Stephen L. Buchwald

Wolf Prize Laureate in Chemistry

The development of palladium-catalyzed carbon-carbon bond formation by Prof. Heck, Prof. Negishi and Prof. Suzuki, resulted in the 2010 Nobel Prize for this innovation. This achievement underscored the immense importance of making new chemical bonds, and at the same time it created an urgent need for going beyond carbon-carbon bonds. This is precisely the achievement of Prof. Buchwald and Prof. Hartwig who have independently harnessed cross coupling for the making of carbon-heteroatom bonds. These bonds and especially the carbon-nitrogen bonds are immensely important, because such bonds constitute a very basis of medicinal chemistry. Thus, the two laureates have pioneered the development of transition metal catalyzed procedures that are broadly applicable and allow carbon-heteroatom bonds of all sorts to be formed with previously unknown efficiency and precision.
In so doing, Profs. Buchwald and Hartwig have profoundly impacted the practice of organic synthesis in general and medicinal chemistry in particular. The transformative nature of their achievement has changed the way whereby ever-more-efficient drugs are discovered and eventually manufactured, for the extensive benefit of society today and in the future. This breakthrough is the fruit of truly basic research and fundamental mechanistic investigations into ligand design and the elementary steps that transition metal complexes are able to entertain. These methodologies proved to be truly potent and represent, as such, a lasting legacy for the art and science of catalysis, and the prime justification for awarding Buchwald and Hartwig with the Wolf Prize for 2019.

Moshe Safdie

Wolf Prize Laureate in Architecture 2019

Over a long and distinguished career spanning 50 years, Moshe Safdie has produced a body of work of great originality and artistry in the field of architecture and urbanism. He is also a distinguished educator and in his numerous publications he has articulated a clear and coherent position as an academic and critic.
The projects undertaken by his architectural studio consistently seek experimentation, and can be understood as an evolving form of research. The outreach of the practice is truly international, with projects completed in North and South America, Asia and the Middle East.

The Habitat ’67 project, part of the Montreal World Exposition, is a seminal example of experimental housing, and the impact it has had on housing concepts cannot be overstated. It remains a model of relatively low-rise, high-density housing and has been drawn upon by many architects throughout the world since it was completed. This project alone is worthy of significant recognition.
What has followed is a collection of projects of great complexity and cultural significance, which include, amongst many others, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Harvard Rosovsky Hall in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Exploration Place in Wichita, Kansas, the National Library of Israel and the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem. All of these project address complex public programmes and explore an architecture of exceptional originality and formal experimentation.
The jury of the Wolf Foundation Prize in the field of architecture has unanimously decided to support the nomination of Moshe Safdie for this most prestigious award

John F. Hartwig

Wolf Prize Laureate in Chemistry 2019

The development of palladium-catalyzed carbon-carbon bond formation by Prof. Heck, Prof. Negishi and Prof. Suzuki, resulted in the 2010 Nobel Prize for this innovation. This achievement underscored the immense importance of making new chemical bonds, and at the same time it created an urgent need for going beyond carbon-carbon bonds. This is precisely the achievement of Prof. Buchwald and Prof. Hartwig who have independently harnessed cross coupling for the making of carbon-heteroatom bonds. These bonds and especially the carbon-nitrogen bonds are immensely important, because such bonds constitute a very basis of medicinal chemistry. Thus, the two laureates have pioneered the development of transition metal catalyzed procedures that are broadly applicable and allow carbon-heteroatom bonds of all sorts to be formed with previously unknown efficiency and precision.
In so doing, Profs. Buchwald and Hartwig have profoundly impacted the practice of organic synthesis in general and medicinal chemistry in particular. The transformative nature of their achievement has changed the way whereby ever-more-efficient drugs are discovered and eventually manufactured, for the extensive benefit of society today and in the future. This breakthrough is the fruit of truly basic research and fundamental mechanistic investigations into ligand design and the elementary steps that transition metal complexes are able to entertain. These methodologies proved to be truly potent and represent, as such, a lasting legacy for the art and science of catalysis, and the prime justification for awarding Buchwald and Hartwig with the Wolf Prize for 2019.

Jeffrey Friedman

Wolf Prize Laureate in Medicine 2019

The endocrine system that Friedman discovered is comprised of the hormone leptin, its cytokine family receptor and key hypothalamic neurons that regulate appetite and metabolism. Leptin is an afferent signal in this fundamental endocrine feedback loop and serves a critical biological function of stably maintaining adipose tissue mass. Mutations in leptin or its receptor cause massive obesity in mammals, and leptin therapy can effectively treat obesity in leptin deficient patients. Leptin also links changes in nutrition to adaptive responses in other physiological systems, with major effects on insulin sensitivity, fertility, immune function and neuroendocrine function (among others). Leptin is now an approved treatment for generalized lipodystrophy, a condition associated with severe diabetes, and has also shown promise for the treatment of other types of diabetes and for hypothalamic amenorrhea, an infertility syndrome in females. Most obese patients have high endogenous levels of leptin, indicating that they are leptin-resistant, and show variable responses to exogenous leptin. Prior to Friedmans studies, little was known about specific components of biological systems that regulate weight, with many questioning the very existence of such a homeostatic system. The discovery of an entirely new endocrine system controlling body weight (and many other processes) is a major, remarkable, landmark contribution exceptionally worthy of the Wolf Prize in Medicine

Jean Francois le Gall

Wolf Prize Laureate in Mathematics 2019

Jean-François Le Gall has made several deep and elegant contributions to the theory of stochastic processes. His work on the fine properties of Brownian motions solved many difficult problems, such as the characterization of sets visited multiple times and the behavior of the volume of its neighborhood – the Brownian sausage. Le Gall made groundbreaking advances in the theory of branching processes, which arise in many applications. In particular, his introduction of the Brownian snake and his studies of its properties revolutionized the theory of super-processes – generalizations of Markov processes to an evolving cloud of dying and splitting particles. He then used some of these tools for achieving a spectacular breakthrough in the mathematical understanding of 2D quantum gravity. Le Gall established the convergence of uniform planar maps to a canonical random metric object, the Brownian map, and showed that it almost surely has Hausdorff dimension 4 and is homeomorphic to the 2-spher

Gregory Lawler

Wolf Prize Laureate in Mathematics 2019

Gregory Lawler has made trailblazing contributions to the development of probability theory. He obtained outstanding results regarding a number of properties of Brownian motion, such as cover times, intersection exponents and dimensions of various subsets. Studying random curves, Lawler introduced a now classical model, the Loop-Erased Random Walk (LERW), and established many of its properties. While simple to define, it turned out to be of a fundamental nature, and was shown to be related to uniform spanning trees and dimer tilings. This work formed much of the foundation for a great number of spectacular breakthroughs, which followed Oded Schramm’s introduction of the SLE curves. Lawler, Schramm and Werner calculated Brownian intersection exponents, proved Mandelbrot’s conjecture that the Brownian frontier has Hausdorff dimension 4/3 and established that the LERW has a conformally invariant scaling limit. These results, in turn, paved the way for further exciting progress by Lawler and others.

David Zilberman

Wolf Prize Laureate in Agriculture 2019

Dr. Zilberman has incorporated biophysical features of agroeconomic systems to develop economic models and econometric decision-making frameworks to answer fundamental agricultural economic and policy questions in several important areas:
Water: He developed models of choice and impact of water conservation technologies, showing that they are yield-enhancing and usually water-saving, though when yield effects are especially high, they may lead to increased water use per unit of land. Introduction of water trading can facilitate adoption of conservation practices.
Pest Control: Zilberman revolutionized research on the economics of pest control by (a) introducing the damage control function to estimate the productivity of pest control strategies, (b) developing methods to assess the benefits of pesticide under regulation, and (c) introducing a method to regulate environmental health risks of chemical pesticides.
Biotechnology: His studies challenge myths about genetically modified (GM) crops. He showed that the introduction of GM cotton has increased yields substantially in India and that GMOs have increased supplies of corn and soybean, reducing prices and benefitting the poor. His work provides a framework to assess the cost of delay in introducing new technologies due to prolonged regulatory processes. He estimated the social cost of regulation for golden rice and banning the introduction of biotechnologies to Africa.
Payment for Ecosystem Services: Zilberman developed better mechanisms to allocate government payment for agricultural services, and motivated the redesign of programs like the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in the US.
Technology Adoption: Zilberman’s work developed a sophisticated approach to analyze adoption of modern technologies in agriculture incorporating farmer behavior, heterogeneity, and dynamic processes of learning. This approach has been applied heavily.
Dr. Zilberman’s career presents a unique mixture of theoretical work, applied research and extension, and he is a leading protagonist in debates over water policy, environmental and resource policy in agriculture and the bioeconomy.

MARC CHAGALL, Vence, France. The living greatest, original and poetic visionary among the pioneers of modern art, whose glowing colours and human warmth have both a deep personal meaning and universal appeal; and ANTONI TAPIES, Barcelona, Spain. One of the most important creators of the abstract “informal” movement and a leader of the “material” painters, in whose work “matter” is transformed into a pure spiritual expression.

Vladimir Drinfeld

Wolf Prize Laureate in Mathematics 2018

Vladimir Drinfeld
The Wolf Foundation Prize for Mathematics in 2018 will be awarded to Professor Vladimir Drinfeld and Alexander Beilinson, both of the University of Chicago, for their ground-breaking work in algebraic geometry (a field that integrates abstract algebra with geometry), in mathematical physics and in presentation theory, a field which helps to understand complex algebraic structures

An “algebraic structure” is a set of objects, including the actions that can be performed on those objectas, that obey certain axioms. One of the roles of modern algebra is to research, in the most general and abstract way possible, the properties of various algebraic structures (including their objects), many of which are amazingly complicated.

Vladimir Drinfeld, born in Kharkov, Ukraine (1954), represented the USSR at the International Mathematical Olympiad at the age of 15 and won a gold medal. In the same year he also began his studies at the University of Moscow. Since the eighties he has been considered one of the world’s leading mathematicians. In 1990 he won the prestigious Fields Medal and in 2008 was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (USA). Drinfeld has contributed greatly to various branches of pure mathematics, mainly algebraic geometry, arithmetic geometry and the theory of representation – as well as mathematical physics. The mathematical objects named after him – the “Drinfeld Modules”, the “Drinfeld Chtoucas”, the “Drinfeld Upper Half Plane”, the “Drinfeld Associator”, and so many others that one of his endorsers jokingly said, “one could think that “Drinfeld” was an adjective, not the name of a person”.

In the seventies, Drinfeld began his work on the aforementioned “Langlands Program,” the ambitious program that aimed at unifying the fields of mathematics. This program was proposed by the American-Canadian mathematician Robert Langlands (winner of the Wolf Prize in 1996) and discovered for the first-time tight and direct links between different branches of mathematics. Numbers theory (the field based on arithmetic, “sums”), algebraic representation theory and another field called “automorphic forms”, (which is related to harmonic analysis and assists, for example, in the physical study of waves and frequencies). By means of a new geometrical object he developed, which is now called “Drinfeld Chtoucas”, Drinfeld succeeded in proving some of the connections that had been indicated by the Langlands Program. In the eighties he invented the concept of algebraic “Quantum Group”, which led to a profusion of developments and innovations not only in pure mathematics but also in mathematical physics (for example in statistical mechanics).

Drinfeld and Beilinson, together created a geometric model of algebraic theory that plays a key role in both field theory and physical string theory, thereby further strengthening the connections between abstract modern mathematics and physics. In 2004 they jointly published their work in a book that describes important algebraic structures used in quantum field theory, which is the theoretical basis for the particle physics of today. This publication has since become the basic reference book on this complex subject.

Sir Paul McCartney

Wolf Prize Laureate in Music 2018

Sir Paul McCartney
The International Wolf Foundation Jury Committee in Music has decided to unanimously award the Wolf Prize in Music to Sir Paul McCartney: The Orpheus of our era

Sir Paul McCartney is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. His versatility underlies an extraordinary wingspan, from the most physical rock to melodies of haunting and heartbreaking intimacy. His lyrics have an equally broad range, from the naive and the charming to the poignant and even desperate. He has touched the hearts of the entire world, both as a Beatle and in his subsequent bands, including Wings. Like all great art, his melodies are both of their time and beyond time: today a third generation finds itself under the spell of his invidious imagination. There is little doubt that his songs, like those of the great classical masters Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Fauré, Debussy and Ravel, and like those of his more modern predecessors (among them Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and George Gershwin) will be sung and savored as long as there are human beings to lift up their voices.

On July 6, 1957, Paul McCartney met John Lennon at Woolton Village Fete and joined his skiffle group, the Quarrymen, which, after several name changes, became the Beatles. McCartney and Lennon quickly established themselves as songwriters for the group, and, by the time the Beatles signed with EMI-Parlophone in 1962, they were writing most of their own material. By their third album the group stopped recording covers. Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting partnership was very important to them, both financially and creatively; even in 1969, when they were estranged over business matters and supposedly not on speaking terms, Lennon brought McCartney his song The Ballad of John and Yoko . Their music transcended personal differences.

Though usually associated with ballads and love songs, McCartney also was responsible for many of the Beatles’ harder rock songs, such as Lady Madonna, Back in the USSR, and Helter Skelter (all 1968), but above all he has an extraordinary gift for melodies and sometimes tags an entirely new one on to the end of a song, as he did with Hey Jude (1968).

The Beatles ceased playing live shows in 1966. After their breakup in 1970, McCartney recorded two solo albums, McCartney (1970) and Ram (1971), before forming the band Wings with his wife Linda (formerly Linda Eastman). Wings toured the world and became the best-selling pop act of the 1970s, with an astonishing 27 U.S. Top 40 hits and five consecutive number one albums, including the highly acclaimed Band on the Run (1973) and Wings at the Speed of Sound (1976).
Critics loved his 1989 album, Flowers in the Dirt, which coincided with his return to live performance. In 1997 McCartney was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to music.
In 2001 a volume of his poetry, Blackbird Singing, which also included some song lyrics, was published. McCartney celebrated his 62nd birthday in Russia in 2004, playing his 3,000th concert to an audience of 60,000 in St. Petersburg.

With some 60 gold records and sales of more than 100 million singles in the course of his career, McCartney is arguably the most commercially successful performer and composer in popular music. The 1965 Beatles track Yesterday (wholly written by McCartney and performed alone with a string quartet) has been played some six million times on U.S. radio and television, far outstripping its nearest competitor. Moreover, with over 3,000 cover versions, it is also the most-recorded song ever. In 2009 the U.S. Library of Congress announced that McCartney would be awarded its Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
More than a rock musician, McCartney is now regarded as a British institution; an icon like warm beer and cricket, he has become part of British identity