2021 Kyoto Prize commemorative lectures available online from today

The three 2021 Kyoto Prize Laureates

2021 Kyoto Prize commemorative lectures available online from today

The Commemorative Lectures of the 2021 Kyoto Prize Laureates are available to watch online from today on a specially created website.

The three 2021 Kyoto Prize Laureates – computer scientist Andrew Chi-Chih Yao (Advanced Technology), biochemist and molecular biologist Robert G Roeder (Basic Sciences) and philosopher Bruno Latour (Arts and Philosophy) – have recorded their lectures which focus on their life stories, and reflect on the achievements and on the people who have had an influence on their career. 

This year, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Inamori Foundation has decided to cancel the official presentation ceremony and related events, which have been taking place in Kyoto since 1985. Instead, the Commemorative Lectures have been recorded and are available online from today, accompanied by three-minute videos that serve as quick introductions to the Laureates, on the 2021 Kyoto Prize Special Website.

Andrew Chi-Chih Yao's introductory video.

Andrew Chi-Chih Yao’s lecture, A journey through computer science, summarises his work in the field through three topics: minmax complexity, communication complexity and multi-party secure computation. He also briefly discusses quantum computing, auction theory and AI – all themes that have seen continued strong research interest and (in some cases) practical impact.

Robert G Roeder's introductory video.

Robert G Roeder’s lecture, entitled Regulation of transcription in animal cells: a 50-year journey revealing an expanding universe of factors and mechanisms, highlights some major discoveries, including nuclear RNA polymerases and their distinct gene-specific functions and subunit structures; these studies provided seminal insights into the unexpectedly complex mechanisms involved in eukaryotic transcription, were foundational for subsequent and current studies of transcriptional regulation through other approaches, and have profound implications for gene regulation in human health and disease. 

Bruno Latour's introductory video.

How to react to a change in cosmology is Bruno Latour’s lecture in which he argues that the period we’re living in requires a shift in cosmology. Much like the shift in the representation of the cosmos that Europeans had to live through between the 16th and 18th century, we’re currently living in times that require us to modify in very deep ways not only the relations to ‘nature’, but also the drive toward progress and prosperity. To withstand this change, we should be able to mix scientific, legal, artistic and religious capacities.

The Blavatnik School of Government will host the Laureates in Oxford on 10-11 May 2022 for the Kyoto Prize at Oxford. Details will be announced in due course.