Linux creator, stem cell scientist win big technology prize
Both received the Millennium Technology Prize, a prize intended to award 'life-enhancing technological innovations.'
Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 12:40 PM
TECH AND SCIENCE PIONEERS: Shinya Yamanaka and Linus Torvalds (right) pose after being awarded the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize. (Photo: Jarno Mela/AFP)
HELSINKI — U.S.-Finnish software engineer Linus Torvalds, who created the Linux open source operating system, and Japanese stem cell researcher Shinya Yamanaka on June 13 won a 1.2-million-euro ($1.5 million) technology prize in Finland.
"Today, millions use computers, smartphones and digital video recorders that run on Linux. Linus Torvalds's achievements have had a great impact on shared software development, networking and the openness of the web," the Millennium Technology Prize organizers said in a statement.
Yamanaka meanwhile won for "his discovery of a new method to develop induced pluripotent stem cells for medical research," the prize jury said, adding that it was the first time that the award has been split between two scientists.
"Using (Yamanaka's) method to create stem cells, scientists all over the world are making great strides in research in medical drug testing and biotechnology," it said.
"This should one day lead to the successful growth of implant tissues for clinical surgery and combating intractable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's."
Yamanaka himself vowed in the statement to "continue to work hard to achieve our goals of developing new drugs and medical treatments to intractable diseases by using iPS cell technology."
Finnish President Sauli Niinistoe presented the prize to the two laureates at a ceremony at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki on June 13.
The two men shared the prize equally, each receiving 600,000 euros ($751,500).
The Millennium Technology Prize, created in 2002 and funded by the Finnish state and the Technology Academy of Finland, is awarded every two years as a "tribute to developers of life-enhancing technological innovations."
It was first awarded in 2004 to Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, and last time, in 2010, it went to Swiss professor Michael Graetzel for developing a low-cost solar power cell using cheap materials such as dye squeezed from berries.
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition