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Five scientists awarded prestigious Heineken Prizes

Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience - KNAW


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Credit: KNAW

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) has announced the names of five internationally renowned scientists who have been awarded prestigious Heineken Prizes (one million US dollars prize money in total). The laureates receive the Heineken Prizes for their great merits to science.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Heineken Prize, awarded to the Austrian-American chemist Erwin Chargaff in 1964.

KNAW juries have awarded this year's Heineken Prizes to the following laureates:

Christopher M. Dobson, John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Chemical and Structural Biology, University of Cambridge (United Kingdom).

Prof. Dobson has been awarded the Dr H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics 2014 for uncovering the way in which proteins in the human body sometimes misfold themselves and how that process may lead to age-related diseases including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes.

Kari Alitalo, Academy Professor for the Molecular Biology of Cancer at the University of Helsinki (Finland).

Prof. Alitalo has been awarded the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine 2014 for his pioneering research on how and when lymph and blood vessels grow, and how that knowledge could help us find interventions to treat cancer and other diseases.

Jaap Sinninghe Damsté, head of department at NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and Professor of Organic Geochemistry at Utrecht University (Netherlands).

Prof. Sinninghe Damsté has been awarded the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences 2014 for his tremendous contributions to the discovery and development of 'chemical fossiles', which help us reconstruct the history of the earth's biosphere.

Aleida Assmann, Professor of English Literature at the University of Konstanz (Germany).

Prof. Assmann has been awarded the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for History 2014 for her large and ground breaking contributions to studies of 'cultural memory' and how societies deal with their past through cultural expressions: news media, literature, visual arts, music, buildings and monuments, remembrance days.

James McClelland, Director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Computation at the University of Stanford (United States).

Prof. McClelland has been awarded the C.L. de Carvalho-Heineken Prize for Cognitive Science 2014 for his important and fundamental contributions to the use of neural networks to model cognitive processes of the brain.

The awarding of the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art 2014 to Dutch artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh was announced by the KNAW last March.

Award ceremony

De Heineken Prizes 2014 will be presented on Thursday 2 October 2014 at a special meeting of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam.

Heineken Young Scientists Awards will be presented at that occasion as well to five talented young researchers whose work may serve as an example to other young scientists and scholars.


About the Heineken Prizes

Fifty years ago, in 1964, the prestigious Dr H.P Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics was introduced. In later years, more Heineken Prizes were added: the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art (1988), Medicine (1989), Environmental Sciences (1990) and History (1990), and the C.L. de Carvalho-Heineken Prize for Cognitive Science (introduced in 2006 and formerly known as the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Cognitive Science).

The Heineken Prizes were initiated by Dr Alfred H. Heineken (1923-2002) in homage to his father (Dr Henry P. Heineken, 1886-1971) and continued by his daughter, Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken (1954). Mrs de Carvalho is Chair of the Dr H.P. Heineken Foundation and the Alfred Heineken Fondsen Foundation, which fund all the Heineken Prizes.

Heineken Prizes are awarded every two years. The winners are selected by juries composed of members of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The scientific Heineken Prizes are $200,000 each. The Heineken Prize for Art is €100,000, of which €50,000 is to be spent on a publication or exhibition. Young Scientists Awards are €10,000 each.

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