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Kyoto Prize-Winner László Lovász
to Speak at UC San Diego April 5

Open to the public, local high school students to attend free event that recognizes Japan's highest private award for global achievement

March 14, 2011

By Jade Griffin

László Lovász, Ph.D., considered one of the world’s most accomplished mathematicians, will speak at the University of California, San Diego, April 5 at 3:30 p.m., as part of the 10th Annual Kyoto Prize Symposium. The talk is free and open to the public. Lovász is one of three outstanding academics who received the 2010 Kyoto Prize—Japan’s highest private award for global achievement. 

Lovász, who received the Kyoto Prize in “Basic Sciences,” has made pioneering contributions to algorithms and graph theory, advancing the study of cryptography and large networks ranging from the Internet to the human brain. He serves as director of the Mathematical Institute at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest and is the immediate past president of the International Mathematical Union.

The presentation is one in the three-part Kyoto Prize Symposium hosted by UC San Diego, the University of San Diego and San Diego State University. On behalf of UC San Diego, Mark Thiemens, dean of the Division of Physical Sciences, will welcome Lovász and an audience including faculty, staff, community members and an estimated 300 students from local high schools. 

UC San Diego will facilitate bringing the high school students—many from underrepresented areas of the county—to UC San Diego, helping introduce a diverse student body to the university campus and the possibility of a career in mathematics. 

It was as a high school student in Hungary that Lovász became interested in a career in mathematics.  He attended a class given by celebrated mathematician Paul Erdős, and was captivated by the possibilities. “It was the meeting with Dr. Erdős that developed my mathematical talent even further,” he recalls.

The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session, and an opportunity for the students and other attendees to meet the renowned mathematician.

In addition to Lovász, this year’s Kyoto Prize laureates include:

  • In “Advanced Technology,” Shinya Yamanaka, Ph.D., a medical scientist who developed a technology for producing induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells without using embryos. Yamanaka is a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease; professor at Kyoto University; and director of Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application. He will speak at San Diego State University on April 5 at 9:30 a.m.
  • In “Arts and Philosophy,” William Kentridge, a visual artist from Johannesburg, whose wide-ranging activities encompass animation, stage direction and writing. With subject matter that often reflects the history and social circumstances of his native South Africa, his works have been described as “dazzling,” “enthralling” and “devastating.” He will speak at the University of San Diego April 6 at 10 a.m.


The Kyoto Prize was established by the Inamori Foundation in 1985 with the goal of honoring significant contributions to the scientific, cultural and spiritual betterment of humankind.  The president of the nonprofit organization is Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus (retired) of Kyocera and KDDI Corporation.

The April 5 talk will take place in UC San Diego’s Price Center West Ballroom at 3:30-5:00 p.m. For information and to register for the free symposium, please visit www.kyotoprize.org.


Media Contact: Jade Griffin, 858-822-5309, jadegriffin@ucsd.edu

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