According to NIST, the modern smartphone has over 100 different materials in it, and John Cahn's work enabled over half of them. Their are lots of engineering awards out there, but the Kyoto Prize is the only Nobel-caliber recognition that engineers can attain. I spoke with Cahn this week, and he expressed deep gratitude that honor at having been selected. And unlike the Nobel Prize, which has become a political football in recent years, there are no politics being played by the star-studded Kyoto Prize selection committee, which picks its laureates by unanimous decision.
I applaud John Cahn! I wonder how many college students dream of being a materials scientist? There is much to be discovered in materials and while it takes a lot of work the payoffs can be most rewarding. Perhaps this success story will help to inspire others to pursue study in materials, one can only hope.