The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology goes in this eighth edition to Finnish ecologist Ilkka Hanski, whose work is pivotal to our understanding of how species are affected by the growing problem of man-made habitat fragmentation. His contributions inform many of the conservation initiatives around us today, from the design of protected areas to the creation of biological corridors or environmental impact studies prior to major infrastructure developments.
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biomedicine goes in this eighth edition to neuroscientists Edward Boyden, Karl Deisseroth and Gero Miesenböck for the development of optogenetics, a method to study brain function with unprecedented resolution. In a bare five years, thousands of groups the world over have begun using optogenetics to investigate functions like sleep, appetite, decision-making, temporal perception or the creation of memories, and elucidate the mechanisms of conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s, depression and certain forms of blindness.
Marvin Minsky (New York, 1927) died of a brain hemorrhage on Sunday January 24, at the age of 88. Long considered the father of artificial intelligence, the American scientist received the 2013 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Information and Communication Technologies. Minsky was the author of key theoretical and practical contributions in mathematics, cognitive science, robotics and philosophy. He was also one of the founders of the reputed Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a leading force in the setup of the Media Lab.
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences goes to physicists Stephen Hawking and Viatcheslav Mukhanov for discovering that galaxies were formed from quantum fluctuations in the Universe’s earliest days.
Mathematician Stephen Arthur Cook has been granted the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Information and Communication Technologies category “for his important role in identifying what computers can and cannot solve efficiently,” in the words of the jury’s citation. His work, it continues, “has had a dramatic impact in all fields where complex computations are crucial.”