Indian physicist and Brazilian biologist announced winners of the first Trieste Science PrizesAn Indian physicist and a Brazilian biologist are the first winners of the Trieste Science Prize, awarded by the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS, a UNESCO administered non governmental organization) and leading Italian coffee producer, illycaffé.
Tiruppattur V. Ramakrishnan, DAE Homi Bhabha Professor of Physics at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, was awarded the physics category prize in recognition of his contributions to the understanding of the physical forces that turn liquids into solids. Sergio Henrique Ferreira, Professor of Pharmacology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of São Paulo in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, was selected for the biological sciences category for his contribution to knowledge of how enzymes reduce high blood pressure and lessen the sensation of pain. Each winner will receive a cash prize of US$50,000.
Ramakrishnan, with his colleague Mohamed Yussouff, has provided the theoretical underpinnings for studying solids as atomically “frozen” versions of dense liquids characterized by strong correlations of subatomic particles that have become even stronger. This insight, which has enabled scientists to better understand how classical dense systems are altered, has had a profound impact on scientific investigations into quantum transport, nanoscopic systems, and metal-insulator transitions.
Ferreira, who began his career analysing the analgesic effects associated with the venom of the Brazilian snake Bothrops jararaca, has shown how enzymes produce chemical inhibitors that can ease high blood pressure and block sensitivity towards pain. His findings, which have captured the attention of such international pharmaceutical firms as Squibb, have helped lay the scientific foundation for the treatment of hypertension and chronic pain.
“These two scientists,” notes C.N.R. Rao, president of TWAS, “represent not only the best of science in the developing world but the best of science throughout the world. They are indeed worthy recipients of the first Trieste Science Prize.”
The Trieste Science Prize is administered by TWAS and funded by illycaffè s.p.a. It seeks to give international recognition and visibility to outstanding scientific achievements made by scientists living and working in the developing world. It is named for the city of Trieste, home to TWAS, the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and other international scientific institutions that have played a critical role in the promotion of science in the developing world.
The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) is the world's foremost academy for scientists from the developing world. Its membership consists of 765 eminent scientists, more than 80 percent of whom live and work in the South. TWAS also sponsors a large number of research and training programmes for scientists from the developing world.
illycaffè, headquartered in Trieste, Italy, is one of the world's pre-eminent coffee manufacturers. It has nurtured strong ties with coffee growers throughout the developing world and has established one of the world's most important competitions for the cultivation of coffee beans. The company is dedicated both to the manufacture and distribution of high-quality coffee and to forging strong ties between the North and South.
Photo ©: Sergio Henrique Ferreira, Professor of Pharmacology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of São Paulo in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil