An internationally famed stem cell scientist, a renowned mathematician and an artist who has created a new form of expression brought their world-famed talents to San Diego for a one-time-only experience April 4 at the annual benefit gala for the Kyoto Prize Symposium held at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel.
Designated as laureates of this year’s Kyoto Prize, they came to San Diego from areas as disparate as Hungary and South Africa and represented three varying categories — advanced technology, basic sciences and arts and philosophy.
The laureates included Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University and UC-San Francisco, representing the field of biotechnology and medical technology; Dr. Laszlo Lovasz of Hungary’s Eotvos Lorand University, representing mathematical sciences, and William Kentridge of South Africa, representing the fields of painting, sculpture, craft, architecture and design. Each was selected for the lifelong contributions they have made toward the betterment of human society.
The black-tie gala serves as the distinguished opening ceremony for the 2011 Kyoto Prize Symposium, which continued through April 6 with free public lectures and presentations by individual laureates at San Diego State University, UC San Diego and the University of San Diego.
The benefit gala also introduced the recipients of the 2011-2012 Kyoto Prize Scholarships, awarded to three students from San Diego County and three from greater Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Each student will receive a college scholarship valued at up to $10,000.
Irwin Jacobs is honorary chair of the benefit gala and Masashi Oka, president and CEO of Union Bank, and Peter Farrell, founder and board chairman of ResMed, are co-chairs.