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2010 Japan Prize Honors Hard Disk Drive Pioneer

The Science and Technology Foundation of Japan has announced winners of the 2010 Japan Prizes in the two fields eligible for the 26th annual awards. Shun-ichi Iwasaki, Ph.D., Director of Tohoku Institute of Technology in Japan, has won the prize in the "industrial production and production technology" field and Peter Vitousek,Ph.D., Professor of Biology at Stanford University in the United States, is the winner in the "biological production and environment" field.

Professor Iwasaki was chosen for his contribution to high-density magnetic recording technology by developing a perpendicular magnetic recording method. He came up early with an idea of the method and proved its effectiveness in 1977 for the first time in the world. Hard disk drives (HDDs) are main stream memory devices found in a wide variety of equipment from computers to home electronics and mobile devices. As digitization spreads, demand for higher capacity HDD continues. With perpendicular magnetic recording, Professor Iwasaki broke through the capacity barrier of the conventional HDDs that, since its invention in 1956, used horizontal magnetic recording methods. Indeed, the development of the globalized information society based on the Internet owes much to the development of compact and high-capacity HDDs.

Furthermore, high-capacity perpendicular HDDs support the fledgling cloud computing system and a future ubiquitous network society. In 2006, major electric manufacturers in the world started mass producing perpendicular HDDs. The industry expects all HDDs that will be produced in 2010 employ the perpendicular recording technology.

Professor Vitousek, the biological production and environment awardee, has contributed to solving global environmental issues through his analysis of nitrogen and other substances' cycles.

The Japan Prize is one of the world's most prestigious international awards in science and technology. Each of the 2010 Japan Prize laureates will receive a certificate of recognition, a commemorative gold medal and a cash award of 50 million Japanese yen (approximately US $550,000) at an award ceremony to be held in Tokyo on April 21.

The Science and Technology Foundation of Japan sent nomination request forms for the 2011 Japan Prize to qualified people worldwide, including prominent scientists and researchers, who were encouraged to nominate candidates in the next two prize fields: "information and communications" and "bioscience and medical science."

The Science and Technology Foundation of Japan was established in 1982 with the aim of promoting the advancement of science and technology for the peace and prosperity of mankind.

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