On May 31, the Israeli Wolf Foundation held its award ceremony in Jerusalem. This year’s recipient for chemistry was Makoto Fujita, professor at School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo. The Wolf Prize is an internationally distinguished award known to forecast Nobel Prize winners. The co-recipient of the chemistry prize is Dr. Omar Yaghi from University of California at Berkeley. Fujita is the second Japanese researcher who won the prize for chemistry since Yoshiharu Noyori who was a laureate in 2001.* *Currently University Professor at Nagoya University; Director-General for CRDS (Center for Research and Development Strategy) at JST (Japan Science and Technology Agency)
After receiving his master’s degree from the Graduate School of Engineering at Chiba University in 1982, Fujita became an Associate Professor at Chiba University, a Professor at Nagoya University, and a Professor at the University of Tokyo in 2002. According to the University of Tokyo and JST, he was highly recognized for “the self-assembling principle induced by metals” and “the development of giant-hollow-materials.” By using a phenomenon called self-organization, he devised a method to synthesize molecules in a polymorphic form where metal-induced molecules gather autonomously to create a particular supramolecular structure. It has paved the way for the development of complex molecules and nanostructured new materials.
Professor Fujita is currently a research representative of the “Project for Innovative Molecular Structure Analysis Based on the Self-Organized Technology” under JST’s Strategic Development Research Promotion Project scheme, ACCEL.
The Wolf Prize has 6 fields: chemistry, medicine, physics, mathematics, agriculture, and the arts. Recipients of the Wolf Prize tend to receive the Nobel Prize later, so announcement of recipients always attracts much attention. In addition to Yoshiharu Noyori, Shinya Yamanaka (Director of CiRA-Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University) has received the Wolf Prize for Medicine in 2011, and Masatoshi Koshiba (Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo) has received the Wolf Prize for Physics in 2000.