-modifying enzymes and nucleosome positioning and remodeling and their control of transcription regulation and DNA replication," Schekman says.

 

According to Schekman, one of the great mysteries of cellular organization is how the chromosomes containing DNA molecules which could stretch to a meter in length, and which carry ~3B bits of information can be organized into the nucleus of a cell, which is only about 1,000th the size of the period at the end of this sentence. The three laureates "have left an indelible mark on the history of our understanding of chromosome structure" through their over two-decade-long research.

 

Michael Levitt, Vice-Chair of the WLA and 2013 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, attended the press conference on Thursday to witness the announcement of the laureates. Wu Xiangdong, Executive Director of the WLA and Chair of the WLA Prize Management Committee addressed the press conference.

 

 

About the WLA Prize
The World Laureates Association Prize (WLA Prize) is an international science prize established in Shanghai, in 2021, initiated by the World Laureates Association (WLA), managed by the WLA Foundation, and exclusively funded by HongShan. The WLA Prize aims to recognize and support eminent researchers and technologists worldwide for their contributions to science. It is intended to support global science and technology advancement, address the challenges to humanity, and promote society's long-term progress. Each year, the WLA Prize is awarded in two categories:  "Computer Science or Mathematics" and "Life Science or Medicine", with the total award for each Prize, which may be divided among up to four laureates, being RMB 10 million.

 

About the World Laureates Association
The World Laureates Association (WLA) is a non-governmental and non-profit international organization. It is one of the world's highest-profile organizations of laureates with three missions: "promote basic science, advocate for international cooperation, and support the development of youth." Upholding the vision of "Science and Technology for the Common Destiny of Mankind," the WLA actively foster close scientific exchange among esteemed scientists and scholars around the globe.

 

About the WLA Foundation
The WLA Foundation is a non-public charitable foundation that supports all WLA missions and activities by bringing together social forces.

 

About HongShan
HongShan is a leading venture capital and private equity firm investing across technology, healthcare and consumer sectors. Since 2005, HongShan has been fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, backing more than 1,500 companies around the globe with transformative technologies, disruptive business models and high-growth potential. To date, more than 160 HongShan portfolio companies have listed on public stock exchanges, while nearly 130 private portfolio companies have reached unicorn status. It adheres to nurturing scientific talents and entrepreneurs, inspiring technology-driven enterprises, and fulfilling its social responsibilities in the fields of scientific and technological innovation. As the exclusive sponsor of the World Laureates Association Prize (WLA Prize), HongShan is dedicated to promoting scientific progress and industrial development in China and for humanity as a whole.  

 

More on: https://www.thewlaprize.org