The finalists for the Millennium Prize, the richest technology award in the world, have been announced.
The prize pool of €1.15m is made every two years and two British scientists are in the final shortlist of four. The prize is sponsored by the Finnish government and the final decision will be made by the prize committee, which includes four Nobel laureates.
The first British finalist is Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, from the University of Leicester’s Department of Genetics. He was nominated because of his invention of DNA fingerprinting used in identification of criminal suspects and in paternity and immigration disputes.
The second is Professor David N. Payne, director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton, along with Professor Emmanuel Desurvire, director of Physics Research Group at Thales Corporate Research & Technology in France and Dr Randy Giles, director of Optical Networks at Bell Laboratories.
These scientists have been nominated for: "Outstanding contributions to telecommunications through the invention of the erbium-doped fibre amplifier (EDFA) which made possible the global high-capacity optical fibre network, serving as a backbone of the global information superhighway.”
Other finalists include Dr Andrew J. Viterbi, president of the Viterbi Group for the invention of the Viterbi algorithm, the key building element in modern wireless and digital communications systems and Professor Ro bert Langer, institute professor at MIT’s Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology for his inventions of biomaterials for controlled drug release and tissue regeneration.
The Winner of the Millennium Technology Prize will be awarded €800,000, and the other finalists will each be awarded €115,000. The final decision will be announced at a ceremony in Finland on 11 June.
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