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Three American and two Japanese scientists hailed for developing materials to fight diseases and protect the environment will recieve one of Spain's Prince of Asturias prizes, organizers said Wednesday.
The Prince of Asturias Foundation said it had granted the five scientists the 2008 technical and scientific research award for their work as «ground-breakers in the field of nanotechnology worldwide.
The five, who work separately, are physicist Sumio Iijima; engineers Shuji Nakamura and Robert Langer and chemists George Whitesides and Tobin Marks.
"These scientists have created new, revolutionary materials and transcendental techniques for fighting diseases, such as those related to the brain and cancer, and for producing artificial tissues and organs," the foundation said in a statement.
"Their work also stands out for its contribution to the protection of the environment and energy-saving via the use of new sources of clean energy that may be produced at a low cost," it added.
Eight Prince of Asturias prizes are awarded each year covering categories such as arts, scientific research, sports, letters and humanities.
The awards include a US$78,000 (¤50,000) cash stipend and a sculpture by Spanish artist Joan Miro. They are named for Prince Felipe, heir to the Spanish crown, and are presented each fall in Oviedo, capital of the northern region of Asturias.
Iijima, from Saitama Prefecture, Japan, works at Meijo University and is credited with discovering carbon nanotubes, giving rise to a new generation of ultralight, ultrastrong materials used in the safe storage of hydrogen, one of the fuels of the future.
Born in Ikdata, Japan, Nakamura invented LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes, a revolutionary source of energy-saving light. He currently works at University of California, Santa Barbara.
Langer, from Albany, New York, is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he directs an internationally renowned biomedical research laboratory. He is considered the father of intelligent drug delivery in the body, greatly enhancing the treatment of different types of cancer.
Whitesides, from Louisville, Kentucky, is a professor at Harvard University and has won numerous awards for his work in developed nanoscale materials.
Marks, from Washington, D.C., works at Northwestern University and is considered a leader in the field of chemical catalysis, having developed numerous types of recyclable, environmentally friendly plastics.
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