Hideo Hosono, a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Steven Tanksley, a professor emeritus at Cornell University, are the winners of the 2016 Japan Prize for their respective research in materials science and crop genetics.
They will each receive an award of ¥50 million at a ceremony in Tokyo on April. 20, the organizer said Tuesday.
Hosono, 62, was recognized for developing new materials such as a transparent semiconductor used in smartphone displays.
Tanksley, 61, was honored for his work in gene analysis to improve crop yields, the Japan Prize Foundation said.
The prize, first awarded in 1985, honors researchers whose work has contributed to the cause of peace and prosperity as well as to scientific progress.
Hosono’s work centers on glass-like transparent materials known for their insulating properties. He devised ways to add other substances and make them conductive, leading to the invention of the IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) semiconductor.
Thanks to its high performance and energy-saving capability, the IGZO semiconductor has been commercialized for the production of LCD displays for smartphones, organic electroluminescence TVs and other products.
Hosono has also developed a number of revolutionary materials, including an iron-based superconductor.
Tanksley, a molecular geneticist, contributed to cultivar improvement technology by specifying the genes that determine a plant’s fruit size and resistance to attack by insects.