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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

US, Japanese, German scientists win Israeli prize

American, German and Japanese scientists have been named this year's winners of Israel's prestigious Wolf Prize.

The Wolf Foundation said Monday Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka and German researcher Rudolf Jaenisch have been recognized for finding that induced stem cells can potentially be used to cure genetic disease.

Other winners include three American chemistry researchers, an American animal agriculture researcher, German physicists researching electrons and a German artist.

Wolf winners are considered strong contenders for Nobel prizes. In the 33 years the Wolf Foundation has granted the awards, one out of three laureates in chemistry, physics and medicine have gone on to receive the Nobel.

President Shimon Peres will present the $100,000 prizes in five categories on Sunday.


The Wolf Foundation began its activities in 1976, with an initial endowment fund of $10 million donated by the Wolf family. The Foundation’s founders and major donors were Dr. Ricardo Subirana y Lobo Wolf and his wife Francisca. Annual income from investments is used for prizes, scholarships and Foundation operating expenses.

The Foundation has a status of a private not-for-profit organization. Its objectives and prize administration details and procedures are grounded in the “Wolf Foundation Law-1975”. Israel’s State Comptroller oversees all Foundation’s activities. In accordance with the above-mentioned Law, the Minister of Education and Culture acts as Chairman of the Council.

Foundation Trustees, Council and Committee Members, Prize Juries, and Internal Auditor, all perform their duties on a voluntary basis.


The aims of the Foundation, as stated by the Law, are:

1. To award prizes to outstanding scientists and artists--irrespective of nationality, race, color, religion, sex or political views--for achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples;

2. To award scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students, and grants to scientists engaged in research at Israeli institutions of higher education.


As a charitable not-for-profit organization, the Wolf Foundation is tax-exempt. The Wolf Foundation Law - 1975 states that “a contribution made by any person to the Foundation shall be deducted from his income chargeable with income tax,” and that “a person who has received a prize, scholarship, or grant, from the Foundation, shall be exempt from income tax, or any other tax thereon.”