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Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

2021 International Prize for Biology: Announcement of Prize recipient


Press release
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On August 31, the Committee on the International Prize for Biology, chaired by Dr. FUJIYOSHI Yoshinori, Distinguished Professor of Tokyo Medical and Dental University, decided to award the 37th (2021) International Prize for Biology to Dr. Timothy Douglas White, Professor of Integrative Biology, University of California at Berkeley, USA.

1.International Prize for Biology
The International Prize for Biology was instituted in April of 1985 by the Committee on the International Prize for Biology. From its establishment, the Prize has commemorated the 60-year reign of Emperor Showa and his longtime devotion to biological research. Now it also pays tribute to the His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus Akihito, who has contributed for many years to advance our understanding of the systematics of gobioid fish, and who has enhanced the reputation and recognition of the biological sciences by developing this Prize.
The Prize, consisting of a certificate, a medal and an award of 10-million yen, is given to the recipient together with an Imperial Gift.

2.Recipient of the 37th Prize
Dr. Timothy Douglas White was born in 1950. Since 1995, he has been Professor of Integrative Biology, Director of the Human Evolution Research Center and Distinguished Chair in Life and Physical Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley.
The field of this year’s prize is the Biology of Human Evolution. Through his discovery and analysis of hominid fossils (fossils on the human side of the human-chimpanzee split) at various stages, including the 4.4 million-year-old Ardipithecus ramidus, and the surrounding faunal and other (paleo)environmental evidence, Dr. White has dramatically advanced our understanding of different stages of the human evolutionary process that had been previously unknown, thereby clarifying the image of our early human ancestors at a period close to their origins. 

3.Presentation Ceremony and Commemorative Symposium
The award ceremony is usually held around November–December. This year, however, we are keeping a cautious eye on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and will determine at a later date whether it is possible to hold the ceremony.
Normally, the award ceremony is followed by a symposium to commemorate the prize. However, in light of the spread of COVID-19, whether the 37th Commemorative Symposium can be held will also be determined in due course.

Secretariat of the Committee on the International Prize for Biology
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)

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