Laureates for the 2001 Japan Prize on Tuesday expressed joy that their achievements in the areas of environmentally benign materials and marine biology were recognized as having contributed to the public good.

Japan Prize winner s John B. Goodenough (left) and Timothy R. Parsons speak to reporters at Keidanren Kaikan Hall.

The two scientists, John B. Goodenough, 78, a professor at the University of Texas, and Timothy R. Parsons, 68, a professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia, were named winners of the annual award in December by the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan.

They are visiting Tokyo for the award presentation ceremony on Friday, which the Emperor and Empress will attend. Each award includes 50 million yen in prize money.

“I was very surprised (at the news of winning,” Goodenough said during a news conference. “I was especially pleased because of the emphasis (organizers) gave on environmentally benign technology associated with energy, which is a real problem,” he said.

Parsons said he is happy also because he has become the first laureate of the prize from Canada. “I felt very proud for my university and for Canada to receive this prize,” he said.

Goodenough discovered lithium cobalt oxide, an oxide having a layered structure. The discovery has contributed to the development of high-capacity portable rechargeable batteries, which are environmentally benign, according to the foundation.

Parsons has shown that ecosystem structure and function, as well as fish production, can be understood by the accurate measure of environmental parameters.

The Japan Prize winners are selected from among scientists from all over the world, based on their contributions to the advancement of science and technology. The foundation also considers contributions to world peace and prosperity.

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