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25 May 2005

TWAS, illycaffè announce winners of first Trieste Science Prizes

An Indian scientist, who has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the physical forces that turn liquids into solids, and a Brazilian biologist, who has advanced our knowledge of how enzymes reduce high blood pressure and lessen the sensation of pain, are the first two recipients of the Trieste Science Prize.

Tiruppattur V. Ramakrishnan, DAE Homi Bhabha Professor of Physics, Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, and Sergio Henrique Ferreira, Professor of Pharmacology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of São Paulo in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, will each receive a cash prize of US$50,000. Ramakrishan won in the category of physics and astronomy and Ferreira in the category of biological sciences.

The Trieste Science Prize, administered by the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) and funded by illycaffè s.p.a., is designed to give international recognition and visibility to outstanding scientific achievements made by scientists living and working in the developing world.

Ramakrishnan, with his colleague Mohamed Yussouff, has provided the theoretical underpinnings for studying solids as atomically 'frozen', ordered versions of dense liquids characterized by strong correlations of subatomic Ramakrishnanparticles that have become even stronger. His later work with E. Abraham, P.W. Anderson and D.C. Licciardello on electron localization in disordered materials has had a profound impact on scientific investigations into quantum transport, nanoscopic systems, and metal-insulator transitions.

FerreiraFerreira, 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 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 Trieste Science Prize. This year marks the launch of the Trieste Science Prize, which is designed to bring recognition and distinction to the developing world's most eminent scientists, who have often been overlooked by other international award schemes dedicated to honouring scientific achievement. Individuals who have received the Nobel Prize, the Tokyo/Kyoto Prize, the Craaford Prize or the Abel Prize are not eligible. The Prize will be given annually and will rotate among the following scientific fields: biological sciences and physics/astrophysics (2005); mathematics and medical sciences (2006); chemical and agricultural sciences (2007); and earth and engineering sciences (2008). 

TWAS is the world's foremost academy for scientists from the developing world. Its memberships currently 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. For additional information about illycaffè, see www.illy.com.

CONTACT: Daniel Schaffer, TWAS Public Information Office, schaffer@twas.org, phone: +39 040 2240 538

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