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Langer shares $1M Dan David Prize

Institute Professor Robert Langer is having quite a year, and it's only the beginning of March.

Yesterday MIT announced that Langer has been named an Institute Professor, the highest honor awarded by the MIT faculty and administration (see MIT Tech Talk March 2, 2005). Now he will share the $1 million 2005 Dan David Prize for his pioneering work in tissue engineering and biomaterials.

Langer, along with Professor George Whitesides of Harvard University and Professor C.N.R. Rao of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre in Bangalore, India, won in the future category of the Dan David Prize, which this year is dedicated to the field of materials science.

Tel Aviv University annually awards three Dan David Prizes of US$1 million each for "achievements having an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on our world." The laureates for a given year are chosen for three time dimensions - past, present and future.

Langer was honored for "having pioneered the development of tissue engineering and the creation of numerous novel biomaterials" such as shape memory polymers (see MIT Tech Talk May 1, 2002) and a smart surface that can reversibly switch properties (see MIT Tech Talk January 29, 2003).

Whitesides won "for having bridged the fields of chemistry, chemical engineering and biology to new heights through the development of novel functional materials and systems."

The Dan David Prize is unique in its flexible definition of dynamically changing fields of human knowledge and in its process of fostering the next generation of scholars. The laureates annually donate 20 scholarships of US$15,000 each to outstanding doctoral students throughout the world, in the chosen fields.

The three $1 million awards will be presented at a ceremony May 23, 2005 at Tel Aviv University. Winners are selected by independent review committees of members of the international academic and business community.

The Dan David Prize was founded by international businessman and philanthropist Dan David in 2001. His goal, according to the Dan David Foundation, "is to aid and foster those involved in developing and advancing world knowledge of the past, present and future. This is the raison d'être of the Dan David Prize."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 9, 2005 (download PDF).

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