TOKYO—American scientist John W. Cahn received Japan's annual Kyoto Prize on Thursday, winning 50 million yen, or about $650,000, for his contributions in materials science that led to the creation of stronger, lighter alloys used in cellphones and many electronic devices.
Cahn, 83, an emeritus fellow at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology and affiliate professor at the University of Washington, was awarded the advanced technology prize and the cash gift at a ceremony in Kyoto, according to the Inamori Foundation.
Cahn was one of three winners of the 27th Kyoto Prize, which was established in 1985 and is Japan's highest private award for global achievement.
Astrophysicist Rashid Sunyaev, a 68-year-old dual citizen of Russia and Germany, was awarded the basic sciences prize for his contributions in astronomy.
Sunyaev, director of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics and the chief scientist at the Space Research Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences, was recognized for his work in helping reveal that fluctuations in cosmic microwave background radiation may be used to explore the expanding universe.
Tamasaburo Bando V, a Japanese kabuki actor who specializes in female roles, was presented with the arts and philosophy prize.
Cahn's theory of spinodal decomposition allowed scientists to design new alloys for use in a range of electronic products. His work also has led to the production of better-performing metals, glass, polymers and semiconductors used widely in everyday life, the foundation said.
The prizes are awarded by the Inamori Foundation, a charitable body established by Kazuo Inamori, who founded Japanese electronic component maker Kyocera Corp.