Kyoto Prize 2015 Laureate: Prof. Michel Mayor

R0005786This year’s prestigious Kyoto Prize from the Inamori Foundation was awarded to three laureates, Dr. Toyoki Kunitake (Advanced Technology, Japan), Dr. Michel Mayor (Basic Sciences, Switzerland) and Mr. John Neumeier (Arts and Philosophy, USA/ Germany).

The Kyoto Prize was established for Kyocera Corporation‘s 25th anniversary in 1984 by their founder, Dr. Kazuo Inamori. He writes:

I have two major reasons for establishing the Kyoto Prize. First, in keeping with my [..] belief that we on Earth have no higher calling than to serve the greater good of humankind and society, I wish in some way to repay the global community that has sustained and nurtured me all these years. Second, I would like to redress the relative lack of formal recognition for highly dedicated but unsung researchers. At the very least, I hope to honor people who have made extraordinary contributions to science, civilization, and spirituality and thereby to motivate them and others like them to reach still greater heights.” (from

The line-up of Kyoto Prize Laureates is stunning: Top-level researchers and artists, from Claude E. Shannon (information theorist) and Rudolf E. Kalman (Mathematician affiliated to ETH Zurich) to Akira Kurosawa (film maker) and Noam Chomsky (cognitive scientist). Among the prize winners, three Swiss researchers can be found: Dr. Michel Mayor (2015), Dr. Walter J. Gehring (2000) and Dr. Kurt Wuethrich (1998).

The main event related to the Kyoto Prize was the Prize CeremonyR0005790 taking place in the afternoon of November 10 at the International Conference Center in Kyoto with an impressive number of 1350 participants, followed by a dinner for 800 selected guests. During the 2-hour ceremony, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Japan, H.E. Urs Bucher, read a congratulatory message from the President of the Swiss Confederation, Ms. Simonetta Sommaruga.

The whole ceremony can be followed on Kyoto Prize’s YouTube Channel:

The following day, a whole tour of lectures started in Kyoto, where Prof. em. Michel Mayor (University of Geneva) gave a public commemorative lecture, discussing his research and background. Dr. Mayor’s passion for astrophysics was clearly visible and held the large audience captive for the full hour of the speech. Further lectures will be held at high schools in Kyoto and at other places in Japan.

Congratulations, Dr. Mayor!

Dr. Mayor’s commemorative lecture:

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