From left to right: Mrs. Valet, Katherine Carrick, Paul Hoffman, and John C. Mather.
Science and technology
On 24 May 2023
The world of science came together with the world of philanthropy in Jersey City last night at the Liberty Science Center’s 11th Annual Genius Gala, where John C. Mather, Katalin Karikó and Drs. Uma Valeti received the Genius Award, LSC’s highest honor, for their world. -changing scientific discoveries at the event, which also celebrated the centre’s 30th anniversary. Richard Branson, a 2013 Genius Honoree; Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, Miss New Jersey USA Derby Chukwudi and cosmic cartographer and 2022 Genius Honoree Priyamvada Natarjan presented the recipients with the “Genius” distinction in front of a crowd of more than 500 business, civic and philanthropic leaders from across New York. Jersey, the region, the country and the world.
LSC raised $2.5 million at the event. Since its inception, the Genius Gala has raised nearly $25 million to benefit LSC’s STEM education programs that help make world-class science learning accessible to students, teachers and families, including those in high-need communities.
“Good art and good design, like good science, have the power to lift the human spirit and make us look at the world in a different way,” said LSC President and CEO Paul Hoffman. “LSC’s goal is to inspire, to take our guests out of their daily routines and show them something new, cool, extraordinary and awe-inspiring.”
“Tonight we celebrate three creative minds, John Mather, Katalin Karikó and Uma Valeti. All three honorees are making incredible strides in their respective fields,” Richard Branson said in a video played at the gala.
In all their remarks, the honorees praised the LSC for educating young people and called them the innovators of the future.
“I am honored to receive this award and it is a privilege to hear from all the people who have received this award before me, including my fellow laureates John Mather and Uma Valeti,” said Katalin Karikó, the scientist behind COVID-19. -19 mRNA vaccine. “… I’m grateful to all the people who tried to make my life miserable because they made me work harder and that helped me reach this point today.”
“My advice to school teachers is to make learning with the next generation exciting by focusing on participation. Scientists don’t learn everything from books; we pick up rocks, turn them over and see what’s there,” said John Mather, senior project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope. “We say ‘I don’t understand, let’s figure this out’. Learning what’s in a book and passing a test is exactly the opposite of what scientists do for a living. All young people have the opportunity to discover , innovate and create for themselves and inspire all generations.”
More on the 2023 Genius Awardees:
- John C. Mather, senior project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, is an astrophysicist and cosmologist at NASA and has been named among the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by TIME Magazine. His work on the Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite with George Smoot, which confirmed the Big Bang theory, earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006. For the past 25 years, Mather has led the science team for the James Webb Space Telescope, a world-changing tool more powerful than some telescope in existence, which through its released images has already revealed new insights into the heavenly world.
- mRNA research is apparently in Katalin Karikó’s genes as she became a scientist in her native Hungary despite never having met one. After emigrating to Philadelphia in 1985, she aimed to continue her work at various academic institutions, but encountered repeated setbacks and funding problems. Her determination remained intact even though colleagues considered her work unorthodox and speculative. Nevertheless, she continued, spending countless hours synthesizing therapeutic mRNA. Finally, her decades of research paid off when she and her colleague discovered a technique that successfully introduced synthetic mRNA into humans, where it gave the correct message to cells to create proteins needed to fight specific diseases. This profound breakthrough led to a collaboration with BioNTech to develop a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine that would save countless millions from suffering. Karikó was honored with the prestigious Life Sciences Breakthrough Award, the Princess of Asturias Award and the Vilcek Award for Excellence in Biotechnology.
- Dr. Uma Valeti is the CEO and co-founder of Upside Foods, the world’s first cultured meat company that produces meat directly from animal cells and the first and only company to receive the Food and Drug Administration’s blessing as safe to eat. Dr. A former cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic and professor at the University of Minnesota, Valeti recognized the therapeutic power and potential of stem cell technology and has used that technology to pioneer the world’s first chicken, duck and beef grown directly from animals. cells. As the chief visionary at Upside Foods, his mission is to feed the global population with delicious meat that is also affordable and sustainable. Dr. Valeti is a former president of the Twin Cities Heart Association and has served in leadership roles with the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology and co-founded or invested in numerous medical device and food technology startups.
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