MIT Institute Professor Robert Langer has been chosen as a finalist for the Millennium Technology Prize, the world's largest prize for technology innovation.
Langer was chosen "for his inventions and development of innovative biomaterials for controlled drug release and tissue regeneration that have saved and improved the lives of millions of people," according to the Technology Academy Finland, which gives the award every other year.
The award goes to developers of a technology that "significantly improves the quality of human life, today and in the future."
This year's winner will be announced June 11. Winners receive 800,000 euros, and the other finalists each receive 115,000 euros.
Andrew Viterbi '56, SM '57, founder of Qualcomm, is also a finalist. He was honored for creating an algorithm that became "the key building element in modern wireless and digital communications systems, touching lives of people everywhere," according to the Technology Academy Finland.
The other finalists are Alec Jeffreys, who developed DNA fingerprinting techniques, and a trio of scientists who developed an optical amplifier that transformed telecommunications: David Payne, Emmanuel Desurvire and Randy Giles.
Previous winners include Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web and senior research scientist at MIT, and Shuji Nakamura, inventor of light-emitting diodes.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 16, 2008 (download PDF).