Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken presented the Heineken Prizes for Science and Art this afternoon to Christopher Dobson, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Kari Alitalo, Aleida Assmann, Jaap Sinninghe Damsté and James McClelland.
50th anniversary of Heineken Prizes
The prizes, which were presented at the Beurs van Berlage Building this afternoon in the presence of His Majesty King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands, were awarded for the first time fifty years ago. In her speech, Mrs De Carvalho spoke of the passion for science and art that led her father, Freddy Heineken, to establish the first Heineken Prizes. She herself added a prize for cognitive science and five Young Scientist Awards.
The Heineken Prizes have gained an impressive reputation worldwide. They are regarded as forerunners of the Nobel Prize; so far, fourteen Heineken laureates later became Nobel Prize winners.
Christopher Dobson, University of Cambridge, winner of the Dr H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics, is receiving the award (USD 200,000) for uncovering the manner in which proteins in the human body sometimes misfold themselves and how that process may lead to age-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes.
Kari Alitalo, University of Helsinki, winner of the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine, is receiving the award (USD 200,000) for his pioneering research into how and when lymphatic and blood vessels grow and how that knowledge can lead to better treatments for cancer and other diseases.
Jaap Sinninghe Damsté, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research/Utrecht University, winner of the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences, is receiving the award (USD 200,000) for discovering and developing chemical fossils, which are helping us reconstruct the history of earth's biosphere.
Aleida Assmann, University of Konstanz, winner of the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for History, is receiving the award (USD 200,000) for her contribution to the study of the ‘cultural memory’, i.e. how societies deal with their past through cultural expression, for example the news media, literature, the visual arts, music, buildings and monuments, and remembrance days.
James McClelland, Stanford University, winner of the C.L. de Carvalho-Heineken Prize for Cognitive Science, is receiving the award (USD 200,000) for his important and fundamental contribution to the use of neural networks to model cognitive processes of the brain.
Wendelien van Oldenborgh, visual artist, winner of the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art, is receiving an award of EUR 100,000, half of which is intended to fund a publication and/or exhibition.
Heineken Young Scientist Awards
At the same event, the five Heineken Young Scientist Awards (EUR 10,000 each) were presented to five young Dutch researchers.
Celia Berkers (33), Utrecht University, is receiving the Heineken Young Scientists Award for Biochemistry and Biophysics for her research into the workings of the proteasome, a structure that breaks down proteins in biological cells.
Alexander Vlaar (32), Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, is receiving the Heineken Young Scientists Award for Medicine for his research into acute lung injury as a side effect of blood transfusions in IC patients.
Rob Middag (30), University of Otago, New Zealand, is receiving the Heineken Young Scientists Award for Environmental Sciences for his field research into trace metals in oceans.
Irene van Renswoude (46), Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, The Hague, is receiving the Heineken Young Scientists Award for History for her study of free speech in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages.
Martin Vinck (30), Yale University, USA, is receiving the Heineken Young Scientists Award for Cognitive Science for his research into the role of electrical oscillation in cognitive processes.