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Home > Press Room > News > Five WLA Prize Laureates Received Medals in Shanghai

Five WLA Prize Laureates Received Medals in Shanghai

Date Nov. 6, 2023

(Shanghai, November 6, 2023) Five 2023 WLA Prize laureates received their medals and certificates officially at the 2023 WLA Prize Award Ceremony taking place on November 6 at the Opening Ceremony of the 6th WLA Forum in Shanghai. An impressive attendance of over 300 esteemed guests, including the world laureates, academicians, senior scientists, young scientists, and professionals from 25 countries and regions witnessed the exciting moment together. The Ceremony was also live-streamed online.

The laureates of each single Prize will share the RMB 10 million prize money equally. The WLA Prize is an international science prize established in Shanghai, in 2021, initiated by the World Laureates Association (WLA), managed by the WLA Foundation, and exclusively funded by HongShan. This year, the Award Ceremony was held at the Permanent Venue of the WLA Forum located in Shanghai.

The 2023 WLA Prize in Computer Science or Mathematics recognizes the dedication of two scientists: Arkadi Nemirovski, John P. Hunter, Jr. Chair Professor at the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, and Yurii Nesterov, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scientific Researcher at the Center for Operations Research & Econometrics and Mathematical Engineering Department at the Université Catholique de Louvain, "for their seminal work in convex optimization theory, including the theory of self-concordant functions and interior-point methods, a complexity theory of optimization, accelerated gradient methods, and methodological advances in robust optimization." 

The 2023 WLA Prize Laureates in Computer Science or Mathematics receive their medals and certificates at the Award Ceremony. From left: Michael I. Jordan, Chen Zhu, Arkadi Nemirovski, Yurii Nesterov, Roger Kornberg

The 2023 WLA Prize in Life Science or Medicine recognizes the dedication of three scientists: Karolin Luger, Professor and Jennie Smoly Caruthers Endowed Chair of Biochemistry at the University of Colorado Boulder, Daniela Rhodes, Emeritus Group leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, and Timothy J. Richmond, Professor of Crystallography of Biological Macromolecules (Emeritus) at ETH Zürich, "for elucidating the structure of the nucleosome at the atomic level, providing the basis for understanding chromatin, gene regulation, and epigenetics." 

The 2023 WLA Prize Laureates in Life Science or Medicine receive their medals and certificates at the Award Ceremony. From left: Randy Schekman, Chen Zhu, Karolin Luger, Daniela Rhodes, Timothy J. Richmond, Roger Kornberg

Prof. Chen Zhu, Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, President of Red Cross Society of China and Tenured Professor of Ruijin Hospital, SJTUSM, and Prof. Roger Kornberg, Chair of the WLA Prize Management Committee & WLA Prize Awards Committee, presented the awards to the 2023 WLA Prize laureates.

As the Chair of 2023 WLA Prize Selection Committee in Computer Science or Mathematics, Prof. Michael I. Jordan made an award speech, in which he expressed his congratulations to the laureates, mentioning that Prof. Arkadi Nemirovski and Prof. Yurii Nesterov have been leading researchers in optimization theory which had provided both conceptual foundations and the basis for the design of practical algorithms and real-world applications in many fields. Prof. Michael I. Jordan further explained that the work of the 2023 WLA Prize laureates had been exceedingly insightful and productive, yielding a range of benchmark rates and optimal algorithms for attaining those rates in a range of problems.

Michael I. Jordan, Chair of the 2023 WLA Prize Selection Committee in Computer Science or Mathematics, delivers special remarks at the Award Ceremony.

The WLA Prize in Computer Science or Mathematics, propelling the advancement of the field and inspiring young scientists, holds a significant practical importance. Looking ahead to the future of the WLA Prize, Prof. Michael I. Jordan said: "We hope that the prize not only fosters this multi-disciplinary integration but also inspires budding talents to delve into the emerging intellectual challenges of applied mathematics." He expressed his unwavering confidence in the future development of the WLA Prize and the relevant research fields, encouraging more aspiring young scientists and researchers to pursue their scientific ambitions.

The two laureates of the 2023 WLA Prize in Computer Science or Mathematics, Prof. Arkadi Nemirovski and Prof. Yurii Nesterov, each delivered their acceptance speeches. They expressed their joy and gratitude in receiving the award. Prof. Arkadi Nemirovski said: "This is a truly exceptional honor for me, a level of recognition the magnitude of which I never dream of." While Prof. Yurii Nesterov considered receiving this prize "as a recognition for our life-time achievements." He regarded optimization as a very special field and believed that "the new generations of researchers, inspired by this Prize, will continue to move forward the bounds of our knowledge." This insight was echoed by Prof. Arkadi Nemirovski who also witnessed how the discipline was thriving "due to the efforts of new generations of researchers, and how rapidly the scope of its applications is extending." 

Prof. Randy Schekman, Chair of the 2023 WLA Prize Selection Committee in Life Science or Medicine, illustrated the extraordinary contributions of the three 2023 WLA Prize laureates in Life Science or Medicine in his award speech. He said that "one of the great mysteries of cellular organization is how our chromosomes containing DNA molecules which could stretch to a meter in length, and which carry ~3B bits of information can be organized into the nucleus of a cell which is only about 1,000th the size of the period at the end of this sentence." In his further explanation, Prof. Randy Schekman pointed out that "we have learned that histones are subject to specific chemical modifications that influence their function and the pattern of chromosomal epigenetic inheritance. But long before these insights emerged, the immediate challenge was to determine the atomic structure of the nucleosome with the conviction that such molecular information would illuminate fundamental aspects of chromatin function." Since the three laureates making such great breakthroughs in this field, Prof. Randy Schekman complemented their work, by saying that "they have left an indelible mark on the history of our understanding of chromosome structure." The achievements of the three laureates not only propelled the development of their respective fields, but also inspired young scientists, fostering a sense of continuity and prosperity as they carry the torch forward.

Randy Schekman, Chair of the 2023 WLA Prize Selection Committee in Life Science or Medicine, delivers special remarks at the Award Ceremony

The three laureates of the 2023 WLA Prize in Life Science or Medicine acknowledged the extraordinary significance of this recognition for themselves and their respective research fields by offering an account of their decades-long research journey in elucidating the structure of the nucleosome.

"Science is a lonely, selfish, excruciatingly frustrating, and obsessive occupation," said Prof. Karolin Luger said in her acceptance speech. For Prof. Timothy J. Richmond," Success in groundbreaking research also requires a great deal of patience and perseverance." But "to do research is a great privilege," commented Prof. Daniela Rhodes," it has been a wonderful journey that I never envisaged would to lead to such a prestigious Prize." 

"Thank you again for this incredible honor which means the most to me coming from an association that actively promotes scientific research as an international endeavor transcending national boundaries and diverse cultures," said Prof. Timothy J. Richmond when expressing his gratefulness in his speech. As an international science prize, recognizing these professors would undoubtedly inspire young scientists in the relevant fields, driving ongoing development and progress within the field, while the recognition of these eminent scientists would also benefit the continuous improvement of the WLA Prize, which creates a mutually reinforcing cycle.

During the 6th WLA Forum, both 2022 and 2023 WLA Prize laureates attended the event in person in Shanghai, China. They were featured in WLA Prize Series, delivering lectures on their award winning work and engaging in inspiring dialogues with distinguished scientists in their fields. In addition, they will involve in more sessions during the 6th WLA Forum which encompasses meaningful global dialogues on diverse topics like intelligence science, women in science, frontier technologies, innovations, international collaborations, youth development, etc.

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About the WLA Prize
The World Laureates Association Prize (WLA Prize) is an international science prize established in Shanghai, in 2021, initiated by the World Laureates Association (WLA), managed by the WLA Foundation, and exclusively funded by HongShan. The WLA Prize aims to recognize and support eminent researchers and technologists worldwide for their contributions to science. It is intended to support global science and technology advancement, address the challenges to humanity, and promote society's long-term progress. Each year, the WLA Prize is awarded in two categories:  "Computer Science or Mathematics" and "Life Science or Medicine", with the total award for each Prize, which may be divided among up to four laureates, being RMB 10 million.

About the World Laureates Association
The World Laureates Association (WLA) is a non-governmental and non-profit international organization. It is one of the world's highest-profile organizations of laureates with three missions: "promote basic science, advocate for international cooperation, and support the development of youth." Upholding the vision of "Science and Technology for the Common Destiny of Mankind," the WLA actively foster close scientific exchange among esteemed scientists and scholars around the globe.

About the WLA Foundation
The WLA Foundation is a non-public charitable foundation that supports all WLA missions and activities by bringing together social forces.

About HongShan
HongShan is a leading venture capital and private equity firm investing across technology, healthcare and consumer sectors. Since 2005, HongShan has been fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, backing more than 1,500 companies around the globe with transformative technologies, disruptive business models and high-growth potential. To date, more than 160 HongShan portfolio companies have listed on public stock exchanges, while nearly 130 private portfolio companies have reached unicorn status. As the exclusive sponsor of the World Laureates Association Prize (WLA Prize), HongShan is dedicated to promoting scientific development for human civilization. 

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