Oscar of science, creators of mRna vaccines and two Italians among the winners

The total prize money is 15.75 million dollars, divided between five categories, each of which is awarded three million, plus other smaller sections with $ 100,000 prizes awarded to young researchers. Now in its tenth edition, it is considered almost on a par with the Nobel.

Katalin Karikó, of the BioNTech company, e Drew Weissman, of the University of Pennsylvania, were awarded “for having engineered the RNA technology that has allowed the rapid development of effective vaccines against the Covid-19 pandemic “, reads the explanations of one of the three prizes awarded this year in the Life Sciences sector. The commission that awarded the awards found that the vaccines developed and marketed by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna have proven their effectiveness thanks to decades of research efforts of the two researchers who, despite an initial widespread skepticism, managed to create a disruptive technology not only for the fight against the SarsCoV2 virus, but for the development of future vaccines and therapies against many diseases, from the HIV virus responsible for AIDS to cancer.

Linked to the prompt response of research against the Covid-19 pandemic is the award awarded to Shankar Balasubramanian e David Klenerman, of the British University of Cambridge, ea Pascal Mayer, of the Alphanosos company, for the development of a new effective method for reading DNA sequences on a large scale especially useful for near-real-time monitoring of virus variants.

In the ‘New horizons in physics’ category, the award went to four researchers, including the Italian Alessandra Corsi, of the Texas University of Technology, e Raffaella Margutti, of the University of California at Berkeley. Both,
we read in the motivation, they laid the foundations for the observation of gravitational wave sources and for the extraction of information from the study of the first collision between neutron stars.

For math the only winner was the Japanese Takuro Mochizuki, of the University of Kyoto, for the work, defined as “monumental”, which led to a turning point in the so-called mathematical theory of bundles. Due to the difficulties imposed by the pandemic, the award was not made with an event and the handover ceremony could possibly be postponed to early 2022

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