PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Kyoto Prize winners this year include material scientists pioneer John Cahn, now an emeritus Fellow at the U.S. National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST). Cahn's numerous contributions to the science of metallurgical alloys--including the co-authorship of the seminal paper explaining quasicrysals--are widely used in semiconductors, renewable energy, robotics, medicine and transportation.
Cahn's work as General Electric and later at MIT resulting in materials science breakthroughs with applications ranging from a better understanding of frost formation on windshields to the clumping of matter into galaxies in the early universe. His pioneering work established the theory of three-dimensional spinodal decomposition which led to high-performance semiconductors, metals, glass and polymers with extreme strength, thermal conductivity, pore permeability, heat resistance, and magnetism. His work continues to spawn new areas of materials research, including phase-field methodologies, that are hot research topics in physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, economics and demography.
The other two Kyoto Prize Laureates for 2011 include the winner in Basic Sciences, Rashid Sunyaev, a Russian astrophysicist with co-citizenship in Germany, who proposed the theory that fluctuations in cosmic microwave background radiation could be used to look back into time at the origins or our expanding universe.
And in Arts and Philiosophy, this year's Kyoto Prize Laureate is Tamasaburo Bando V, a Japanese theater performer and Kabuki actor specializing in female roles, who has become world renowned a creator of elegant beauty that has influence many artistic genres.
The Kyoto Prize Laureate will be officially honored in Japan on Nov. 9th, each receiving a 20-karat-gold medallion and $625,000. The ceremony and gala will be repeated in the U.S. in San Diego. Calif. on March 20-22, 2012.
We do not think of John Cahn as a semiconductor pioneer, but according to NIST (which he joined back in 1977 when it was still the National Bureau of Standards) the typical smartphone contains 100 different materials, half of which were enabled by Cahn's work on metal alloys, quasicrystals and similar advanced materials.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.