The Future Science Prize committee announces the laureates of 2023 on August 16th. Jijie Chai and Jian-Min Zhou receives the Future Science Prize in life sciences for the discovery of resistosomes and elucidation of their molecular structures and functions in plant immune responses against pathogens. Zhongxian Zhao and Xianhui Chen receives the Future Science Prize in physical sciences for their seminal breakthroughs in the discovery of high-temperature superconducting materials and systematic advancements in elevating the transition temperature. Kaiming He, Jian Sun (late), Shaoqing Ren and Xiangyu Zhang receives the Future Science Prize in mathematics and computer science, for fundamental contributions to artificial intelligence by introducing deep residual learning.
2023 Future Science Prize - Life Science Prize Laureates
Jijie Chai Jian-Min Zhou
For the discovery of resistosomes and elucidation of their molecular structures and functions in plant immune responses against pathogens.
Disease outbreaks in plants have had major impacts on civilizations. Currently, up to 40% of global food production is lost due to plant pests and microbial pathogen infection. The discovery of plant resistance loci in 1940s suggested that plants have innate immune mechanisms. This hypothesis was proven molecularly through the cloning of the first plant resistance genes in 1994. These resistance genes encode nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat-containing immune receptors, constituting a major plant immune mechanism against a wide range of pathogens and some insects. However, the molecular functions of these immune receptors remained a mystery before Chai and Zhou’s work.
Through their collaborative work in the past 19 years, Dr. Jijie Chai and Dr. Jian-Min Zhou discovered that plant immune receptors activate immune responses through formation of resistosomes by identifying the essential components of the first resistosome (ZAR1 resistosome) and revealing its structure and molecular function. Their work shows how the multi-component resistosome assembles after recognition of the pathogen effector by the immune receptor, ZAR1, and functions as a plasma membrane calcium-channel to trigger programmed cell death at the infection site to protect plants from infection. Understanding of resistosome functions will lead to better methods for controlling plant disease and therefore have enormous importance for global food security. Therefore, Dr. Jijie Chai and Dr. Jian-Min Zhou are awarded with the Future Science Prize in Life Sciences for their seminal contributions to the understanding of innate immune mechanisms in plants.
Jijie Chai was born in Liaoning, China, in 1966. He received his Ph.D. from the Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College in 1997.
Jian-Min Zhou was born in Sichuan, China, in 1964. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1994.
2023 Future Science Prize - Physical Science Prize Laureates
Zhongxian Zhao Xianhui Chen
For their seminal breakthroughs in the discovery of high-temperature superconducting materials and systematic advancements in elevating the transition temperature.
Superconductivity, the remarkable phenomenon of conducting electric current with zero resistance and complete diamagnetism in quantum materials, offers immense potential for applications in energy transmission, transportation, computation and communication. Traditionally, superconductivity has been observed at extremely low temperatures (<-230 °C) in most materials. The discovery of high transition temperature (Tc) superconducting materials has significantly propelled these applications, unveiling fundamental and captivating physical mechanisms.
As leaders of this international pursuit, Zhongxian Zhao and Xianhui Chen have played pivotal roles. Two primary families of high Tc materials have emerged: Cuprate superconductors and Iron-based superconductors. In the Cuprate family of high Tc materials, Zhao Zhongxian led a team that independently discovered the first superconducting material above the liquid nitrogen temperature. In the Iron-based family of high Tc materials, Xianhui Chen's group was the first to raise the transition temperature above the McMillan limit, confirming the unconventional nature of these materials. Additionally, Zhongxian Zhao's group holds the distinction of achieving the highest transition temperature in bulk samples. Notably, both Zhao and Chen conducted systematic studies to unravel the underlying physical mechanisms of high Tc materials, positioning themselves at the forefront of superconductor research for several decades.
Zhongxian Zhao was born in Liaoning, China in 1941, graduated from the Department of Technical Physics of the University of Science and Technology of China in 1964.
Xianhui Chen was born in Hunan, China in 1963, and received his Ph.D. in the University of Science and Technology of China in 1992.
2023 Future Science Prize - Mathematics and Computer Science Prize Laureates
Kaiming He Jian Sun Shaoqing Ren Xiangyu Zhang
For fundamental contributions to artificial intelligence by introducing deep residual learning.
The Future Science Prize is a privately-funded science award initiated by a group of scientists and entrepreneurs. The Future Science Prize aims to celebrate the accomplishments of scientists who have made extraordinary scientific contributions. The laureates will be awarded for achievements that:
1. have made significant global impacts;
2. be original with long-term importance, or have passed the test of time; and
3. be completed mainly in the Mainland of China, Hong Kong, Macao, or Taiwan. There is no restriction on the nationalities of laureates.
There are three major categories at present, namely the “Life Science Prize”, the “Physical Science Prize”, and the “Mathematics and Computer Science Prize”, with each award of 1 million US dollars respectively.
The Future Science Prize has been awarded to 35 laureates since 2016. All laureates are highly accomplished, widely recognized scientists whose research has made extraordinary impacts in life sciences, physical sciences, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science.
The 2023 Future Science Prize Week and the Award Ceremony will be held in Hong Kong from 14 to 17 October. （End）