Winners of first Trieste Science Prize announced

05/25/05

TWAS – the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World – and illycaffè announce the winners of the first Trieste Science Prizes

Trieste, Italy. 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' 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 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.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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