Shaw Prize


Shaw Prize
A gold circular medal with a depiction of an elderly man with glasses wearing a jacket buttoned to the neck; the English words "The Shaw Prize" and Chinese characters "邵逸夫獎" engraved on it
The obverse of the Shaw Prize medal
DescriptionOutstanding contributions in astronomy, life science and medicine, and mathematical sciences.
CountryHong Kong
Presented byThe Shaw Prize Foundation
First awarded2004
Saul Perlmutter, Adam Riess and Brian P. Schmidt (from left to right) jointly won the 2006 astronomy prize

The Shaw Prize is an annual award first presented by the Shaw Prize Foundation in 2004. Established in 2002 in Hong Kong, it honours

"individuals who are currently active in their respective fields and who have recently achieved distinguished and significant advances, who have made outstanding contributions in academic and scientific research or applications, or who in other domains have achieved excellence. The award is dedicated to furthering societal progress, enhancing quality of life, and enriching humanity's spiritual civilization."[1]

The prize has been described as the "Nobel of the East".[2][3][4][5] It is named after Sir Run Run Shaw (邵逸夫), who was a philanthropist and forerunner in the Hong Kong media industry.


The prize is for recent achievements in the fields of astronomy, life science and medicine, and mathematical sciences; it is not awarded posthumously.[1] Nominations are submitted by invited individuals beginning each year in September. The award winners are then announced in the summer, and receive the prize at the ceremony in early autumn. The winners receive a medal and a certificate. The front of the medal bears a portrait of Shaw as well as the English and the Traditional Chinese name of the prize; the back bears the year, the category, the name of the winner and a Chinese quotation of philosopher Xun Zi (制天命而用之, which means "Grasp the law of nature and make use of it").[6] In addition, the winner receives a sum of money, which is worth US$1.2 million from 1 October 2015.[1][7]

As of 2012, 28 prizes have been awarded to 48 individuals. The inaugural winner for the Astronomy award was Canadian Jim Peebles; he was honoured for his contributions to cosmology. Two inaugural prizes were awarded for the Life Science and Medicine category: Americans Stanley Norman Cohen, Herbert Boyer and Yuet-Wai Kan jointly won one of the prizes for their works pertaining to DNA while British physiologist Sir Richard Doll won the other for his contribution to cancer epidemiology. Shiing-Shen Chern of China won the inaugural Mathematical Sciences award for his work on differential geometry.

Thirteen Nobel laureatesJules Hoffmann, Bruce Beutler, Saul Perlmutter, Adam Riess, Shinya Yamanaka, Robert Lefkowitz , Brian Schmidt, Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, Michael W. Young, Kip Thorne, Rainer Weiss, P. James E. Peebles, Michel Mayor and Reinhard Genzel —were previous laureates of the Shaw Prize.

Shaw Laureates


Year Laureate[a] Country[b] Rationale[c] Refs.
2004 P. James E. Peebles  United States for his contributions to cosmology [8][9]
2005 Geoffrey Marcy  United States for their contributions that led to the discovery of planetary systems [10][11]
Michel Mayor   Switzerland
2006 Saul Perlmutter  United States for finding the expansion rate of the accelerating universe and the energy density of space [12][13]
Adam Riess  United States
Brian Schmidt  Australia
2007 Peter Goldreich  United States for his achievements in theoretical astrophysics and planetary sciences [14][15]
2008 Reinhard Genzel  Germany for demonstrating that the Milky Way's centre contains a supermassive black hole [16][17]
2009 Frank H. Shu (徐遐生)  United States for his lifelong contributions to theoretical astronomy [18][19]
2010 Charles L. Bennett  United States for their contributions to the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe experiment, which helps to determine the geometry, age and composition of the universe [20]
Lyman A. Page Jr.  United States
David N. Spergel  United States
2011 Enrico Costa  Italy for their leadership of space missions that enabled the demonstration of the cosmological origin of gamma ray bursts, the brightest sources known in the universe. [21]
Gerald J. Fishman  United States
2012 David Jewitt  United States for their discovery and characterization of trans-Neptunian bodies, an archeological treasure dating back to the formation of the solar system and the long-sought source of short period comets. [22]
Jane Luu  United States
2013 Steven A. Balbus  United Kingdom for their discovery and study of the magnetorotational instability, and for demonstrating that this instability leads to turbulence and is a viable mechanism for angular momentum transport in astrophysical accretion disks. [23]
John F. Hawley  United States
2014 Daniel Eisenstein  United States for their contributions to the measurements of features in the large-scale structure of galaxies used to constrain the cosmological model including baryon acoustic oscillations and redshift-space distortions. [24]
Shaun Cole  United Kingdom
John A. Peacock  United Kingdom
2015 William J. Borucki  United States for his conceiving and leading the Kepler mission, which greatly advanced knowledge of both extrasolar planetary systems and stellar interiors. [25]
2016 Ronald W. P. Drever  United Kingdom for conceiving and designing the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), whose recent direct detection of gravitational waves opens a new window in astronomy, with the first remarkable discovery being the merger of a pair of stellar mass black holes. [26]
Kip S. Thorne  United States
Rainer Weiss  United States
2017 Simon D. M. White  United Kingdom /  Germany for his contributions to understanding structure formation in the Universe. With powerful numerical simulations he has shown how small density fluctuations in the early Universe develop into galaxies and other nonlinear structures, strongly supporting a cosmology with a flat geometry, and dominated by dark matter and a cosmological constant. [27]
2018 Jean-Loup Puget  France for his contributions to astronomy in the infrared to submillimetre spectral range. He detected the cosmic far-infrared background from past star-forming galaxies, and proposed aromatic hydrocarbon molecules as a constituent of interstellar matter. With the Planck space mission, he has dramatically advanced our knowledge of cosmology in the presence of interstellar matter foregrounds. [28]
2019 Edward C. Stone  United States for his leadership in the Voyager project, which has, over the past four decades, transformed our understanding of the four giant planets and the outer solar system, and has now begun to explore interstellar space. [29]
2020 Roger D. Blandford  United States for his foundational contributions to theoretical astrophysics, especially concerning the fundamental understanding of active galactic nuclei, the formation and collimation of relativistic jets, the energy extraction mechanism from black holes, and the acceleration of particles in shocks and their relevant radiation mechanisms. [30]
2021 Victoria M. Kaspi  United States /  Canada for their contributions to our understanding of magnetars, a class of highly magnetized neutron stars that are linked to a wide range of spectacular, transient astrophysical phenomena. Through the development of new and precise observational techniques, they confirmed the existence of neutron stars with ultra-strong magnetic fields and characterized their physical properties. Their work has established magnetars as a new and important class of astrophysical objects. [31]
Chryssa Kouveliotou  Greece /  United States

Life science and medicine

Year Laureate[a] Country[b] Rationale[c] Refs.
2004[d] Stanley N. Cohen  United States for their contributions to DNA cloning and genetic engineering [8]
Herbert W. Boyer  United States
Yuet-Wai Kan  United States for his works on DNA polymorphism
2004[d] Sir Richard Doll  United Kingdom for his contributions to the epidemiology of cancer
2005 Sir Michael Berridge  United Kingdom for his works on calcium signalling, a process that regulate the activity of cells [10][32]
2006 Xiaodong Wang  United States for his works on programmed cell death [12][33]
2007 Robert Lefkowitz  United States for his works on G protein-coupled receptor [14][34]
2008[e] Keith H. S. Campbell  United Kingdom for their works on the cell differentiation in mammals, a process that advances our knowledge of developmental biology [16]
Sir Ian Wilmut  United Kingdom
Shinya Yamanaka  Japan
2009 Douglas L. Coleman  United States for their discovery of leptin [18]
Jeffrey M. Friedman  United States
2010 David Julius  United States for his discovery of molecular mechanisms by which the skin senses painful stimuli [20]
2011 Jules A. Hoffmann  France for their discovery of the molecular mechanism of innate immunity, the first line of defense against pathogens. [21]
Ruslan M. Medzhitov  United States
Bruce A. Beutler  United States
2012 Franz-Ulrich Hartl  Germany for their contributions to the understanding of the molecular mechanism of protein folding. Proper protein folding is essential for many cellular functions. [22]
Arthur Horwich  United States
2013 Jeffrey C. Hall  United States for their discovery of molecular mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms. [23]
Michael Rosbash  United States
Michael W. Young  United States
2014 Kazutoshi Mori  Japan for their discovery of the Unfolded Protein Response of the endoplasmic reticulum, a cell signalling pathway that controls organelle homeostasis and quality of protein export in eukaryotic cells. [24]
Peter Walter  United States
2015 Bonnie L. Bassler  United States for elucidating the molecular mechanism of quorum sensing, a process whereby bacteria communicate with each other and which offers innovative ways to interfere with bacterial pathogens or to modulate the microbiome for health applications. [25]
E. Peter Greenberg  United States
2016 Adrian P. Bird  United Kingdom for their discovery of the genes and the encoded proteins that recognize one chemical modification of the DNA of chromosomes that influences gene control as the basis of the developmental disorder Rett syndrome. [26]
Huda Y. Zoghbi  United States
2017 Ian R. Gibbons  United States for their discovery of microtubule-associated motor proteins: engines that power cellular and intracellular movements essential to the growth, division, and survival of human cells. [27]
Ronald D. Vale  United States
2018 Mary-Claire King  United States for her mapping of the first breast cancer gene. Using mathematical modeling, King predicted and then demonstrated that breast cancer can be caused by a single gene. She mapped the gene which facilitated its cloning and has saved thousands of lives. [28]
2019 Maria Jasin  United States for her work showing that localized double strand breaks in DNA stimulate recombination in mammalian cells. This seminal work was essential for and led directly to the tools enabling editing at specific sites in mammalian genomes. [35]
2020 Gero Miesenböck  Austria for the development of optogenetics, a technology that has revolutionized neuroscience. [36]
Peter Hegemann  Germany
Georg Nagel  Germany
2021 Scott D. Emr  United States for the landmark discovery of the ESCRT (Endosomal Sorting Complex Required for Transport) pathway, which is essential in diverse processes involving membrane biology, including cell division, cell-surface receptor regulation, viral dissemination, and nerve axon pruning. These processes are central to life, health and disease. [37]

Mathematical sciences

Year Laureate[a] Country[b] Rationale[c] Refs.
2004 Shiing-Shen Chern (陳省身)  United States for his initiation and pioneering of global differential geometry [8][38]
2005 Andrew John Wiles  United Kingdom for his proof of Fermat's Last Theorem [10][39]
2006 David Mumford  United States for his contributions to pattern theory and vision research [12][40]
Wentsun Wu (吳文俊)  China for his contributions to mathematics mechanisation
2007 Robert Langlands  United States for the development of the Langlands program, a program that connects prime numbers with symmetry [14][41]
Richard Taylor  United Kingdom
2008 Vladimir Arnold  Russia for their contributions to mathematical physics [16]
Ludwig Faddeev  Russia
2009 Simon K. Donaldson  United Kingdom for their contributions to the geometry of 3 and 4 dimensions [18]
Clifford H. Taubes  United States
2010 Jean Bourgain  Belgium for his work in mathematical analysis and its application to fields ranging from partial differential equations to theoretical computer science [20]
2011 Demetrios Christodoulou  Greece /   Switzerland for their highly innovative works on nonlinear partial differential equations in Lorentzian and Riemannian geometry and their applications to general relativity and topology. [21]
Richard S. Hamilton  United States
2012 Maxim Kontsevich  Russia /  France for his pioneering works in algebra, geometry and mathematical physics and in particular deformation quantization, motivic integration and mirror symmetry. [22]
2013 David L. Donoho  United States for his profound contributions to modern mathematical statistics and in particular the development of optimal algorithms for statistical estimation in the presence of noise and of efficient techniques for sparse representation and recovery in large data-sets. [23]
2014 George Lusztig  Romania /  United States for his fundamental contributions to algebra, algebraic geometry, and representation theory, and for weaving these subjects together to solve old problems and reveal beautiful new connections. [24]
2015 Gerd Faltings  Germany for their introduction and development of fundamental tools in number theory, allowing them as well as others to resolve some longstanding classical problems. [25]
Henryk Iwaniec  Poland /  United States
2016 Nigel J. Hitchin  United Kingdom for his far reaching contributions to geometry, representation theory and theoretical physics. The fundamental and elegant concepts and techniques that he has introduced have had wide impact and are of lasting importance. [26]
2017 János Kollár  Hungary /  United States for their remarkable results in many central areas of algebraic geometry, which have transformed the field and led to the solution of long-standing problems that had appeared out of reach. [27]
Claire Voisin  France
2018 Luis A. Caffarelli  Argentina /  United States for his groundbreaking work on partial differential equations, including creating a theory of regularity for nonlinear equations such as the Monge–Ampère equation, and free-boundary problems such as the obstacle problem, work that has influenced a whole generation of researchers in the field. [28]
2019 Michel Talagrand  France for his work on concentration inequalities, on suprema of stochastic processes and on rigorous results for spin glasses. [42]
2020 Alexander Beilinson  Russia /  United States for their huge influence on and profound contributions to representation theory, as well as many other areas of mathematics. [43]
David Kazhdan  United States /  Israel
2021 Jean-Michel Bismut  France for their remarkable insights that have transformed, and continue to transform, modern geometry. [44]
Jeff Cheeger  United States


  • a The form and spelling of the names in the name column is according to, the official website of the Shaw Prize Foundation. Alternative spellings and name forms, where they exist, are given at the articles linked from this column.
  • b Countries mentioned above refer to the sites of the work places of the Laureates at the time of the award.[45]
  • c The rationale for each award is quoted (not always in full) from, the official website of the Shaw Prize Foundation.
  • d Two prizes were awarded for the life science and medicine category in 2004: Stanley N. Cohen, Herbert W. Boyer and Yuet-Wai Kan jointly received one of the prizes (half went to Cohen and Boyer; the other half went to Kan). Richard Doll received the other prize.[46][47]
  • e Half of the 2008 life science and medicine prize went to Keith H. S. Campbell and Ian Wilmut; the other half went to Shinya Yamanaka.

See also


  • "The Shaw Laureates (2004 – 2017)".
  1. ^ a b c "Introduction". Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  2. ^ "Jackson Laboratory scientist wins Shaw Prize, "Nobel of the East"". The Jackson Laboratory. 16 June 2009. Retrieved 26 October 2009.
  3. ^ "Berkeley Lab's Saul Perlmutter Wins Shaw Prize in Astronomy". Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 21 June 2006. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  4. ^ "$1 million 'Nobel of the East' awarded to Sir Michael Berridge, Emeritus Fellow at the Babraham Institute". Babraham Institute. 18 July 2005. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  5. ^ "Solana Beach: Astronomy researcher gets $1 million Shaw Prize". North County Times. 17 June 2009. Archived from the original on 17 January 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  6. ^ "Medal". Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  7. ^ "Rules of Procedures" (PDF). Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  8. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2004
  9. ^ "Shaw Prize awarded to six scientists". Government of Hong Kong. 7 September 2004. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  10. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2005
  11. ^ Sanders, Robert (1 September 2005). "Planet hunter Geoffrey Marcy shares $1 million Shaw Prize in astronomy". UC Berkeley. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  12. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2006
  13. ^ "Berkeley physicist Perlmutter wins Shaw Prize for work on expansion of universe". UC Berkeley. 22 June 2006. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  14. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2007
  15. ^ "Caltech Astrophysicist Peter Goldreich Wins $1 Million International Shaw Prize". California Institute of Technology. 12 June 2007. Archived from the original on 1 June 2010. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  16. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2008
  17. ^ Viñas, Maria José (10 June 2008). "6 Professors to Share $1-Million Shaw Prizes". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  18. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2009
  19. ^ Beja, Marc (16 June 2009). "$1-Million Shaw Prizes Go to 5 Researchers". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  20. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2010
  21. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2011
  22. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2012
  23. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2013
  24. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2014
  25. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2015
  26. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2016
  27. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2017
  28. ^ a b c Shaw Prizes 2018
  29. ^ Shaw Prizes 2019
  30. ^ Shaw Prizes 2020
  31. ^ Shaw Prizes 2021
  32. ^ "$1 million 'Nobel of the East' awarded to Sir Michael Berridge, Emeritus Fellow at the Babraham Institute". Babraham Institute. 18 July 2005. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  33. ^ "Xiaodong Wang Wins $1 Million Shaw Prize". Howard Hughes Medical Institute. 22 June 2006. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  34. ^ "Robert J. Lefkowitz Wins $1 Million Shaw Prize". Howard Hughes Medical Institute. 12 June 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  35. ^ Shaw Prizes 2019
  36. ^ Shaw Prizes 2020
  37. ^ Shaw Prizes 2021
  38. ^ Sanders, Robert (6 December 2004). "Renowned mathematician Shiing-Shen Chern, who revitalized the study of geometry, has died at 93 in Tianjin, China". UC Berkeley. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  39. ^ "Institute For Advanced Study Congratulates 2005 Shaw Prize Laureate Andrew Wiles". Institute for Advanced Study. 7 June 2005. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  40. ^ "UT Southwestern biochemist wins $1 million research prize for cell death, cancer insights". UT Southwestern Medical Center. 21 June 2006. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  41. ^ "Two Faculty Members Named 2007 Shaw Prize Laureates". Institute for Advanced Study. 13 June 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  42. ^ Shaw Prizes 2019
  43. ^ Shaw Prizes 2020
  44. ^ Shaw Prizes 2021
  45. ^ "Shaw Laureates Chart (2004 – 2017)" (JPG). Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  46. ^ "The Shaw Laureates (2004 – 2009)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  47. ^ "Press release of the 2004 Shaw Prize announcement". Archived from the original on 13 October 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2009.

External links

  • Official website